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The Cadet's remarkable journey

Winning the Virginia Press Association Award and using Presteligence's My News 360 Suite


In the world of journalism, recognition from prestigious organizations is a testament to a newspaper's dedication to their profession and community. The Cadet, a student newspaper published by cadets at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), achieved a remarkable feat when it was honored with the Virginia Press Association Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service.

Presteligence spoke with The Cadet publisher, Bob Morris, for insight into the significance of this accomplishment, not only for the newspaper but also for the VMI community. Furthermore, we explore how Presteligence's My News 360 played a crucial role in facilitating the telling of The Cadet’s story.

The Cadet's Journey and Community Impact:

Early in May of 2023, the cadets behind The Cadet were filled with pride and humbled when, in addition to winning several other awards that day, they received the prestigious Virginia Press Association Award. Not only did The Cadet win, but in the Virginia Press Association’s 75 years of presenting the award, it was the first time that a student newspaper had won.

As students running a newspaper in a military school, they faced unique challenges and risks, given the potential impact of their reporting on their careers. However, they exhibited courage and determination to report with integrity and balance, especially on sensitive and controversial topics like diversity, equity and inclusion.

"… It is important to note that they are the ones that have editorial control of the paper. They run the newspaper and, as you can imagine, they were both proud and humbled by the recognition that they received. It is important for them, from the perspective that students running student newspapers are under a lot more pressure."

Bob Morris, publisher, The Cadet

The recognition from Virginia Governor Youngkin further highlighted the newspaper's impact, not just within VMI but also in the wider community. The cadet's dedication to fair and inclusive reporting resonated with readers and established them as contributors to a vital historical record for the institution, chronicling its evolution over the years.


The Cadet Foundation and Newspaper. "Virginia Governor Youngkin recognizes The Cadet at the 2023 VMI Commencement." YouTube, 16 May 2023, Accessed 5 July 2023.


Selection Process and the Significance of the Awards:

To be considered for the Virginia Press Association Awards, a newspaper must be a member of the association. Competing against more than 170 publications, including prominent ones like The Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Cadet's accomplishments highlighted the caliber of student journalists and their ability to compete at the highest level.

An interesting aspect of these awards is the impartial judging process. Judges from other states are selected to ensure objectivity and fairness. The winners are revealed only during the awards ceremony, creating an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation.


The Cadet Foundation and Newspaper. "The Cadet - Virginia Press Association Award for Journalistic Integrity and community Service – 2023." YouTube, 11 May 2023, Accessed 5 July 2023.

"It really is a credit to student journalists that they can compete against these big newspapers. ... At the dinner, they announced the top awards which included the Journalistic Integrity and Community Service award. So, no one knows who will win that award until the actual dinner. It really was a surprise and there was great anticipation."

Bob Morris, publisher, The Cadet

The Cadet's Resurgence:

The newspaper had a storied history, producing notable journalists and acting as a bellwether for VMI. However, it ceased publication in 2016, prompting a group of alumni to collaborate with current cadets in 2021. With his experience in newspaper publishing and being a former cadet himself, Morris has helped facilitate and explore ways to support and modernize the newspaper.

"Four cadets got together in May of 2021, and wanted to restart the paper and we got some alumni together to facilitate them.  ... We help with a lot of logistics support and help them to do research and find areas to do stories. We give them training and things like that. But they run everything there as far as writing the articles and having editorial control. So that is how we got into it."

Bob Morris, publisher, The Cadet

My News 360: Empowering Student Journalists:

In their efforts to modernize the publication, The Cadet found Presteligence's My News 360 hosted suite of applications, which enabled cadets to work collaboratively on the newspaper remotely. The Cadet took advantage of My News 360’s Content Management System, E-Edition and Dynamic Production. They also utilized Presteligence’s capabilities to build their website which is linked directly to the My News 360 Content Management System.

The Content Management System provides a means to manage all their content. Stories can be created and edited from the built-in story editor. Images, videos and tags can then easily be added directly to the story editor, or from the editor's menu system. Dynamic Production allows the cadets to create, edit and layout newspaper pages from anywhere on the VMI campus. The software's ease of use and continuous development made it an asset for the publication.

"The experience has been great because I think what a lot of people do not understand is these cadets writing this newspaper do not have an office. They have no facilities whatsoever at VMI, so they are building the newspaper on laptops from the library or in their rooms — connected to me — connected to. And it really has been a lifesaver, because when they do the layout sessions, and they have a problem at midnight where suddenly there is a glitch or something, they get the support to do it.

They can build the paper dynamically. It is easy to train people on. It is continually evolving, which is another thing for us, and the ability to embed video and upload files. Things like that have really been tremendous for the paper because now not only can they report on things, but they can upload documents so that people can see their own references, they can link the videos that are in there. I cannot say enough good things about it."

Bob Morris, publisher, The Cadet

Integration with the E-Edition:

With the E-Edition via My News On The Go as part of the My News 360 suite, it further amplified the newspaper's impact. The integration allowed for automatic online publication of the paper, granting alumni, parents and readers worldwide access to the publication's historical record. The archive feature became an invaluable resource for subscribers, fostering engagement and interest in the newspaper's content.

"What really helps us is that once the paper is published, it automatically goes online. One of the challenges that student newspapers have and that the cadets had over the years was trying to get access to the paper for a large alumni base and parents. They can access it from anywhere.

The archive feature is fantastic. What we have taken to doing is when people buy a subscription, they get access, and we back date the subscription for the year. And we found a lot of people really like the ability to go back into the archives that are in My News On The Go.

It makes it extremely easy to put out the articles on Facebook and social media. One feature that is particularly good is in the CMS where you write the summary of the article that then goes directly into My News On The Go. Well, what the cadets do is they take each one of those summaries and the link to My News On The Go and they put them out as individual social media postings. So, it makes it easy to go out and put each story out on social media like Facebook and Instagram. And if people click it, they immediately go to the My News On The Go site."

Bob Morris, publisher, The Cadet

The Future of The Cadet with Presteligence:

Looking ahead, The Cadet aims to leverage its success to attract more subscribers, sponsors and donors to ensure the newspaper's continued success and relevance. Additionally, they plan to establish a symposium to share their experiences with other student newspapers in Virginia, introducing them to the capabilities and support Presteligence offers.

"I think that the focus going forward is trying to leverage the success they have had and get it out there. Get more visibility of the paper, get more subscribers, get more folks that are willing to sponsor advertising or, you know, donate that make a tax donation to the paper to help them keep it going. Because like I say, a lot of have shut down, including at the service academies.

And then the second piece is to set up, with other student newspapers starting out in Virginia, a student newspaper conference or symposium where they can get them and exchange ideas and then give them visibility of some of the capabilities that are out there like what Presteligence brings to the table and others because a number of these student newspapers really struggle. They do not have the experience because they do not know these capabilities are out there to help them."

Bob Morris, publisher, The Cadet

The Cadet's recognition by the Virginia Press Association stands as a testament to the dedication, integrity and hard work of the student journalists at VMI. With Presteligence's My News 360 as their innovative ally, the cadets have succeeded in creating a historical record that not only impacts the VMI community but also serves as a guiding light for aspiring student journalists across Virginia and beyond.

Learn more about My News 360 and its suite of applications.


Learn more about The Cadet and their story.


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