The Vidette added a total of 26 awards, including first place for overall General Excellence, to its noteworthy resume in the Illinois College Press Association’s (ICPA) annual competition. The awards were announced in March at the ICPA’s annual conference held in March in Chicago. 

Vidette advisor John Plevka said the recognition is well earned and is a testament to the work being done by the student journalists at The Vidette

“That The Vidette newspaper won the General Excellence award in its final year as a printed product just seems like a perfect and fitting nod to the proud, 134-year tradition of The Vidette,” Plevka said. “This is legitimately earned praise and recognition, so it’s good for the students, The Vidette, the School of Communication, and the University.”

Vidette editors showcase the 26 awards the student-run media outlet received at the annual Illinois College Press Association conference on March 19 in Chicago.
Vidette editors showcase the 26 awards the student-run media outlet received at the annual Illinois College Press Association conference on March 19 in Chicago. From left, Sean Morrison, Elizabeth Urban, Scott Prerost, Editor-in-Chief Kellie Foy, Jordan Mead, advisor John Plevka, Flora Seidler, Jake Sermersheim, and Alex Gant.

The Vidette‘s daily digital newsletter also won first place, and The Vidette received a second-place award in the ICPA Sweepstakes. The Sweepstakes award is given based on a cumulative point total of all of the awards earned. First place was awarded to Northwestern University’s The Daily Northwestern and third place to the The Daily Illini

“Each thing is designated a point value, and we won across the board in so many different categories. So cumulatively, we placed second,” said Plevka.  

The Vidette is a globally recognized news platform that reaches over a million page visits. Additionally, The Vidette’s scope of work is to push news and content from Illinois State to the rest of the world. “When we started looking at our analytics in terms of digital reach, we’ve had page visits from places like Syria and Ukraine,” said Plevka.  

Plevka said the effort that the students put into their work makes him extremely proud.  

“It’s the opportunity to pose an award or two on their resume for when they go out and compete for jobs. Fundamentally, that’s the primary role of The Vidette. We’re an information source for news, sports, photos, and videos. But we’re still primarily a learning lab to try and teach people how to tell stories,” said Plevka.  

The Vidette encourages students to interact and build relationships with its consumers. The main focus is to create a quality learning environment where students can channel what they’ve learned into their stories.  

“We encourage the students here to utilize their personal and professional accounts to promote themselves, brand themselves, brand The Vidette, and the University,” said Plevka.  

After a successful weekend at the ICPA conference, Plevka couldn’t be prouder of the organization for all that they’ve accomplished. Plevka also received an award from the Illinois College Press Association to show its appreciation. He has been on the ICPA board for nine years, and he is retiring from his position as The Vidette’s advisor. He says it’s bittersweet, but he is looking forward to seeing what’s next for The Vidette at Illinois State.   

Following are some of the ICPA awards The Vidette and its staff won:

First-place awards

  • General Excellence
  • Best Daily Digital Newsletter
  • Photo Editor, Alex Grant
  • Spot News Photo
  • Sports Photo
  • Feature Photo

Overall sweepstakes

  • Second place: The Vidette


  • Third place: BookBirds, Copy Editors: Marisa Medine, Kylie Hagmann, and Kathryn Evenson (all English majors).