Southeastern student journalists recognized at Louisiana Press Association conference

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
by: Tonya Lowentritt


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s student newspaper, “The Lion’s Roar,” earned several awards, including a first place honor, from the Better Student Newspaper Competition sponsored by the Louisiana Press Association.
     The awards were presented at the annual LPA conference held jointly with the Mississippi Press Association recently in Biloxi.
     Student reporters and photographers at “The Lion’s Roar” took a first place award in the Best Sports Photo Category and captured third place in the General Excellence Category.
     Elizabeth Brown, a senior art major from Harvey, was awarded top honors for her photography. She also took second place honors in the same category.
     “It’s such an honor to be recognized for something I have a passion for,” said Brown. “Capturing a photo like this often requires time and patience. When I want to capture a specific type of shot, I watch and wait with my camera at the ready, and when I see my opportunity, I shoot.”
     While working with the Department of Student Publications, which houses “The Lion’s Roar,” Brown as able to attend and cover a number of events as a photographer.
     Regina Pergola, a sophomore business administration major from Slidell, placed second in the Best Feature Story Category for her piece focusing on last year’s Young Alumni of the Year, Cari and Zac Caramonta of Gnarly Barley Brewing in Hammond.
     “I am ecstatic to have been honored with these awards,” said Pergola. “Stories like this one about Zac and Cari Caramonta made it easy for me to love working at the newspaper. At ‘The Lion’s Roar’ I took pride in listening to the stories of local Hammond residents and framing them within my work. I interacted and interviewed this amazing family and shared with the Hammond community how they made their dreams come to life.”
     Morgan Ledet, a family and consumer sciences senior from Marrero and former editor-in-chief of “The Lion’s Roar,” also received recognition for her piece featuring students affected by the historic August 2016 flooding. The story, which focused on how students were trying to stay positive despite the devastation, placed third place in the Best Feature Story Category of the competition.
     “This story was extremely difficult to write,” said Ledet, “since it was time sensitive, and I had to work quickly. I spoke to individuals in administration who were helpful in getting me in contact with some of the students affected. I was happy to be able to share their stories.”
     Ledet elaborated on her writing process, as well as her experiences as editor-in-chief, while discussing her award-winning article.
     “During interviews, I try to step into the interviewee’s shoes. When I put myself in their place, it helps me write a story as if my subjects were writing it,” said Ledet. “I wanted readers to be able to understand what they went through and see how the people around them helped them through that rough time.”
     “I’m so very proud of the work our students do every day,” said Lee E. Lind, director of Student Publications. “They serve our community in a unique and challenging way in addition to their studies. Their recognition of excellence by the LPA serves to inspire others to reach for the same.”
     Forty-seven newspapers, publications, and college and university student newspapers submitted 2,408 entries for the competition. The Texas Press Association judged the competition this year.

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