Students who serve on Wingspan become part of a long and winning journalism tradition. Employers value the fact that they have worked on this publication, for the names of former editors read like a who’s who of media professionals.
In 1978, the LCCC journalism department was named the outstanding journalism department among two- and four-year colleges and universities in a 15-state area by the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Press Association (now “Media” instead of “Press”).
Since 1986, the Wingspan staff has received more awards than any other two-year college in the RMCPA region. For 1999 and 2000, Wingspan captured the top award, “Best in Newspapers,” in the RMCMA regional competition. In 1980, a Wingspan editor was named RMCPA’s journalist of the year after participating in live competition. The following year another Wingspan editor won the award. In 1987, a Wingspan editor, competing among two- and four-year schools, received the RMCPA’s Director’s Award for overall outstanding talent and leadership. In 1992, a Wingspan and High Plains Register editor was the top single award winner in the RMCPA.
For 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2011, Wingspan was named first place winner in the American Scholastic Press Association competition, and first place with special merit for 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.
However, the most prestigious award came in October of 1993 when the publication received the Pacemaker award from the Associated Collegiate Press. These are considered the Pulitzer Prize of the student press. The award goes to the top five student newspapers in the nation. In 1994, Wingspan was again named in the top 10 nationally. In 2009 and 2011, Wingspan became a Pacemaker finalist again. In 2000, Wingspan Online received a Pacemaker, competing with major universities nationwide. In 2001, both the print and online versions of Wingspan were nominated for an ACP Pacemaker, quite a remarkable feat.
In November 2003 the October issue was named third place in a Best of Show national competition at the national conference of the ACP. In October 2005 the October issue was named third place winner in the ACP Best of Show national competition. This award was repeated for the October 2006 issue.
In February 2008, Wingspan won fifth place in Best of Show at ACP’s National Collegiate Newspaper Conference, and in October 2009 the publication took first place Best of Show at ACP’s National Conference.
In February 2009, Wingspan won third place Best in Show at ACP’s National College Journalism convention, and in October the publication won third place in the Best of Show of the ACP's national conference. In February 2010 Wingspan won third place in the ACP National College Journalism Conference.
A story written by Wingspan sports editor Cody Tucker was named one of six sports stories of the year by ACP in 2010. The other finalists were from major Division I NCAA universities.
The February 2011 issue was named first place Best of Show at the ACP's National College Journalism, and in October 2011 Wingspan took second place Best of Show at the ACP's national convention. At the same convention, Cody Tucker won honorable mention for sports story of the year; the staff won honorable mention for editorial of the year; and Jeffrey Pallak placed fourth in the nation for illustration of the year.
In the fall of 2004, Wingspan entered the overall newspaper contest sponsored by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for the first time. Competing with four-year institutions, Wingspan won a Silver Crown award, one of 15 newspapers in the country and one of two community colleges. At the March 2005 ceremony in New York City, individual writing awards were also captured in the column writing and personality feature writing categories. In 2006, an ad received an award. The national Silver Crown Award was repeated in 2007. Also, Greg Pratz, Laura Nelson and Emma McClure received individual awards.
In 2008, six individual awards were won by Lauren Daly, Chris Arneson, Bree Anderson, Montika Bunner, Greg Pratz and Jared Michaud as well as a staff award for best designed tabloid.
In 2009, 12 individual awards, including a staff award for best designed tabloid, were won by Chris Arneson, Adam McCoy Kirk Rea, Rob Ketcham, Dominic Benintende and Andrew Dyl.
Wingspan Online captured a 2011 Gold Circle award for its live breaking news coverage of a personnel hearing. Staffers covered the two-day hearing by streaming live video, posting on Facebook and Twitter, writing running news stories on the testimony and preparing photographic slide shows.
Wingspan has competed against four-year schools in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence contest. For the 2002 contest year, co-editor Kevin Wingert placed first regionally and second nationally in editorial writing, and Wingspan was named best nondaily newspaper in its region.
For the 2004 contest year, Wingspan again won first place in its region for best nondaily newspaper. In addition, three LCCC students placed in individual categories competing regionally against four-year institutions. Michelle Stoll won first place in editorial writing; Ezekiel Sorenson won second place in the general news reporting category; and Jenée D. White won honorable mention in the in-depth reporting category.
For the 2005 contest year, Wingspan was named third place regionally, and Jared Michaud took second and third place in photo illustration.
For 2006, Wingspan won second in the region with Greg Pratz, Jared Michaud and Serinda Patras winning individual awards.
For 2008, Wingspan took second place in Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper. In addition, Andrew Dyl, Houston Woodhouse and Kellie Anderson took first place in the photo illustration category, and Chris Arneson won third place for editorial writing.
In 2009, seven first-place awards were awarded: two to the staff and the others to Houston Woodhouse, Stephanie Maas, Dominic Benintende, Vernon Hedrick and Travis Sherman. All place in the national competition.
In 2010, Wingspan won first place in SPJ's Region IX as "best all-around non-daily student newspaper" along with eight other awards: Seneca (Flowers) Riggins - first place, photo illustration, and second place, general column writing; Cody Tucker - first place, sports writing, and second place, feature photography; Daniel Stelle - first place, sports photography; Dominic Benintende - first place, feature photography; Riggins and Benintende - second place, editorial writing; Jeffrey Pallack - second place, photo illustration. First-place Region IX entries moved on to the national competition and earned three awards: Tucker - first place, sports writing; Riggins - first place, photo illustration; and Benintende - second place, feature photography. The publication also earned second-place honors as the "best all-around non-daily student newspaper."
In 2011, Wingspan won four national Mark of Excellence awards from SPJ. The staff one second place in best all-around nondaily student newspaper; Cody Tucker won first place in sports writing; Seneca (Flowers ) Riggins won first place in photo illustration; Dominic Benintende won second place in feature photography; and Will Hebert won first in photo illustration.
In 2012, Wingspan won 20 awards regionally, including best all-around nondaily newspaper, and the following national awards: Cody Tucker, first, feature writing, sports column writing and sports writing; Will Hebert, first, breaking news photography and column writing; Hebert, Courtney Tray, Jeffrey Pallak and Amy Walker, first, online news reporting; and Hebert, Pallak, Susann Robbins and Katie Blaser, first, online indepth reporting.
In 2009, for the first time, Wingspan won awards in the Student Society of News Design competition. Houston Woodhouse captured first place in inside new page design and first place for a tabloid cover design and Andrew Dyl took second place for a tabloid cover design. Woodhouse repeated the award in 2010.
In 2011, for the first time, Wingspan won two third-place awards competing with four-year schools in the Best of the West competition: the staff for general reporting and Cody Tucker for sports reporting.
Jill Melchior received the Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Award in 2006, the highest award an individual Wingspanner has ever won. The only community college student of the nine awarded, Melchior won an all-expense paid trip to Korea and Japan.