Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Whitworth's student newspaper wins prestigious Pacemaker Award

Whitworth University's student newspaper, The Whitworthian, has won an Associate Collegiate Press Online Pacemaker Award. Pacemaker awards are considered the most esteemed honors in student journalism.

Roughly 220 schools nationwide participated in the 2009 ACP Online Pacemaker contest. The entries were divided into four categories: four-year daily newspaper, four-year non-daily newspaper, two-year newspaper, and non-newspaper publications. The Whitworthian, which competed against universities as much as four times Whitworth's size, was one of 20 schools named as finalists in the four-year non-daily newspaper category and is the only school from the Pacific Northwest represented in that category. Other finalists for the award included the University of Miami, the University of Missouri, Temple University, Loyola Marymount University and the College of William and Mary.

The Whitworthian also was named a finalist in the print edition category of the awards, making it one of only four non-daily newspapers in the country that was nominated for both the print and online categories. Other print edition finalists included the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vanderbilt University, and Ithaca College.

"The Whitworthian has a record of doing excellent work; last year under the leadership of editor-in-chief Joy Bacon and web editor Jasmine Linabary it reached new levels, and this year's staff is picking up right where last year's left off," says Jim McPherson, associate professor of communication studies and The Whitworthian advisor. "As this latest recognition indicates, the online version has been especially noteworthy, combining text and photos with a variety of multimedia tools such as video, slideshows and interactive timelines."

The newspaper's staff includes 18 editors and roughly 40 reporters, columnists, photographers and graphic designers.

"The editors and staff have worked diligently to create an excellent website and stellar print copies," says Morgan Feddes, editor-in-chief of The Whitworthian. "These awards are proof that our work through the years has paid off, especially online. But we can't stay where we are; the bar has been set, so we need to aim higher."

The contest was judged by Ellyn Angelotti, interactivity editor for the Poynter Institute, a leader in online journalism training and education. Angelotti noted that the top sites displayed excellence in integration of multimedia and user-generated content, navigability, breadth of coverage, clean design, and sound news judgment on the home page.

The awards were announced at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisors National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas, in October.

The Whitworthian website and its print edition also recently were selected to receive Region 10 Mark of Excellence Awards given by the Society of Professional Journalists. In both 2008 and 2007, The Whitworthian took third place in the Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper category in the Region 10 Mark of Excellence Awards. In fall 2007, The Whitworthian won third place in "Best of Show" in the four-year weekly tabloids category at the 86th annual Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisors National College Media Convention. In spring 2007, the newspaper won the top award in the Inland Northwest Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists 2006 Excellence in Journalism Competition.

Contacts:

Jim McPherson, associate professor of communication studies and The Whitworthian advisor, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4429 or jmcpherson@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.