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The Wright State Guardian brings home two awards from ONMA conference

ONMA Conference | Photo by Natalie Cunningham | The Wright State Guardian

At the Feb., 6 Ohio News Media Association conference, The Wright State Guardian placed in two categories for The Hooper/Collegiate awards for college newspapers.

The organization placed second in News Coverage and third place in Photojournalism.

Keeping the Vision

ONMA hosted a convention called Keeping the Vision 2020 on Feb. 6 and 7. 

Some of the highlights of the convention included a panel about Dayton Strong and covering the Oregon District shooting, which discussed ways to cover a local tragedy, a discussion about how to succeed with event marketing, a panel on Ohio politics in 2020, and a discussion covering a legal update on employment issues

The ONMA was established in 1933 and has since evolved to encompass and represent all daily and weekly newspapers that qualify for periodicals class mail privileges in Ohio.

Members of ONMA can receive services that include government relations and lobbying, seminars and employee training, publications, group insurance, advertising services, and legal assistance, according to ONMA’s webpage.

Award winners

The convention also featured the Hooper/Collegiate awards for college newspapers, Carrier of the Year awards, the Champion of Open Government award, and the Frank E. Deaner News Award for Excellence in Collegiate Journalism.

The winners of the Carrier of the Year were Colleen Miller from Lima News in the 10-25k circulation, Joe Szyperski from The Press Newspapers for the over 25k circulation category, and Mandy Windle in the 10k category.

The winner of the Champion of Open Government award was Karl Idsvoog. Idsvoog is an associate professor at Kent State who teaches journalism and mass communication. He has worked as an investigative reporter, a producer/manager for local/network/syndicated television and online journalism. 

Idsvoog has worked all over the world in places such as the Republic of Georgia, Armenia, Syria, and Kenya to improve and restructure news media operations. Igsvood has also written a book called Access with Attitude: An Advocate’s Guide to Freedom of Information in Ohio.

“I don’t think there has ever been a time where it is more important to be going after public records. It’s good to remember that oftentimes what is as important as what is there, is what is not. When you put in a public records request and they say ‘oh, there is nothing,’ you go ‘I’ve got a story,” said Idsvoog. “If you know there’s a public record and they’re refusing to provide it, they just gave you a second story. Do that one, because we have to hold the people accountable.”

The Hooper and Collegiate awards are divided into two different divisions that have first, second, and third place winners for each. Division A includes universities with an enrollment of 10,000 and up and Division B includes universities with enrollment under 10,000, according to ONMA’s website. 

For the Hooper and Collegiate awards, the overall winner of Division A was the Chagrin Valley Times, the overall winner of Division B was the Geauga County Maple Leaf, and the overall winner of Division C was Yellow Springs News.

The winners of the Frank E. Deaner Award for Excellence in Collegiate Journalism were The Post at Ohio University for Division A and Cedars at Cedarville University for Division B.


The conference included several speakers and breakout sessions that covered everything from leadership and management to networking to marketing and sales. 

During the lunch session, a panel discussion was held by members of Cox Media Group about the Oregon District shooting and how the coverage was handled. The panelists included, Jim Bebbington, the editor of Dayton Daily News, Amelia Robinson, reporter, columnist, and podcaster for Dayton Daily News, Tim Wolff, director of digital at Cox Media Group and Jana Collier Vice President of Content for Cox Media. 

The discussion panel was moderated by Jessica Graue, journalism professor at Sinclair Community College.

The panelists covered how best to respond and cover a tragic event as well as how to prepare for such an event as a news organization. 

The events featured speakers from all across Ohio with a variety of different careers and specialty areas. 

The speakers included:

  • Len Blose, regional circulation director of Ogden Newspapers
  • Mike Centorani, the director of sales training for GateHouse Media
  • Carole DeAngelo, the director of advertising and events at the Observer-Reporter in Washington, PA
  • David DeWitt, the editor of the Ohio Capital-Journal
  • Kurt Franck, executive editor, president, and general manager of The Blade
  • Lon Haenel, founder, and president of Local News ROI
  • Andrea Lewis, student media sales internship manager at Ohio University
  • Brenda Linert, the editor of the Tribune Chronicle
  • Kerry Loeffler, founder of Talent Trust
  • Lary Obhof, President of the Ohio Senate for the 133rd General Assembly
  • David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party
  • Mark Shorts, director of distribution and audience development for APG Ohio
  • Matt Skibinski, general manager of NewsGuard
  • Ted Snyder, Ogden general manager
  • Stephen White Esq., the vice president of external affairs, strategic initiatives, and business development for COSI
  • Michael Zinser, the founder of The Zinser Law Firm in Nashville, TN

Natalie Cunningham

Former News Reporter

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