Jim Durham
News Bureau Director

In this faster-paced world of blogging and Tweeting, there are college students who still like to gather the news and package it into a printed publication that comes out weekly (usually). Three members of The Georgetonian staff, who have that love for the journalistic process – and the newsprint – were recognized recently for their fine work by the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association.

Georgetonian Winners
From left: Joel Darland, Tori Bachman-Johnson, Whitley Arens, Kelsey Bender

First Place, Editorial Cartoon – Joel Darland

  • This is the second time Joel has won first place for his cartoons. The judges referred to his work as “irreverent and biting.”

Second Place, News Story – Tori Bachman-Johnson

  • Tori’s story on campus meal options was a strong contender for first place according to the judges.

Second Place, Features Story – Tori Bachman-Johnson

  • Tori also won second in Features writing with her great story on the Stephen Tilford Memorial Concert Series. In their comments on both of Tori’s articles, the judges complimented her story-telling abilities and called her work delightful and fun to read.

Third Place, Special Section – 2009 Spring Staff

  • For the special section on “REALationships,” which was conceived and written by Whitley Arens.

“Georgetown College made a terrific showing in the contest and won the praise of some tough judges,” said Poore, executive secretary of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association as well as Student Publications Director at the University of Kentucky. Adviser to the Kentucky Kernel, UK’s campus newspaper, falls under the latter. “Your campus is lucky to have such a good student newspaper.

“Students around Kentucky work hard on these newspapers, and, just like in the professional world, they don’t always get recognized for it,” added Poore, who also speaks from his experience as a former reporter and editor at the Lexington Herald-Leader. “These awards recognize students who go beyond the class-work and participating in social organizations to produce good journalism for their fellow students and teachers.”

“I hope these awards reinforce how important those efforts are. The entries are judged by some of the best professionals in the country; judges came from The New York Times, The Indianapolis Star and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, to name a few.”

Jamie Ratliff, who is in her seventh year as The Georgetonian’s faculty adviser, was especially fortunate to have all three award winners and last year’s editor join the paper’s staff as freshmen. She wrote, “(This) continues to be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things that I do. The staff sometimes changes with the semester or the school year, but I have the pleasure of watching most of these students grow over the course of their four years at Georgetown and become amazing people. The entire staff is a lively group with diverse interests, but they all work well together and are dedicated to seeing the paper through each week.”

Second-time top prize winner Joel, the son of Charles and Suzanne Darland of Elizabethtown, is an Art major and Religion minor. A 2006 graduate of Elizabethtown High School, he had no previous student newspaper experience. But, journalism runs in the family. Brother Jesse ’06 had stints as Back Page and Opinion editor during his years on the Georgetonian. And, it was actually in the Georgetonian office where Jesse met his wife-to-be – Ashley Gabbard, who was Georgetonian editor in 2007 and who graduated that December not long after putting her last issue “to bed.”

The two young women – Tori Bachman-Johnson and Whitley Arens – as well as their editor for the 2009 awards year, Kelsey Bender – had the advantage in high school at Scott County of having Jennifer Reaves Beckett ‘97 as their adviser – a Georgetonian editor herself at GC.

Tori, the daughter of Eric and Kyle Bachman-Johnson (now) of Richmond, IL, is a sophomore English major and History minor. Whitley, the daughter of Greg Arens of Lexington and Debbie Arens of Lexington, is a junior with a double major in English and Education. And, Kelsey, daughter of Bob and Lisa Bender of Georgetown, is an Elementary Education major and Social Science minor with an emphasis in Psychology.

Whitley has enjoyed her various roles on the student paper so much that she applied for and won the position of Editor for 2010. She wrote in an e-mail, “I really do think that my experience as a reporter/writer has only strengthened my ability to be a good editor. The fact that I understand the position that my staff writers and page editors are in really allows me to guide them and help them more-so than if I didn’t have this experience.”

Even before, as a writer, she has been interested in global issues. And, as editor she has also introduced an “Around the World” column to the paper. She said, “Also, I’ve really enjoyed challenging my writers to write in perspectives that consider GC as part of a community as well as being a community in itself.”

Whitley Arens forewarns students and parents, faculty/staff, and alumni to read The Georgetonian this fall. “As far as I’m concerned, this spring was just a warm up,” she said. “There are going to be a lot of changes in the fall…The Georgetonian is going to bring it!”