Former Boyne City Gazette sports columnist Kevin Lange—now studying at Michigan State University—has been named “Best Sports Columnist” in the 2015 Michigan Press Association Better Newspaper Contest for a Class D Weekly or Specialty Newspaper.
Lange wrote numerous editions of his column Game On for the Boyne City Gazette over the years.
“It’s a tremendous honor to have my work shed in that light,” Kevin told the Boyne City Gazette.
“At first, I’d always seen writing columns as more of a hobby than anything else. But, my weekly column … gradually sort of took on a life of its own.
And, the next thing I knew, being the city’s sports columnist was sort of my persona to anyone in the community who didn’t know me.”
He added, “Being able to analyze or give my two cents on off-the-field news in sports was always something that interested me, and I liked being able to have the freedom to blend that with my own creative twist.”
Over the last year, Kevin has transitioned to the marketing side of media. And, this semester, he has been working as the advertising manager for The Black Sheep, the nation’s leading collegiate media source, which operates on more than 50 campuses, with Michigan State’s branch being the most popular.
“I’ve always kept in the back of my mind how important column writing was to me,” Kevin said. “A lot of people probably thought I gave up on a talent I had when I changed career paths, but I see it as a platform to get where I am now. If I hadn’t put everything I had into my weekly sports column for two years, I wouldn’t have won the number of awards I’d won, and I wouldn’t have been able to land a job that helped me land the job I have now.”
He added, “If Chris Faulknor … hadn’t taken a chance on some 16-year-old—who was overly persistent to show the public his work—I can guarantee I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. I can’t be grateful enough for that opportunity.”
Boyne City Gazette Publisher Chris Faulknor thanked Kevin for his time working with Boyne City’s local news source and noted the young man’s remarkable level of ambition.
“This is a guy who started with us while he was still in high school, and he’s won awards alongside people who have been writing all of their lives,” said Faulknor. “It not only shows that he has a flair for writing, but an unbridled passion for sports.”
He added, “I give him two big thumbs up from a newspaper glad to have had him for as long as we did, and wish him the best in his career.”
Kevin’s parents were understandably proud to learn of their son’s accomplishment.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Kevin’s father Mike Lange. “We’re very proud of him. He’s always had a very strong drive to understand sports and to report out on it, and he’s a goal-driven kid. He figures out what he wants to do and he strives for it.”
He added, “He now works for the MSU athletic department. So, he’s taken his writing skills and obvious drive for reporting on sports to the next level. His major is now sports marketing. So, he’s taken that to a different level as well.”
Kevin’s mother Rachel Lange said her son has never been afraid to put himself into a challenging situation and learn as he goes.
“He’s a go-getter and he’s always been that way,” she said. “He’s self-driven—he doesn’t need us to prod him along. Even when he went to (the Boyne City Gazette) for the job, he told us after the fact: ‘It’s not ‘should I do this,’ it’s ‘this is what I did.’”
Rachel added, “Kevin has been writing stories since he was old enough to spell. So, it was a natural progression for his love of writing to blend with his love of sports.”
This year’s newspaper and advertising contest saw 3,833 entries submitted by 113 Michigan newspapers of all sizes and types in categories from news and sports to food and features, advertisements and special sections.