KPA honors SCC’s The Bridge as Best College Newspaper
Published on Jan 29, 2024
For the third consecutive year, Somerset Community College’s student newspaper, The Bridge, won the General Excellence award for best overall newspaper in its division in the 2023 Kentucky Press Association Excellence in Kentucky Newspapers contest.
The Bridge and its staff set a new publication record for individual awards, garnering 34 total, surpassing the 28 won in last year’s contest, which broke the record of 19 received in 2021.
In addition, former Bridge managing editor Laurie Abbott was named the KPA’s 2023 Student Journalist of the Year, the first SCC student ever to receive the honor.
The contest results were announced at the KPA’s annual Winter Convention in Bowling Green on Friday.
“I’m proud of all of the student journalists who have served with The Bridge over the past 20-plus years, but what the past three staffs have accomplished is both unprecedented and kind of unbelievable,” said Jeff Harris, the Bridge staff’s faculty advisor at SCC.
Harris called Abbott’s being named Student Journalist of the Year, “the icing on the cake.”
“Laurie deserves it,” he said. “She is amazingly talented and amazingly dedicated in everything she does.”
The Monticello resident won a total of 11 awards — the highest number among the staff — and earned top spots in three categories: Best Feature Story, Best General News Photo, and Best Feature Picture.
She received six second-place awards in the categories of Best Columnist, Best Ongoing/ Extended Coverage (shared), Best Business Story, Best Lede Paragraph, and Best Headline, as well as third-place honors in Best General News Photo and Best Feature Picture.
“I am incredibly honored to be named Student Journalist of the Year and so grateful to have had the opportunity to represent The Bridge,” said Abbott, who is now serving as a legislative intern for state Rep. Jennifer Decker. “I have loved working on The Bridge and have learned so much that I can use.
“The Bridge being named best overall again makes me so proud of all the work we’ve all put in,” she added. “But it’s Jeff Harris’ contributions that move me the most. His dedication to the newspaper and the students is inspiring.”
Nicole Flannery, a current co-managing editor for The Bridge, was pleased with the contest outcomes as well.
“The Bridge winning the Excellence Award for the third year in a row is amazing!” Flannery said. “I joined first as a volunteer in the Spring of 2022 and then as a staffer in the Fall of 2022 and feel like I have made invaluable friendships. It is definitely a team effort, and it is clear to me how much we all care for The Bridge. I think that is one of the reasons we have continued to win it, our passion and care for the work.”
The London resident brought home three first-place awards among her nine total, including one in the coveted Best Columnist category. Judges remarked that Flannery’s columns “are cohesive and strong. She shares personal experiences and uses them as examples to improve her school.”
Flannery also received first place honors for Best Headline and Best Photo Essay (shared); second-place awards in the categories of Best Sports Story, Best Sports Photo, and Best Photo Essay (shared); and third-place awards in the categories of Best Sports Story, Best Enterprise/ Analytical Story, and Best Photo Essay.
Erin Most, The Bridge’s other co-managing editor, won a total of four individual awards, including first place in the category of Best Business Story. Judges said that Most’s article on SCC’s Lineman program was a “good in-depth report about career opportunities in a rather uncommon field.”
Most also won a first-place award for Best Lede Paragraph and second-place awards for Best Feature Picture and Best Ongoing/ Extended Coverage (shared).
“I feel surprised and very blessed to have won any awards, especially given that this semester makes only my second as co-managing editor,” the Bronston resident said. “I think I had a lot of wonderful staff, current and past, to look up to and learn from.
“As far as winning the Excellence Award for the third year in a row, I can’t say I’m surprised,” Most added. “I think winning that award again accurately reflects the passion and work that The Bridge staff has put into each issue that we release. I’m beyond proud of the team I work with.”
Kinsley Perkins of Somerset won a total of three individual awards, including first-place in the category of Best General News Story. Judges wrote that her article “took time to really show the benefits and impact (of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society) on members and the community. Really well written!”
Perkins also won a second-place award in the category of Best Investigative Story and a third-place award for Best Lede Paragraph.
Staffers Danielle Roy (Somerset), Matthew Abbott (Monticello), and Josette Pitman (Somerset) received awards as well.
Roy won three individual awards: a second-place finish in the category of Best Feature Story and both second- and third-place finishes in the category of Best Sports Feature Story.
Abbott won a first-place award for Best Investigative Story, and Pitman received a first-place award for Best Photo Essay (shared).
In addition to the Excellence Award, The Bridge won staff awards in the categories of Best Front Page (1st and 2nd place), Best Editorial Page (1st and 3rd place), Best Special Section (2nd and 3rd place) Best Use of Social Media (2nd place), and Best Video/ Podcast (3rd place).
Notably, The Bridge and its staff members earned 12 first-place awards total and swept seven different categories in the contest.
In the division of Student Publications Class 1 (schools with fewer than 10,000 students), Murray State University’s student newspaper, The Murray State News, was runner-up to SCC’s The Bridge.
In its eight years competing in the KPA newspaper contest, The Bridge and its staff have won a total of 155 awards, more than any other school in its class over the same period.
From left to right: Bridge staff member David Turner, Bridge faculty advisor Jeff Harris, former Bridge staffer Matthew Abbott, former Bridge managing editor Laurie Abbott, and current Bridge co-managing editor Nicole Flannery