The Appalachian and The Peel Receive Numerous Accolades at the State Level

BOONE, NC - The Appalachian student-run news organization and The Peel Literature & Arts Review, the student-run literary and arts publication, have been recognized as two of the best college media organizations in the state of North Carolina. Members of The Appalachian received nine individual and organizational awards at the North Carolina College Media Association (NCCMA) College Media Conference, held Feb. 24 at High Point University. The annual conference serves student and adviser members across the state of North Carolina, and NCCMA presents their annual statewide media contest awards during this event.

The conference, hosted by High Point University and coordinated by NCCMA which is headquartered at UNC-Chapel Hill, featured a wide range of speakers from the world of media in the theme of "Moving Stories."

Also during the conference, NCCMA announced that Appalachian State University would be the host for the 2025 North Carolina College Media Conference. Pruett Norris, Multimedia Editor of The Appalachian, gave the announcement during the awards luncheon. "The magic of NC College Media is the volunteer spirit of collaboration that takes place," said Monica Hill, Director of the NCCMA, expressing the organization's excitement about App State serving as next year's host. "If the applause at the luncheon was any indication, I predict we will have all of the 2024 attending campuses there for the 2025 event." The last time Appalachian State hosted the NCCMA conference was 2011, with the theme of covering the arts, and the event featured representatives from the arts community discussing review writing, arts coverage and design principles.

The Appalachian was recognized for work across a variety of desks and platforms, including news reporting, feature writing, sports reporting, graphic design, digital storytelling, photography, graphic design and more. The Appalachian competed in the Large Schools category (student populations of 8,500 or more), and went up against other UNC system universities including UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, NC A&T University, UNC Charlotte, and East Carolina University.

"I am so proud of our staff for all of the hard work they put into creating and contributing to award-winning content for our publication," said Jenna Guzman, editor-in-chief of The Appalachian for 2023-2024. "Student journalism is so important, and gaining recognition for it is so fulfilling and greatly appreciated. We hope to continue creating content that serves both our community and the students involved in making it all."

The Peel was recognized for work both by members of their editorial board, as well as students who submitted works that were selected for publication. Their awards were for work in fiction,
photography/art and graphic design. The Peel competed against every other student-run literary and arts publication in the state, including UNC Chapel Hill, East Carolina University, Meredith College, High Point University, Elon University, UNC Asheville, and Brevard College.

"There's so much value in these conferences — getting to collaborate with other editors and creatives, as well as being exposed to different kinds of art and writing, is insightful and meaningful to connecting with people involved in student media all across the state," said Brittany Helms, editor-in-chief of The Peel for 2023-2024. "I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many talented artists and writers who bring such a strong sense of passion and voice to not only The Peel Review but our community as a whole."

Abby Henry, prose editor for The Peel for spring 2024, agreed. "Our community of artists and writers is unlike any other," Henry said. "Conferences like these give our supportive and captivating student creatives an opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for their intelligence, engagement, and connectivity in storytelling and dynamic student media. I am so proud of our creative student body and can't wait to see what stories they tell next."

Aubrey Smith, former editor-in-chief of The Appalachian for the 2022-2023 academic year, shared in the excitement about the state-level accolades for both student media publications. "The students of The Appalachian and The Peel are incredibly hardworking and dedicated, and I am so happy to see they received recognition for their outstanding work," Smith said. "It has been a pleasure to work among such talented and passionate student journalists."

The following awards were presented to The Appalachian and The Peel by the North Carolina College Media Association (NCCMA) in their annual statewide college media competition: • Best of Show, Newspaper, the staff of The Appalachian, for their monthly print editions 
• Second place, Feature Writing, Jenna Guzman, for the story "Father Duck: Meet App State's duck caretaker" • Second place, News Writing, Staff, for the story "Antisemitism and hate at App State" 
• Honorable mention, News Writing, Siri Patterson, for the story "'We are not there yet': Accessibility at App State"
• Second place, Sports Writing, Chance Chamberlain, for the story "East vs. West: The enduring rivalry between App State and East Carolina"
• Second place, Cartoon, Yakira Gurganus, for the comic strip "Boonie"
• Third place, Digital Storytelling, Hannah Byars, for the podcast episode "APPlause Episode 1: Halloween Monster Concert" 
• Third place, Photography, Leah Matney, for the photo of John Paul White for the story "Hits in the High Country: Songwriters' time in the limelight"
• Second place, Fiction, Peter McKinney, "Dirt," which ran in the spring 2023 print edition 
• Honorable Mention, Fiction, Lydia Blanton, "Bird Behavior," which ran in the spring 2023 print edition
• Third Place, Two-Page Spread, Kara Hunkele, Cayleigh Brown, Joseph Boyle, Peter McKinney, for the "Dirt" spread 
• Honorable Mention, Photography/Art, Joseph Boyle, "A Foreign Affair," which ran in the spring 2023 print edition 

Multiple members of The Appalachian and The Peel were in attendance at the NCCMA North Carolina State Media Conference, held Feb. 24 at High Point University: Chance Chamberlain (Associate Sports Editor, The Appalachian); Siri Patterson (News Editor, The Appalachian); Pruett Norris (Multimedia Editor, The Appalachian); Kayla Masterman (Distribution Manager, The Appalachian); Meg Frantz (A&C Reporter, The Appalachian); Yakira Gurganus (Comic Artist, The Appalachian); Makayla Munoz (A&C Reporter, The Appalachian); Emily Escobedo Ramirez (Opinion Writer, The Appalachian); Brittany Helms (Editor-in-Chief, The Peel); Abby Henry (Prose Editor, The Peel); Allison Bennett Dyche (Student Publications Director).


About the Department of Communication
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University focuses on preparing students to succeed in the varied fields within the communication industry. The department offers five majors- advertising, communication studies, electronic media/ broadcasting, journalism and public relations- and a minor in communication studies. Graduates work in a wide range of positions in media, corporate, agency, government and nonprofit organizations.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University's College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio, and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Students of The Peel and The Appalachian with NCCMA Awards
Published: Mar 1, 2024 1:52pm