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Equinox ‘Punches Far Above Its Weight’ With Awards Haul at National Journalism Conference

Equinox Award Winners
From left, Arts & Entertainment Editor Nicole Dumont, Managing Executive Editor Tim Bruns, Photography Editor Jo Pancake, and News Editor Nate Hope share a thumbs-up moment at the recent awards gala in Atlanta.

Call it a haul, because that is just what it was as Keene State College student journalists returned from a week of media sessions in Atlanta, Georgia, covering all aspects of journalism with 13 national reporting and writing awards.

The gathering hosted by at the College Media Association (CMA) and the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) was a success on every front for Owl students and members of the student newspaper, The Equinox. Five Keene State students were in attendance with one of the paper’s co-advisors, Rodger Martin.

The awards gala is part of the event, “which is the equivalent of an NCAA athletic championship” Martin said, “and to see our students consistently go up against the best competition in the country and succeed gives me immense satisfaction.”

During a session Wednesday, CNN Attorney Frank LoMonte said Equinox reporters “punch far above their weight” and are “hell on wheels” for their decades of journalism aimed at protecting and preserving the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment protections and the public right to know, for all citizens.

Among the KSC students recognized was Managing Executive Editor Tim Bruns, for a profile that garnered a national Pinnacle Award in Division III. A senior, Bruns said “I am proud of all the hard work The Equinox has done over the past year.”

The College Media Association sponsors the annual Pinnacle Awards to recognize best-in-their-field entries. Association Vice President Hillary Warren said CMA judges “more than 4,000 entries” from across the United States.

The Equinox also picked up four national second-place Pinnacle Awards, including one for Best Breaking News story, by alumnus Piper Pavelich for her piece about the loss of a student. Pavelich noted, “I’m honored to have my coverage of such a tragic event be recognized by the CMA. I am grateful my community at Keene State and my team at The Equinox put their trust in me to tell a story that had such impact on our school.”

Additionally, Equinox reporters picked up three third-place CMA awards while the ACP awarded current Arts & Entertainment Editor Nicole Dumont an honorable mention distinction for her photograph of the college’s Student Activities Council’s spring concert. It was one of just five individual honorable mentions nationally.

Dumont said, “I am honored to receive this award. I am also proud of my fellow Equinox members for always supporting me.”

The paper’s other co-advisor, Julio Del Sesto, called the work of the students a “source of pride” and a “gift” that keeps on giving.

“Journalism is vital to our democracy, now as much as any time in the past. I too am proud of our students’ hard work, their values, and their practice of good journalism. Equinox editors and staff spend countless hours carefully producing the newspaper and it shows. Year in and year out, I say, “I couldn’t be prouder,” but every year my pride in them grows.

“Our students, despite many challenges, continue to produce one of the best student newspapers in the country. Awards are wonderful – and they’ve been plentiful – but it’s the individuals behind those awards and their effort that I’m proud of.”

ACP Awards earned by Keene State students:

  • Individual Photo: Nicole Dumont, honorable mention
  • Best of Show: Online News Website, eighth place

CMA Awards, Division III:

  • Best Profile: Tim Bruns, first place
  • Best Newspaper, Feature Page Spread, Caitlin Howard, second place
  • Best Newspaper, News Page Spread, Tim Bruns, second place
  • Best Sports Game Story, Piper Pavelich, second place
  • Best Breaking News Story, Piper Pavelich, second place
  • Best General News Photo, Nicole Dumont, second place
  • Best Sports News Photo, Kayla Barret, second place
  • Best Sports Investigative Story, Caitlin Howard and Kayla Barrett, third place
  • Best Multimedia Sports Story, Matt White, third place
  • Best Editorial, Equinox Staff, third place
  • Best Feature Photo, *Tom Benoit, honorable mention

Note: Barrett, Benoit, Howard, and White are 2023 graduates, but were Equinox staff journalists during the 2022-23 academic year.

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