April 20, 2020
Collegian editor-in-chief the 2020 Kansas Collegiate Journalist of the Year
When Kaylie McLaughlin, Kansas State University junior in digital journalism, Shawnee, walked into the Kansas State Collegian newsroom in October 2017, she had no idea she would fall in love with newspapers, edit the paper for three consecutive semesters and be named the 2020 Kansas Collegiate Journalist of the Year.
"My portfolio was video heavy so I wanted to write a little to expand things," McLaughlin said. "Then I stayed."
She remembers when the newsroom first hooked her.
"It was like noontime late October 2017," McLaughlin said. "I was workshopping an article with the news editor. It was my first hard, hard news story. Two days later, I was asked to be her assistant news editor in the spring."
McLaughlin said she stayed at the Collegian in part because she could contribute.
"I stuck around because there were always spaces that needed filled," she said. "I became news editor because someone quit. I became editor and I stayed in that position a long time because there was a need."
That need was never greater than the 2019 fall semester, which started without a faculty adviser for the Collegian, no director of the Collegian Media Group and new professional staff members.
"Kaylie has led the Collegian in a time when full-time leadership has been in flux. It wasn't until the third week of September that an interim director/Collegian adviser was hired, said Linda S. Puntney interim Collegian Media Group director. "She didn't miss a beat and the Collegian didn't miss an issue. It is a fact that Kaylie is almost single-handedly responsible for making certain the Collegian fulfilled its mission to inform the campus and serve as the voice of the students."
Although the print edition of the paper came to a halt this semester because of K-State's limited campus operations, Mclaughlin continues to lead her staff to be on the cutting-edge of reporting, publishing online several times a day. Because of her leadership, the Collegian often has been the first to publish about the impact of COVID-19 on K-State and the surrounding community. She continues to lead her staff despite being at home in the Kansas City area and her staff scattered around the United States.
On April 10, the Kansas Collegiate Media recognized Mclaughlin's work and named her the 2020 Journalist of the Year, an award she appreciates but is surprised to receive.
"The field is super competitive and I was up against a lot of editors who I respect," McLaughlin said. "I was shocked. I think it validates all the insanely difficult work we've been doing and almost makes up for the really hard time we've had this year."
Her involvement with the Collegian didn't diminish her interest in broadcast, and faculty members in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications are quick to cite the work she has done.
"Along with her excellent work with the Collegian, Kaylie is also part of the 'MHK All Day' crew at Channel 8News, where she serves as a reporter and technical director for our shows," said Tom Hallaq, assistant director of the Miller School. "During this time of social distancing, she has been a factor in keeping that show on the air and assisting in figuring out the technology we are now working with.
"One of the reasons she should be recognized as Journalist of the Year is because of her versatility in using different forms of media," Hallaq said. "Kaylie is an excellent example of what we hope for all our students: to be well-rounded in their use of media to tell stories regardless of where they originate."