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The Central Florida Future was recognized for its breaking news coverage at the Better Weekly Newspaper Contest Friday.

The UCF student-run paper took home three awards, including first place for Breaking News Story, first place for Feature Story: Non-profile and second place for Online Breaking News Coverage.

When news broke of American journalist Steven Sotloff's capture, former Editor-in-Chief Ryan Gillespie, then Copy Editor Danielle Hendrix and then News Editor Caroline Glenn worked to contact university officials and the former UCF student's college roommate. Sotloff was also a former Future senior staff writer.

"It just adds another layer to it for us I guess, as far as a really close, personal connection," said Gillespie, who placed second for his breaking news piece on Sotloff's beheading by ISIS.

Of this article, the Florida Press Association, which presented the awards, lauded Gillespie for his ability to show readers what kind of life Sotloff led.

"Gillespie did an exceptional job reporting and writing about this tragic, gruesome death ... " the Association wrote.

Former digital producer Bernard Wilchusky was also recognized for his feature on the monthly Escape Fetish and Costume Party in Downtown Orlando.

The Association praised Wilchusky for his fascinating peek into a world few know anything about.

" ... It still takes guts for a community newspaper to tackle a tricky subject like this," the Association wrote.

Owned by Gannett and a property of FLORIDA TODAY, the Future puts out a weekly tab on Thursdays and maintains a daily website at UCFNews.com.

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