Student newspaper receives eight awards in statewide contest; student wins broadcasting award

April 14, 2021 - The Student Voice student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has received eight awards in the 2020 Collegiate Better Newspaper Contest, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation announced April 13.

The winning stories, all published last year, were:

Senior Brooke Shepherd, a journalism and animal science major from Stillwater, Minn., received two awards for public affairs reporting: second place for a May 25 story, “Respecting pronouns part of gender awareness,” and third place for an August 14 story, “Reaction to Floyd's death will shape class discussions, professors say.”

Shepherd previously served as editor of the campus newspaper and is currently the general manager. She also received awards for arts and entertainment coverage: third place for a March 13 story, “Gay Straight Alliance hosts drag show,” and honorable mention for a December 3 story, “UW-River Falls Stage and Screen Arts produces film instead of live show this semester.”

Junior Isabella Forliti, a communication studies major and this year’s assistant editor, received second place for her March 11 feature story, “Greenhouse offers multiple learning opportunities.” Forliti is from White Bear Lake, Minn.

Senior Melissa Thorud, a journalism major and this year’s editor, earned third place for a March 12 breaking news story, “Coronavirus leads to class suspensions and alternative classroom methods.” Thorud is from White Bear Lake, Minn.

Reagan Hoverman, a 2020 graduate, earned honorable mention for his March 11 sports story, “UWRF men's baseball works to become official team.” Hoverman recently joined the weekly Inter-County Leader in Frederic.

Finally, the Student Voice staff earned honorable mention in editorial writing for a March 11 piece, “UWRF policies may be infringing on free speech of students.”

The student produced newspaper, published mostly online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is financially supported by segregated fees and advertising.


An audio story by a University of Wisconsin-River Falls student about attending college under pandemic restrictions has won a first-place award from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association (WBA).

Ryan Huling, a staff member of the Student Voice campus newspaper, won first place for long form production (non-news) in the 2020 WBA Student Awards for Excellence. Huling, of Farmington, Minn., is a double major in broad area English education and in stage and screen arts.

Huling's 24-minute production, "The Spread and Stipulations," examined how students at various colleges were experiencing the pandemic in November 2020. The story is available online at

Winners of the annual contest were announced March 6 during the WBA's Student Seminar, which this year was held online. The WBA is a trade association that represents radio and television stations around the state.

For further information, contact Associate Professor Andris Straumanis at or 715-425-4645.


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