The Oakland Post has collected several awards from the 2011 Student Society for News Design contest.
Design Editor Jason Willis took home top honors in the Student Designer of the Year contest.
“It’s great to be recognized for something I do every week — every day,” Willis said. “It’s just a really satisfying and great feeling. I am thrilled.”
He won $750 toward the cost of going to the Society for News Design’s annual workshop this September in St. Louis.
“Jason is going to be able to write his own ticket,” Oakland Post adviser Holly Gilbert said. “He’s going to be a visionary — no pun intended — in how the future of journalism looks.”
Gilbert compared Willis to Mario Garcia, who she said is a “top newspaper designer.”
“Jason, in essence, is the look and feel of The Oakland Post — that is, of course, not to take away any of the remarkable work the rest of the staff does,” Mike Sandula, former managing editor, said.
In addition, The Post won six other awards, including second place for the redesign of the print publication. Willis and former senior editor Dan Fenner shared the prize.
“It’s just great to be able to see all of the hours and hard work that we put into it pay off,” Willis said of the redesign. “We beat big schools and it was pretty cool to see our name among them.”
Two sports-centric packages — “Summit Slips Away” and “Back to the Big Dance” — took home first and third in another multi-page category, respectively. The spread about Oakland University’s international recruiting of athletes garnered second place in the sports page category.
“His work as a package is just impeccable and compelling,” Gilbert said.
Judges noted that Willis’ design of the contest’s special topic category — the 2010 midterm elections — used “many design layers that make it effective.”
Additionally, the special “What’s driving Detroit now?” section garnered second place in the multi-page story package category.
“He has a total understanding of journalism, which is so important,” Gilbert said. “He understands journalism and he understands and values writing.”
Carla Butwin, former staff graphic designer, earned an honorable mention in the front page tabloid contest for her hand-drawn cover.