Arkansas Press Women recognizes 2020 contest winners including John Brown University representatives

Arkansas Press Women recognized eight John Brown University students, a faculty member and an alumna among the winners of the organization’s professional communications contest during an online presentation on April 25. The awards were presented in a virtual ceremony in light of social distancing requirements to help stem the spread of COVID-19. 

Catherine Nolte, junior at John Brown University and managing editor of The Threefold Advocate, received three first-place awards in the collegiate education division of the contest. Her firsts were in design (print or electronic) for “The Life of Christ in Words and Images,” writing — news for “Brexit delayed for a third time, pushed to January 2020,” and writing — opinion, editorial, reviews for “Mental illness is not a sin.” Nolte also placed second in the professional portion of the communications contest for specialty articles — religion for “Upperclassmen confront faith crisis at CCCU schools.”

A team of six students — Rachel Ball, Claire Brownlee, Hannah Lawrence, Jessica Oldenettel, Natalie Rogers and Andrea Sosso — received a first-place award in the collegiate division for public relations campaign. The students prepared a social media/communication plan for Saving Grace, a Rogers-based nonprofit organization. The campaign was their final project in a Public Relations Writing and Technology class.

JBU’s Maria Aguilar, opinions editor for The Threefold Advocate, also was honored. Aguilar’s article, “Bentonville citizens protest to relocate Confederate statue” was entered in the professional division of the contest and received an honorable mention in the specialty articles — social issues category.

Debbie Miller, an assistant professor at JBU, received a first-place award in the collegiate division in the category of faculty adviser of student publication, station, or site for advising The Threefold Advocate. Miller also received awards for work done in her previous job in development at Ozark Guidance. She received first-place awards in specialty articles — personal essay and in communications program or campaign and second in public relations materials — brochures.

Jamie (Brunk) Smith, a 2000 graduate of JBU, placed first in web and social media — blogs, corporate or for-profit for “The Day Facebook Died (and why it shouldn’t have been your website in the first place).” She also placed second in web and social media — website edited or managed by the entrant (nonprofit, government or educational) for “GiveCamp NWA website.” Chris Whittle was a co-entrant on Smith’s website entry.

All awards are for work completed during 2019.

First-place winners in the APW contest advance to the National Federation of Press Women competition if the winners are NFPW members. This year, 30 Arkansas first-place winners competed at the national level. National awards were scheduled to be presented at the NFPW conference in Little Rock in June 2020. To protect the health of its members, the NFPW board has decided to postpone its conference in Arkansas until 2021 and will present the 2020 national awards online.