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KSPA congratulates Monte Moser on 2023 KSPA Hall of Fame Award

In recognition of his 33 years of service to Kansas student journalists, Monte Moser, former publications adviser at Garden City High School, has earned the KSPA Hall of Fame Award. 

Moser’s family and friends surprised him with a presentation in April 2023. He will be invited to join the KSPA State Celebration on May 6 in Lawrence to be presented with a plaque and be recognized by KSPA members.

In 1995, KSPA became the first state organization to create a Scholastic Journalism Hall of Fame in order to honor its own excellent members. Today, 38 names have been added to the permanent Hall of Fame plaque that hangs in the KSPA office in KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism.

The KSPA Hall of Fame was begun as a way of honoring members and friends of high school journalism in Kansas who have contributed to the profession both at the state and national levels. The nominee will be judged on the following criteria: 1) Noteworthy service to KSPA and to the education of student journalists; 2) Outstanding personal achievement in student journalism; 3) Contribution to the field of student journalism. 

Monte Moser 

Moser was nominated by his daughter Megan Moser, who is now the executive editor of the Manhattan Mercury. 

Here are some words of nomination from Megan Moser: 

For 33 years, Monte Moser was the adviser of The Sugar Beet, the newspaper at Garden City High School. The publication was founded in1910, shortly after the construction of a sugar plant in town, so it is named for the region’s main cash crop at the time. During Mr. Moser’s tenure that newspaper was one of the only (possibly the only) true high school weeklies in Kansas.

In the spring of 1993, Mr. Moser’s newspaper staff was dealing with criticism for some stories it had published. As a response, the staff decided to print a blank April Fool’s Day edition with just those two words. The stunt caught the attention of the Associated Press, and a brief story about it appeared in a number of papers, including USA Today, The Baltimore Sun and The Manhattan Mercury, where I am now the executive editor (clipping attached). It was also mentioned in “Death by Cheeseburger,” a 1994 book about high school journalism by the Freedom Forum. Mr. Moser didn’t seek controversy by any means, but he did take seriously his role, which was, in part, to help students use their voices and teach them to do so responsibly. I believe he did that.

I would know better than most. I was the editor for the 2002-03 school year, but I spent a lot of time in the Sugar Beet room over the years because Mr. Moser is my dad. Throughout my childhood, I hung out during newspaper work nights as often as I was allowed. I killed time by playing on the computer and learning about news. Early on it was Apple II computers and paste-up with rubber cement. Later it was iMacs and InDesign.

Mr. Moser taught not only newspaper but also intro to journalism, yearbook and photography. For a time, he also advised a literary magazine called Southwest Review. His classes drew a diverse group of students who were allowed to explore their interests, whether those were photojournalism, comics, writing, design or ad sales. In his classes, they learned skills that would help them no matter what field they chose for a career. A few more things to highlight Mr. Moser’s involvement and his promotion of student journalism:

  • He took students to KSPA events for decades — usually the fall conference at K-State as well as competitions. When he took kids to K-State, where he studied journalism education, his favorite thing was to take them to the Collegian newsroom in the evening to watch the college kids “put the paper to bed.”
  • He took students every other year to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Conference in New York, where he was a speaker.
  • The Sugar Beet won gold and silver crowns and medals from CSPA several times.
  • The year I was editor, we published 36 eight-page broadsheet issues (one for every week we had at least one day of school) as well as four full-color special sections for events like prom. Most years, the staff published 30-32 issues. Given how rare it is for a high school to have a true weekly, I think it’s possible he’s published more issues than any other adviser.
  • Many of his students became working journalists and journalism teachers, though he was just as proud of those who pursued other career paths. Former students have worked at National Geographic, Women’s Day and Maxim, The Dallas Morning News,The Wichita Eagle and The Garden City Telegram. Two work at The Manhattan Mercury. Several went into ag communications. A couple became journalism teachers. But he’s just as proud of the ones who pursued other paths.
  • He helped Holcomb High School start its own newspaper in the early 2000s, teaching Adobe and newspaper fundamentals to a student-led group that wanted to start a publication.
  • He is very tech-savvy and was an early adopter for media like websites and podcasts.

My dad retired in 2015, and a bunch of students got together through our Sugar Beet Alumni Facebook group to make a special newspaper dedicated to him. We had it printed at The Mercury and surprised him with it at his retirement party, which was attended by former students from 1988 to 2015. I’m including a PDF of that document here. I am certainly biased, but I hope you’ll see that he made an impression on many kids over more than three decades of teaching. Mr. Moser has never been one to seek awards, but he deserves recognition for his contributions to journalism education.

The selection committee provided these words in response to Moser’s nomination:

For 33 years, Monte Moser helped the students of Garden City High School find their voices, explore their passions and pursue their interests in writing, photography, advertising and design. A tech-savvy teacher, Moser was an early adopter of web publishing and podcasting. He embraced opportunities to learn and help others by taking students to KSPA and CSPA conventions where his students garnered several awards including Gold and Silver Crowns.

The KSPA board and staff congratulate Monte Moser for his well-deserved place on the KSPA Hall of Fame plaque!


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