Student Voice wins 9 awards in newspaper contest

Posted March 24, 2023

The Student Voice, the campus newspaper at UW-River Falls, won nine awards in the annual Collegiate Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.

The awards — including three first place honors — were announced Friday, March 24, during the state press association’s annual convention in Madison.

The Voice won two awards for feature stories. Joshua Brauer won first place for his April 2022 story, “For veterans, American Legion more than just bingo.” The story examined what American Legion Post 121 in River Falls means for its members.

“Really good feature,” a contest judge wrote. “Very well written. Great quotes!”

Editor Jack Van Hoof won second place for feature for his October 2022 story, “Behind the scenes at Textbook Services.”

The Voice won three awards in the in-depth reporting category.

Anna Gunderson won first place for “New pantry tackles food insecurity on campus.” The story, which reported on Freddy’s Food Pantry, was published in February 2022. Gunderson is general manager of the Student Voice.

“This is a good piece on a topic that’s oftentimes overlooked at the college level,” a judge commented. “We don’t often think about food insecurity in college students, but this article definitely brings the issue to light. Good job!”

Van Hoof earned third place for his September 2022 story, “UWRF rebrands to emphasize recruitment.” Assistant Editor Lexi Janzer earned honorable mention for her October 2022 story, “Amazon show ‘The College Tour’ to feature UWRF.”

Former Assistant Editor Charlie Swanson won first place in sports writing for his April 2022 feature, “Junior breaks longstanding 1977 track and field record.” The story covered Lexi LeFever and the school record she set in the 100-meter dash.

“An enjoyable portrait of an interesting athlete,” a judge commented.

Swanson is now a reporter for the online Hastings Star Gazette in Minnesota.

Former editor and alumna Isabella Forliti won third place in public affairs reporting for her April 2022 story, “Students, faculty petition against custodian outsourcing.”

In column writing, the Voice won two awards. Janzer earned second place for her December 2022 opinion piece, “UWRF new animal policy ‘lets the dogs out.’” Staff member Natalie Riddle earned honorable mention for her February 2022 article, “Question for the culture: Valentine’s Day Edition.”

The Student Voice is published during the academic year, appearing monthly in print as well as online at The paper was founded in 1916.

A total of 205 entries from nine Wisconsin campus newspapers were judged by the Arkansas Press Association.

Alumni also win

The WNAF also announced winners in the 2022 Better Newspaper Contest for the state’s commercial press.

Sam Fristed, a 2021 journalism graduate of UW-River Falls, earned third place in the “Rookie Reporter of the Year” category for non-daily newspapers with circulation of less than 4,500. Until recently, he was a reporter for the Star-Observer in Hudson. Hannah Coyle of the Star-Observer won first place.

Sarah Nigbor, a UWRF alumna and former journalism minor, won a first place in column writing. She is editor of the Pierce County Journal in Prescott. Nigbor also earned honorable mention in enterprise and interpretive reporting for a series of news stories that examined broadband internet. She also earned honorable mention for coronavirus coverage.

Reagan Hoverman, another recent UWRF journalism alumnus, earned an honorable mention for spot news photography. He is a sports reporter for the Pierce County Journal.