The Rubicon, SPA's student newspaper, and the digital RubicOnline have continued their tradition of excellence this winter, accumulating four new national honors in a single week in February 2019.
Both versions of the paper were honored with a Gold Medal with All-Columbian Honors, an award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), a program of the Columbia University School of Journalism. The judges in the competition praised the Rubicon and RubicOnline staff for their clear commitment to their community and journalism. "One cannot help but feel a connection to the school community after reading this newspaper and exploring the digital site," one judge noted. "It is rare to see a high school publication that embraces the elements of both civic and community journalism, but The Rubicon staff does just that. They strive to inform and to engage their readers in current social issues while also focusing on the school and local community." According to Director of Publications and Rubicon advisor Kathryn Campbell, "The best part of this award is the extensive, high-quality feedback that comes with it--the staff pored over the 27 pages of comments, and set goals to keep improving their print and online reporting."
Two additional honors from the CSPA, the Gold Circle Individual Awards, have also been awarded to two Rubicon student journalists for digital media. Mimi Geller '19 earned first place for her two-part video feature package, "The Making of a Musical" about the 2019 Upper School musical, Rent (view part one and part two of the package). Mira Zelle '18 earned a certificate of merit for her podcast, "Senior Mira," which she produced as part of her independent study in publications in the spring of 2018. "I feel honored to be able to have access to equipment and resources that let me do what I love with journalism," Geller says. "I am also thankful for the SPA theatre program for letting me capture their magic." Geller and Zelle's Gold Circle awards for digital media are in addition to three other Gold Circle awards earned this fall: one for editorial cartoon/illustration portfolio by Melissa Nie '18 for work in The Rubicon and two for the 2018 issue of Iris: Art + Lit, SPA's art and literature magazine.
Finally, RubicOnline was the subject of two national feature stories in the Journalism Education Association's (JEA) publications. JEA's quarterly magazine, C:JET, featured the RubicOnline staff in the Spring 2019 issue; and JEA Digital Media showcased RubicOnline's innovation workshop model, Development Day.
The Rubicon and RubicOnline are nationally known and considered among the best high school publications in the country, winning dozens of awards every year. But Campbell does not take the publications' success for granted. "When I talk to other advisers across the country," Campbell says, "or when we're asked to share more about what we do with SPA publications, it's a reminder to me that what is day-to-day for us on our staffs is really quite special. It is always just tremendous to see the work of our journalists honored in this way."
For another look at The Rubicon, view the student-produced "Behind the Scenes at SPA: The Rubicon" video from the fall of 2018.