By Leah Gibson-Blackfeather, BHSU American Indian studies major from Portland, Ore.

BHSU students campus-wide have many reasons to be proud of their student newspaper, which has recently gained national attention by winning two prestigious awards in the American Scholastic Press Association’s annual newspaper competition.

Each paper was graded on content coverage; page design; general plan; art, advertising and illustrations; editing; and creativity. The Today scored 980 out of 1000 total points—which not only placed it in first place with special merit (along with 16 other college papers), but also tied it with the Sonoma State Star for the Most Outstanding University Newspaper Award.

The Oct. 6, 2006, issue of the Today was entered into the review/contest by advisor Dee Sleep. The paper had not been entered in the ASPA’s annual review/contest since 2003, according to Sleep.

“This contest is an excellent way to gauge how we’re doing compared to other colleges and universities across the country,” said Sleep. “And apparently, our school’s newspaper is doing comparatively well.”

According to the ASPA, the school publications that were awarded first place with special merit were those who stood out amongst all others with “special and outstanding design and content.”

“Our students should be proud of their work and accomplishments,” said Sleep. “…and they are. They work hard on each issue—obviously, they are doing a great job.”

Students in the newspaper practicum class meet every other Monday with the senior editors to put together the paper during “newspaper production nights.” They take stories that they have written, along with stories written by Sleep’s other newswriting and interviewing classes, and put them together using a desktop publishing program called QuarkXPress.

All students, regardless of whether or not they are taking Sleep’s newswriting classes, are encouraged to write for the paper, take pictures to be published and apply for senior positions each year. Interested students should contact Sleep at deesleep@bhsu.edu.

Today editors plan to frame the awards, along with past award, and hang them in the newspaper office or in another area of the school where students can view them.