XAVIER PRESS AWARDS: Students who worked on the 2013 spring and fall editions of The Xavier Herald at Xavier University of Louisiana received the top award presented by the Louisiana Press Association in its annual Better Student Newspaper Competition.

The Herald took first place for general excellence and for staff-generated color advertisement, and second place for graphic design and for feature photography.

Student publications were required to submit two full editions — one from the spring and one from the fall 2013 — and judges based their decision on content, design and advertising.

Herald staffs entered the April 11, 2013, and Nov. 19, 2013, editions. The April edition included coverage of the university administration’s decision to cancel performances by two New Orleans bounce artists days before the annual students’ spring festival. The November edition featured an in-depth examination of college students’ usage of “stimulants in a can,” such as energy drinks, and overuse of other caffeine-loaded products; misuse of prescription drugs; and detrimental “addiction” to social media.

Cassie Smith, editor-in-chief in the spring 2013, graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication, print concentration. She is now an editorial assistant at the Austin American-Statesman newspaper in Austin, Texas. Anthony Lotten served as editor-in-chief in fall 2013 and is a senior English major.

The Southeastern Louisiana University Lion’s Roar placed second and Loyola University Maroon placed third in general excellence.

The Herald’s other first place award was for a staff generated color ad that design editor Kenneth Norwood produced to solicit contributions for New Voices, which features students’ literary and artistic submissions. Norwood graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication, print concentration.

Fall 2013 design editor Latasha Smith was awarded second place in “most effective use of graphic design on a single page.” The winning entry was one page of a two-page Arts and Entertainment spread on the film “12 Years a Slave.” Smith’s elaborate design featured a review by staff writer Bianca Moore and a coordinated layout with images from the film and corresponding passages from Solomon Northup’s memoir “Twelve Years a Slave.”

Smith graduated in May with a bachelor of arts in mass communication, public relations concentration.

Managing editor and photographer Eric Craig earned second place in feature photography with his nighttime photo of student Jade Dedeaux as she texts on her phone while walking across campus. The photo accompanied a feature on campus safety. Craig is a junior political science major with a mass communication minor.