Wisconsin’s oldest school newspaper, The Increscent, named best in state
Beloit Memorial High School’s student newspaper, the Increscent, is celebrating a first place win in general excellence in the extracurricular division from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation.
This year’s editors and staff members have worked hard to increase coverage, present a variety of news material and produce a quality print job. The staff’s first place win comes with a $1,000 award.
Daniel Luebke, a senior student and managing editor, said the staff of the student newspaper has been working hard all year and with the win comes a sense of accomplishment. Luebke said there are many great high school newspapers around the state and it is an honor to be recognized by the WNA Foundation.
“We were pleasantly surprised because we saw the quality of these other papers,” Luebke said. “It is really gratifying to put in the effort and get recognition.”
Luebke won second place honors in the graphics category as well.
The Increscent is the state’s oldest high school newspaper and comes out monthly. The paper informs students, teachers, parents and community members of the issues of the high school. The Increscent staff is made up of 10 editors and about 20 reporters.
At BMHS, students can work at the paper as an extra-curricular activity as opposed to some schools where students can work on the newspaper as part of a class.
As part of their jobs, editors and reporters work diligently to meet deadlines, design pages, edit copy, hold meetings, take photos and sometimes sell advertisements.
On top of those duties, most staff members are on sports teams or clubs —some have jobs and others take advanced placement classes. Somehow, they always find time to work at the paper and produce an issue.
The editors make all the decisions and are solely responsible for the content of the paper. The paper has already seen a steady flow of applications for next year.
“I was really thrilled when I got the call that we won,” said Romelle Witkins, English teacher, adviser to the paper and a former Beloit Daily News reporter. “BMHS is a remarkable school, and so many people outside this building don’t realize how many wonderful, creative, smart and kind students we have here.”
Witkins pointed out that awards like this let people throughout the state know that Beloit is a great city.
Luebke said the paper is a great outlet for student imagination, creativity and leadership. Luebke joined the paper near the end of his sophomore year, looking back now, he wishes he would have started earlier.
Emily Olszewski, sophomore features editor and next year’s managing editor, said this year was very successful. The paper took more chances and did more thorough reporting. Next year she is hoping to build on this success and try to improve The Increscent even more so.
Olszewski said she enjoys the culture of the newsroom and hopes to increase readership and feedback between reporters and editors next year. Though working at the paper can be time consuming and demanding, Olszewski has been nothing but happy to have the experience.
“It’s always fun and always worth it,” she said. “It is such a good experience and it teaches you so much.”
“When kids join they almost never leave,” said Witkins. “Ink gets in your blood, what can I say?”