The Centurion, the student newspaper at Bucks County Community College, won 15 awards in the 2022 Keystone Media Awards contest, including firsts in general news, news photo, layout and design, website and video story.
The paper, which is entirely student-run and financially independent, has won nearly 150 awards in the contest since 2010, making it one of the most honored student newspapers in Pennsylvania. It can be found online at bucks-news.com.
Tony Rodgers, the college’s journalism professor and faculty advisor for the Centurion, said the awards were for work done in the spring and fall semesters of 2021, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was an especially difficult time at the Centurion,” he said. “Enrollment at Bucks was hit hard by the pandemic, which meant the Centurion was operating with a much smaller staff and with many students working remotely.”
Still, Rodgers added, Centurion staffers managed to do terrific work. “There’s never been a time that I’ve been more proud of my students.”
Editor in chief Lucas Darling, a sophomore journalism major, said the Centurion’s “writers and editors put in a lot of effort to make the paper happen. I’m happy that those efforts are being recognized.” He added, “It’s not easy to get the paper done remotely, but we still make a great final product. It’s awesome to get some awards myself, and it’s also cool to see some of the people that I work with on the paper get awards too.”
Much of the award-winning work focused on the pandemic and its effects on the college. The Centurion won second place in the Ongoing News Coverage category for a package of articles titled “Year Two of the Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic” and second place in the Public Service/Enterprise category for “Special Report: The COVID Shutdown at Bucks, One Year Later.”
The Centurion won first place in Layout and Design for a front page titled “A Socially Distant Year,” in which the paper’s layout editors used text and photos to create a timeline of the pandemic.
The Centurion swept the Video Story category with videos by former Centurion editor Alyssa Moore called “Dealing with COVID-19 Stress” and “Centurion Editor Keeps Putting Out the Paper, Despite the Pandemic.”
Rodgers said he was especially proud of the fact that the paper won second place in the newly-created Diversity category, for articles on a celebration of pride month, a virtual Juneteenth event and an article on the history and impact of Black History Month.
The Keystone contest is administered by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. The Centurion competes in Division III, which includes two-year colleges from across the state.