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College of Media students win national award

Students stand in a group at a conference holding an award

The Daily Athenaeum (DA), WVU’s independent student newspaper, won the David L. Adams Apple Award for Best Facebook Page at the College Media Association (CMA) annual spring convention in New York City. 

Duncan Slade, editor in chief of the DA and journalism senior in the WVU Reed College of Media, and seven of his fellow editors – who are also College of Media students – were in attendance to accept the award. Each year, CMA recognizes the “Best of Show” from college newspapers and radio and television stations. Entries are judged by a panel of media professionals and advisors at top collegiate media programs. Overall, there were 220 entries across 19 categories in the 2022 competition. 

Over the past year, Slade and his colleagues at the DA took a critical look at their audience and distribution and came up with a strategy to better reach their readers which included a more focused digital approach.   

“Embracing digital-first publishing is the key to our dramatic audience growth,” Slade said. “Our online readership has increased 130% this year, and it’s driven by a newsroom culture of thinking creatively and analytically to solve problems. We plan differently for our online and print audiences each week. I am really proud of my team, and it’s great to be recognized for our efforts.”

Raeanne Beckner, Lara Bonatesta, Ladimir Garcia, Luke Morgan, Caroline Murphy, Jules Ogden and Trenton Straight attended the convention with Slade. CMA was founded in 1954, and their annual event provides an opportunity for media students and professionals from across the country to network and enhance their knowledge of journalism and media best practices.   

The convention included specialty workshops, keynote presentations from Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists and sessions covering such subjects as publication liability, finding inspiration, team building, career development and covering the Ukraine/Russia war. 

“I’m really glad I attended CMA,” said Lara Bonatesta, a journalism junior and Culture Editor at the DA. “My favorite session was called ‘FBI Strategies for Interviewing’ – I learned about psychological strategies that the FBI uses to make interview subjects more comfortable and willing to open up. The session went over everything from body language and posture to how to frame questions.”

After two years of virtual conferences, DA adviser Nick Kratsas attended the CMA convention with the students. 

“The opportunity to interact with other student media journalists and advisors is a great experience that provides unprecedented training and knowledge that moved our leaders to the next level,” said Kratsas. “I was also very pleased to see our students win the Apple Award for Best Facebook page. It exemplifies the transformative changes our staff made this year, and I am very proud of their hard work and dedication.” 

Read The Daily Athenaeum online at and follow the newspaper on Facebook and Twitter  @dailyathenaeum.