Getting it write

School newspaper recognized

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Two members of the Moffat County High School Postscript staff will travel to Denver on Monday to be honored for winning four Colorado Press Association awards.

Editor Katie Zwernik, a junior, doesn't remember the publications selected for the contest, which the newspaper entered for the first time. But, she does know she'll not likely forget the feeling of winning.

"Our hard work is paying off," she said.

The Postscript won for best editorial layout and design, best breadth of coverage, best advertising layout and design and best black and white ads.

This is the first time the students have entered the Colorado Press Association contest. It was difficult, adviser Katy Gray said, because they had to submit entire publications, as opposed to just the entries they thought were the best.

"We're pretty proud of these awards, because we compete with schools that have nicer set-ups," she said.

The Postscript is created by two classes -- Journalism I and Journalism II. There are about 12 first-year and five second-year students. The second-year students have the option to become editors for the publication. The two who will travel with Gray to accept the awards are Zwernik and Tyler Sherman.

It was a difficult choice, Gray said, and came down to who had submitted the most column inches throughout the year.

The Postscript is printed once a month and inserted in the Craig Daily Press.

"It's really a big thing for us to get the papers and pass them out to the students," Gray said.

Although students have class time to work on each month's publication, it takes more than that, she said.

Editors are asked to put in a minimum of four hours a month beyond class time. Most spend six to 10.

Beginning writers get six weeks of basic training before they are allowed to conduct their first individual interviews. They generally become contributors by the second or third issue.

"It's kind of a learn-as-you-go process," Gray said.

Each of the five editors takes responsibility for certain pages in the paper, but one becomes the issue editor and oversees the entire process. They are graded on how well they design the pages, edit stories and their ethics.

"They're bold to take Journalism 2," Gray said.

Postscript editors are teachers, leaders and mentors.

Becoming an editor has made a big difference in Zwernik's life. She said she faced problems with a lack of dedication and motivation. She also said she had problems with grammar, sentence structure and spelling so she was shocked when Gray asked her to become an editor.

"I decided I would jump in with two feet and see what happened," she said. "I ended up really accomplishing a lot this year. I've been so proud of myself because I stuck with it."

Sherman said he enrolled in journalism because he saw it as a "universal skill" that would help him on whatever path he chose to take.

"It's stressful at times, but overall it's rewarding. It teaches you leadership skills," he said.

Sherman, Zwernik and Gray will leave for Denver early Monday morning for a luncheon awards ceremony and return that day.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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