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Spectrum writer places second at journalism conference

Published: 19 April 2013

Sam Herder, a sophomore majoring in journalism from Breckenridge, Minn., won second place at the Society of Professional Journalists Region 6 Mark of Excellence awards April 12. Herder submitted three columns called “Herd’s Hunches,” which were originally published in The Spectrum, and was selected for the Sports Column Writing (Large) category.

Region 6 covers Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin schools. Herder was one of the top three candidates and was invited to the conference. He is the sports editor at The Spectrum.

“I am extremely honored and humbled with this award. As a young journalist, I am still getting my feet wet, and I didn't really expect to get an award for my writing. It feels good to have my columns be rewarded, because I can put my personality and own thoughts and opinions into them,” Herder said.

Patrick Schmiedt, assistant professor of communication and Herder’s journalism instructor, said Herder excels in and out of the classroom. “The award represents Sam's hard work and commitment to improve. His work in The Spectrum has helped keep the campus community both informed and entertained, and he deserves the regional recognition he's received this week.” 

The award gives The Spectrum additional recognition – the paper won first place in its category at the Associated Collegiate Press’ Best of the Midwest College Newspaper Convention in February. 

“I believe it shows The Spectrum is a great college newspaper that has won awards and has produced individual awards as well,” Herder said.

The awards banquet was part of the Midwest Journalism Conference, which took place in Bloomington, Minn., at the Crown Plaza Suites Airport April 12-13. The conference is one of the premier regional journalism conferences in the country with more than 250 professional and student journalists in attendance. Keynote speakers this year included KSTP-TV reporter Mark Albert and Star Tribune reporter Allie Shah. Workshops and sessions featured professionals, such as news directors and editors, who offered advice on the latest trends, tools and skills young journalists need to stay competitive. 

More information on the conference is available at

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Last Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2013