Owatonna Magnet News Site Earns Distinguished Award
A corner of two walls is filled with certificates and honors in the headquarters of the Magnet at Owatonna High School. Several new awards were added to the area last week. The Magnet is the student news website and newspaper and was awarded a Distinguished Site award from the SNO organization, a digit platform support system for school newsgroups.
Several recent OHS graduates joined current staff members, advisor Jessica Wagner, along with school administration and community members for a party to celebrate the most recent award. As Magnet staffers Ava Wolfe and Syd Hall led a couple of media members through OHS, they invited others to join the party.
Senior Claire Heyne is the editor of online content, "Because we do it online, it's pretty easy for us to keep stories coming in different categories. And then it's also really easy for us to get our stories promoted...It's a really big deal [the SNO award] just because the acceptance rate for the submissions is significantly low and it takes a lot of creativity and innovation you're doing to be chosen for that."
Heyne will attend Duke University in the fall to study biology and possibly public policy and Spanish.
Preston Meier, a senior, picked up an award for a story he wrote last year on the inequalities between the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments. "It's definitely very cool, being recognized for an article I wrote last year that received the Best of SNO...I thought it was a hard-hitting topic and was the buzz of most media stations. Also, the NCAA and sports aspect was something that always interested me."
He said Magnet's wide-ranging series of topics covered is one of their strengths and a reason for SNO recognition. Meier will go to Concordia of Wisconsin and major in marketing while playing lacrosse.
Jack Kleeberger, Jacob Meiners, and Mariah Schroht also won awards for stories from last school year.
Senior Olivia Shaw is the Editor-in-Chief and is proud of the staff, "The work that comes out of these guys. I see what they're coming with to me. And I get to help them out and see them develop those stories." She says the Magnet looks at student life and what's happening at the high school in addition to community events and some current pop culture. They also cover state and global news and offer both sides on op-ed topics.
Shaw notes, "The quality that we can produce off of all those people [the staff] that are here. I'd say the quality is pretty top-notch with the training that we do here." Shaw will attend the College of St. Benedict to major in business, focusing on marketing and communication. She also has an interest in Journalism and a minor in coaching.
Wagner says Owatonna's Magnet staff takes it up a notch each year as the award level becomes tougher to reach, "Every year they take it and make it a little harder. So to be able to compete at this level and be able to be honored as a Distinguished Site is quite an honor."
Owatonna earned six badges to earn the Distinguished Site honor. That included Audience Engagement, Story Page Excellence, Continuing Coverage, Multimedia, and Excellence in Writing.
Jack Ruiter, a junior, had several of his stories recognized on a national level by the SNO organization. One story featured the Huskies' adaptive floor hockey team playing at OHS, "It was kind of leading up to that and what that day really meant...Taking a look, maybe the week leading up, as well as that night at the high school, and the crowd, and the actual game itself. And really showing what a cool event that was."
Ari Shornock came out for Magnet for her senior year, "I've always read Magnet and I liked how it combined activities and academics. And I've heard from the past that people have had a really fun experience and I've really enjoyed it."
Shorrock says she's learned to reach out to people to arrange for interviews and prepare for questioning. She will attend the University of Northern Iowa and study accounting.