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Communication & Media

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SUNY New Paltz student newspaper staffers win New York Press Association awards


NEW PALTZ -- State University of New York at New Paltz students Melissa Mansfield of Poughkeepsie and Joe Burke of Huntington have received top honors from the New York Press Association for their writing in the student newspaper, The Oracle.

Mansfield received first place in column writing and Burke took second place. The Oracle itself was awarded first place in editorial writing and honorable mention in the general excellence category. The Oracle's editor-in-chief in 2001, the period for which the awards were given, was junior Andrew Hackmack of Hicksville.

Mansfield, Burke and Hackmack have worked on the SUNY New Paltz paper since they were freshmen, holding several editorial positions each. Mansfield started as a staff writer and is editor in chief for the spring semester. She also wrote a regular column as a foreign correspondent while studying abroad in France. She is a senior majoring in French with minors in journalism and international relations.

"I love this newspaper," said Mansfield, who also has been arts and entertainment editor, news editor, assistant managing editor and senior editor. "We generally try to give the student body and campus community a newspaper they look forward to reading. We all work really hard. I feel lucky to be working with such talented people."

Burke has been features editor, senior copy editor and columnist for The Oracle. His columns have received more mail than any other columnist in recent memory, according to Mansfield. A political science major, Burke is spending his spring semester in Albany interning for the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Hackmack, a journalism major, has served as a copy editor, opinion editor and news editor, as well as editor in chief.

The students will attend a New York Press Association luncheon in April to receive their awards. The New York Press Association was established in 1853, as a trade organization that ultimately represented the weekly community newspapers of New York state. The NYPA's non-profit scholarship foundation takes an active role in developing talent in the field of journalism. NYPA strives to bring journalism majors and those working in the journalism profession together to develop plans for better journalism education and better community-based journalism.