Knightly News wins another statewide journalism award

Man with beard and glasses

By Michael Lear-Olimpi

Knightly News Editor and Co-Adviser

The Knightly News has won second place in sports photography for student publications at Pennsylvania colleges or universities with fewer than 10,000 students.

It is the sixth time in five years that The Knightly News has won a Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Keystone Media Awards honor.

Recent corporate communications graduate Dylan Bowman won the second-place prize in this year’s student contest for his photograph of Central Penn baseball player Angel Mercado-Ocasio springing into the air, legs and arms spread wide, to catch a throw as a player from Williamson Trade slid in to steal second base.

This is Bowman’s second consecutive win – in the same category, and also for a baseball photo, and also against Williamson.

Bittersweet memories

The play in last year’s game, for which Bowman won this year’s prize, happened in the first game of a doubleheader at FNB Field, on City Island, Harrisburg, on March 31. The Knights shut Williamson out in both games, closing the second 14-0, in five innings. (See “Stellar pitching and hitting lead Knights to victories over Williamson Trade.”)

student in maroon and orange on white baseball uniform and baseball cap and glove jumping with arms up and spread and legs spread out to catch a baseball. Umpire in black and player in yellow jersey with black numbers sliding on ground, lower right
This year’s winning photo, from a game against Williamson Trade in early 2023. Angel Mercado-Ocasio, left, jumps for a catch as a Williamson player steals second. Photo by Dylan Bowman

Mercado-Ocasio,19, died less than two months later from head injuries he sustained when a temporary dugout he and other members of a Harrisburg baseball team on which he played collapsed while they were disassembling it in a Harrisburg park.

His death shook and deeply saddened the team and the Central Penn and wider community. The college held a celebration of Mercado-Ocasio’s life and planted a tree in his honor in the campus quad.

Blacvk and white photo of smiling light-haired young man

“It was an amazing honor to win a second award from the PNA, especially for one of my favorite baseball photos,” Bowman said. “Furthermore, I feel it is a great memorial to the late player in the photograph, Angel, who, although I didn’t know very well in my brief time at Central Penn, I had met and got to photograph him at games. I look forward to continuing to capture moments like this one that leave a lasting impression on the Central Penn Community, even as an alumni and freelancer, for as long as the college will have me.”

Although Bowman graduated in December 2022, he was still The Knightly News sports photographer in April 2023, before commencement, and met contest eligibility, PNA said. He continues to photograph Knights home games, in a partnership with The Knightly News and the college.

Central Penn President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams, who is also publisher of The Knightly News, commented on Bowman’s win.

“I’m thrilled that Dylan Bowman and The Knightly News have triumphed in winning the statewide journalism contest for the second consecutive year!” she said. ”Dylan’s captivating photograph capturing our beloved student Angel Mercado-Ocasio’s remarkable catch secured a well-deserved second place. This victory is a testament to the unwavering dedication and exceptional talent of our students and professors Paul Miller and Michael Lear-Olimpi, showcasing the pinnacle of quality and professionalism that the Central Penn College Knightly News brings to our community. Let’s celebrate this extraordinary achievement and continue to inspire excellence in all that we do! Congratulations to all!”

Knightly News co-advsier Paul Miller, assistant professor of media studies, who oversees student reporters who write sports stories and produce livestreams of Central Penn sports matches, said: “It is always an honor to be recognized by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association for the quality of work we do with The Knightly News.  As a group that works tirelessly to provide the most high-quality news to our campus constituents, this award reaffirms the talent of our student reporters. Our sports team works so hard to deliver for the Knights!”

Bowman’s win last year placed first. He captured the photo, titled “The Knights welcome home Steven Armstrong after his mammoth grand slam in Game 1,” during a Knights home game at FNB Field in April 2022 – also during a doubleheader against Williamson Trade that the Knights swept. (See “Dreams do come true as Knights sweep doubleheader at FNB Field.”

Bowman is an independent videographer and photographer. He owns and operates the production company Fellowship Studios, in Halifax. Last summer, he presented his movie “Vintage” on campus in the summer. Bowman, a former president of The Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College, members of which produce written stories, photographs and videos for the blog. Bowman is digital multimedia marketer for Kinsey’s Inc., Mount Joy. (Read Knightly News CPC Film Series Correspondent Nikolai Hogan’s review of “Vintage” and an accompanying film in which Bowman was involved here.)

Varied awards

In 2022, The Knightly News won a PNA Keystone Awards for its 2021 series “Layers of Community” spotlighting diversity among Central Penn faculty and staff. Five student reporters, now all graduates, wrote segments for the series, which was a collaboration by The Knightly News, Fedrizzi-Williams’ Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, and the Institutional Diversity and Equity Committee.

The year before, a story on Duck Donuts CEO Betsy Hamm, who delivered the 2021 Central Penn Business Partner of the Year keynote address, won Knightly News reporter Leslie Heimbaugh honorable mention in the PNA contest (see “Duck Donuts CEO Betsy Hamm to speak at CPC Business Partner of the Year event”). Heimbaugh also was a Knightly News Club president. She and media-club co-adviser Paul Miller that year also shared honors for “Knights at the Movies,” a series of podcasts in which the two discuss flicks and directors.

In 2020, Heimbaugh won a PNA honorable mention for a review she wrote of a Harry Potter movie shown in the 2019 CPC Film Series. The story, “Potter responsible for millennial empathy, Rovan says,” is no longer accessible because of a hacking of The Knightly News blog in early 2021.

Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.