When Kaylie McLaughlin, junior in journalism and Collegian editor-in-chief, began her K-State journey in fall 2017, she anticipated only writing one article — maybe a few — for the Kansas State Collegian, as her main area of study is broadcast. However, her involvement in the student newspaper snowballed into serving as the assistant news editor, news editor, and current editor-in-chief of the Collegian. This year, McLaughlin’s efforts as a student journalist have been recognized by the Kansas Collegiate Media association with one of its top honors: 2020 Journalist of the Year.
“It was kind of weird,” McLaughlin said. “Journalism isn’t a thing where you do things to win an award — you don’t go out of your way to do a story or be a good editor because you want to be recognized for it. You do it because that’s your calling and you want to do it.”
To date, McLaughlin has bylines on 288 Collegian articles and has edited hundreds of her peers’ stories. McLaughlin has reported on the evolving COVID-19 situation in Riley County, provided continuous coverage on student government matters, written about Title IX lawsuits and much more.
Though she still has her eyes on a future career in broadcast journalism, McLaughlin credits her work at the Collegian for opening up opportunities like her internship with the Wichita Eagle in the summer of 2019 and her upcoming summer job with the Shawnee Mission Post.
“It’s opened up the doors to a lot of other opportunities for me beyond what I envisioned for myself,” McLaughlin said. “It’s definitely made me a better journalist, and it’s made me a better broadcast journalist I would say, too, because I have the basics now that support the other things that I want to be doing.”
McLaughlin’s recognition comes along with all three Collegian Media Group publications — the Collegian, Manhappenin’ Magazine and the Royal Purple Yearbook — earning Gold All-Kansas honors. Several CMG contributors earned individual Kansas Collegiate Media awards for writing, design, photography and social media storytelling.