The Feather staff earned a Gold Crown at the CSPA convention in March.

As a student journalist, there are few honors that are as grand and prestigious as the Gold Crown presented by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) at their annual convention. This award focuses on the excellence of the publication’s design, photography, concept, coverage and writing. In short, the Gold Crown is an award for the highest excellence in the very fundamentals of journalism.

Attending Columbia University with 2,691 other delegates and 299 different schools put The Feather in perspective, March 20. We competed on a national stage with a swarm of other media devotees to the practice of journalism, and we were one of the only two digital publications from California to win a Gold Crown in the online category.

In comparison to the size of the other publications, The Feather is incredibly small. And yet we were able to hold our own and bring home a Gold Crown, one of the highest national awards for scholastic journalism.

The CSPA hosted the student journalists incredibly well. They brought all of us into Columbia University’s campus; they let us walk the university halls and classrooms and listen to a variety of different speakers talk about a variety of different topics. The CSPA also asked some of The Feather editors and adviser Greg Stobbe to teach classes: Chloe Mueller, Sara Peterson, Ryan King, and Callista Fries all hosted sessions on behalf of The Feather and the CSPA.

Though I did not listen to every speaker, the speakers I did listen too had a lot to say about journalism and high school publications. I learned a about new media formats and how to come up with new ideas for articles, but for the most part, the content felt like it was second nature. I already knew much of the material and practice it on the Feather on a daily basis, so the speakers only really helped affirm what I already knew plus added a few gems to take back home. Should I return to New York with The Feather next year, it would be informative to listen to more speakers on different podcasting ideas and ways to improve media use.

Attending the CSPA convention is also a great way to share ideas with other staffs from around the country, whether we share/swap papers, struggles and how we overcome them. The Feather has benefited greatly over the years through this real time engagement with our peers. Plus it is good to be a part of a larger group who all have the same goals and pride of high school journalism.

Being on a staff as small as The Feather and still being able to win a Gold Crown fills my heart to the brim with pride. I fully intend the join The Feather again next year and show Columbia that we are still worthy of the Gold.

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @RRoggenstein.

For more opinions, read the March 24 article, College Corner: Fresno State standards changing.