Iowa College Media Association Student Media Contest Winners

February 24, 2021

On February 18, several Grand View students and recent graduates were honored at the Iowa College Media Association’s annual student media awards, a competition that recognizes the best student journalism in the state of Iowa. These students completed their work as part of Viewfinder, Grand View’s student media organization, which is advised by Dayne Logan and KC McGinnis. Below is a full list of winners along with links to their work and comments from judges.

Multimedia Slideshow

Honorable Mention – Taylor Thomas (Order Up: The New Normal in Restaurants)

Judges’ Comments: Good, timely storytelling. Excellent audio. Photos helped tell the story.

Investigative News Story

3rd Place – Warner Pool (ADHD)

Judges’ Comments: Straightforward presentation, but could have been enhanced with more information/examples of ADHD and its impact on patients -- and families, employers, etc.

1st Place – Gabrielle Gerke (Go Army?)

Judges’ Comments: This story "put a face" on the story of choosing a military career by focusing on one prospect and one military spouse.

Feature Story

3rd Place – Brynn Martin (The F-Word)

Judges’ Comments: Perhaps the most informative entry in this category. Several sources quote -- including, notably, a man.

2nd Place – Gabrielle Gerke (A Home for All)

Judges’ Comments: Interviewing a homeless person participating in the program was critical for this story -- and the writer did that. A community issue but impacts this metro campus.

Sports Feature

3rd Place – Megan Marshall (Dancing Through Chron’s)

Judges Comments: Very well-written profile. The article gives good information and insights into Crohn's and how it impacts the subject's life in so many ways.

Print Design

3rd Place – Brynn Martin (The F-Word [page two])

Judges’ Comments: Well designed and inviting. This fell further down than the winners due simply to the length of time it took to get to any local content.

Magazine Cover

1st Place – Gabrielle Gerke (Switch It Up)

Judges’ Comments: Terrific concept. The design is simple while successfully communicating a more complex message. Excellent execution.          

Online Design

Honorable Mention – Ashley Weaver, with photos from Warner Pool (The Buzz About Bosman)

Judges’ Comments: Strong execution of longform design that features excellent photography and colorful typography that anchors the Q&A.

3rd Place – Jack Buttjer, with photos from Camden Blowers (The Collective)

Judges’ Comments: Longform design on sustainability shop in Des Moines showcases strong writing and excellent photographs that beautifully tell this story.

1st Place - Clarissa Merschmann, Kayli Mackin and Ernest Docker (Why Do You Teach?)

Judges’ Comments: Love the use of audio within the presentation, which quickly introduces readers to each professor with a short bio before short video snippets that answer the question, “Why do you teach?” Terrific use of alternate story formats and creative design that also leverages black and white imagery for a more consistent and compelling presentation.

Online Edition

1st Place – Viewfinder Staff (

Judges’ Comments: Grand View University's Viewfinder is a consistent player, with online excellence in writing, visuals and design. The work that appears here is especially impressive given that it's being produced during a pandemic, yet the staff continues to get access to sources and information. They clearly dig deep to deliver essential coverage for the Grand View audience. And they offer plenty of nice-to-haves, too.

Graphic or Illustration

Honorable Mention – Camden Blowers (Meal Deals)

Judges’ Comments: Excellent use of display space for a high-interest topic. Great utility, leveraging icons as a quick key for venues on the list.

Interactive Content

2nd Place - Clarissa Merschmann, Kayli Mackin and Ernest Docker (Why Do You Teach?)

Judges’ Comments: I enjoyed hearing from the teachers in their own voices. Several of the photos were especially compelling, too.

Online Video

3rd Place – Ernest Docker and Diego Leite (JV @ GV)

Judges’ Comments: This video clearly explained who's who and gave exposure to players who I'm sure don't get their stories told often enough. Solid reporting, writing and quality.

Use of Social Media

3rd Place – Dom Wright-Walton and Ashlee Seaton (Viewfinder GV)

Judges’ Comments: The videos on Facebook were great, but some other content would help to bolster traffic to your social media sites, which you could use to drive readers to your main site.