SIUE’s Alestle staff wins 17 state awards

The Alestle won 17 awards at the recent Illinois College Press Association’s Convention and Awards in Chicago. The publication ranks third in the top student news orgs in the state — improving upon its position in the most competitive division that it joined two years ago.

After a reorganization of ICPA divisions two years ago, The Alestle joined the large-school division that is populated by schools with daily newspapers and new organizations that very recently were daily news orgs like The Daily Northwestern, The DePaulia at DePaul University, The Loyola Phoenix, The Daily Illini, Illinois State University’s Vidette and the Northern Star at Northern Illinois University.

“We came up against the heavy hitters in the state and not only held our own, but improved our ranking to third out of the largest programs in the state.” Alestle Program Director Tammy Merrett said. “I can’t even express how proud I am of The Alestle staff from 2023.”

The Alestle staff won third place in General Excellence for its print edition – the top two being The DePaulia and The Daily Illini, in second and first place, respectively.

The Alestle won three first place awards – two in design categories and one in photography. Editor-in-Chief Dylan Hembrough and Lifestyles Editor Chloe Wolfe won first place for Front Page Layout for The Alestle’s coverage of the 2023 Bronze Boot match against SLU. Wolfe also won first place in the photo essay category for her photo piece on the same match.

The staff won first place in Feature Page Design for its regular food feature, Metro East Eats, which consistently wins state, regional and national awards.

“The senior most members of this staff have been here for a year and a half, and more than half of the current staff was hired within the last seven months,” Hembrough said. “The haul we brought home is indicative of this staff’s talent and potential.”

The staff’s collaborative efforts in opinion in 2023 were recognized with a second place award in the opinion page category.

Alestle Podcast Producer Hannah Ledford was a particular standout for her work in news and entertainment podcasting. She won two second place awards for news and entertainment and culture podcasts about campus street preachers and “Barbenheimer,” as well as third place for another entertainment and culture podcast entry about 57 things to do at SIUE.

Opinion Editor Brandi Spann, a relative newcomer at The Alestle, won third place in the open division category of critical review writing with her review of “Saltburn.” The open division is open to all schools of all sizes statewide.

Wolfe also won third place awards for her entries in the sports photo and spot news photo categories.

Wolfe and former Lifestyles Editor Francesca Boston won third place for their sports game coverage of the Bronze Boot match. She was also recognized with an honorable mention in general news photography. Photographer Maximilian Lenhart, another newcomer to The Alestle, received honorable mention for his work in sports photography.

Hembrough received honorable mentions for his work in front page layout and his work in diversity, equity and inclusion coverage in the large school division.

For their in-depth reporting about ongoing union negotiations at SIUE, Hembrough, Wolfe and Managing Editor Bruce Darnell were also recognized with an honorable mention in the large schools division in-depth reporting category.

The Alestle competed in 30 categories against seven larger or daily student news organizations on campuses with more than 7,000 students, including Northwestern University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois State University, the University of Chicago and Northern Illinois University.

More than 800 entries in the competition were judged for excellence by working journalists across the country.