A VMI student newspaper won a major prize. But now there are questions.


When the Virginia Press Association handed out its annual journalism awards in early May, the big winner was a little college newspaper. The Cadet, produced by students at the Virginia Military Institute, took home the top prize — for “Journalistic Integrity and Community Service” — for editorials and articles about the school’s contentious diversity issues.

The Cadet was the first student paper to win the integrity prize in the 75 years since the association started awarding it. Making its victory all the sweeter was the fact that the paper, moribund since 2016, had just been revived in 2021 as an independent publication.

But what started out as a story of young amateurs beating the pros has taken on new coloring in the weeks since the Cadet’s editors received a standing ovation at the awards banquet.

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