The Highlander wins Keystone Press Award

The newspaper staff earned second place.
March 25, 2009

The Pennsylvania Newspaper Association (PNA) awarded Misericordia University’s student newspaper, The Highlander, a second place in the recent College Keystone Press Awards.

The Highlander was recognized in the Ongoing News category for the newspaper staff’s health care coverage last spring in relation to Misericordia University’s first Health Care Summit. LaSalle University’s student newspaper earned first place and Temple University received an honorable mention in the same category.

Student editors Amanda Janiga of Pittston, Pa., Mallory Vough of Bangor, Pa., Rachel Decker of Dallas, Pa., and Jennifer Gomez of Lake Ariel, Pa., will attend the annual PNA conference in April to receive the award. The Keystone Press Awards reinforce excellence by individuals in the newspaper profession by recognizing journalism that consistently provides relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers, and furthers First Amendment values. The goal is for the awards to stimulate journalists to improve their craft and ultimately improve their community, according to PNA.

“I think our in-depth reporting is what won the award for The Highlander,’’ said Janiga, the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. “We (Gomez and Janiga) spent countless hours interviewing, writing and rewriting. It’s nice to see our hard work pay off.’’

Vough, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Vough, graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Prior to commencement, she was presented the Communications Department Award for Excellence which is given to a graduating student for outstanding professional development, academic achievement and contribution to the university community. Vough is a news assistant in the office of public information at Northampton Community College and a freelance reporter for The Bethlehem Press. Gomez, the daughter of Jairo and Stella Gomez, graduated summa cum laude in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and communications. She was awarded the Communications Department Academic Achievement Award for outstanding scholarship. She is a member publications specialist at TMG Health, Inc., in Dunmore

Janiga, the daughter of John and Stephanie Janiga, will receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications during Misericordia University 83rd annual Commencement ceremony on May 16. Decker, the daughter of Ann Marie Decker and the late Dr. Peter G. Decker, will graduate in December. Janiga has been hired by WNEP-TV 16 as a newscast producer, and Decker is the online content manager for the Weekender and digital production and event coordinator for the Times Leader newspaper.

The Highlander has also been recognized for journalism excellence by the American Scholastic Press Association, which awarded the student newspaper staff a second place award in 2007, and in 2008 the American Scholastic Press Association presented the staff a first place special merit award. Melissa Sgroi, assistant professor of communications, is the faculty advisor for The Highlander.

The Highlander has been published since 2001 by student journalists at Misericordia. The bi-weekly publication provides features, investigative reporting, columns, sports and general news coverage for the college community during the academic year.

For more information about The Highlander or the Communications Department at Misericordia University, please log on to or, or write to department chairman Richard Crew, Ph.D., at


Misericordia University student journalists, from left, Amanda Janiga, Mallory Vough, Rachel Decker and Jennifer Gomez (not pictured) will attend the annual Pennsylvania Newspaper Association conference in April to receive the College Keystone Press Award for their coverage of health care issues.

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