The Sunflower, Wichita State’s oldest student organization, founded in 1896, finished its final print copy of Volume 121 Wednesday night.
In the last year, The Sunflower has undergone changes to the method of publishing, modernizing the publication to be more aligned with other publications. The Sunflower has made the broad jump to expand their digital presence, undergoing a site relaunch in early October.
In that time, we have seen our online presence reach new heights, reaching an audience of more than 300,000 unique visitors through expanded content.
Freshmen reporters Jenna Farhat and Matthew Kelly published the most-read stories to the site since the relaunch, reaching more than 7,000 and 6,000 unique visitors. At the time of print, more than 56 stories topped 1,000 unique visitors.
On social media, The Sunflower more than doubled the 1,600-person audience to 3,340 students, faculty, staff, community members and more.
In March, Kansas Collegiate Media judges recognized The Sunflower as the silver medalist overall for four-year public newspaper, behind only the Kansan at the University of Kansas.
Incoming Editor-in-Chief Chance Swaim was named the Journalist of the Year. Swaim was recognized as the runner-up a year prior. Former Managing Editor Andrew Linnabary received recognition as the second runner-up for Journalist of the Year.
Hannah Roberts, senior, won for best news photo, and was recognized with awards in all four photography categories. Evan Pflugradt, senior, placed first in sports news writing. TJ Rigg placed first in an on-site copy editing contest. Linnabary placed first in review writing. Madeline Deabler, sophomore, won best illustration. Farhat and Nathan Davis won for best news writing.
The Sunflower staff was also recognized for best special section. Altogether, The Sunflower received for 42 awards at the conference.
— Evan Pflugradt