The Easterner wins fifth, eighth at convention

By Amy Meyer, Editor-in-Chief

Campus newspaper awarded for print and web edition at national conference in Chicago

The Easterner earned two Associated Collegiate Press awards this year in the categories “Best of Show: Four-Year [Colleges] Weekly Broadsheet” and “Best of Show: Website Enrollment.”

After placing seventh last year in the broadsheet category, this year The Easterner placed fifth. According to Editor-in-Chief Amy Meyer, while the paper has entered the website category in previous years, it has never placed until this year, when it placed eighth. The Easterner website, www.easterneronline.com, which was entered in this year’s competition, was launched in May 2012 by Grant Stancliff and was taken over only this school year by Ben Grant, the new website editor.

“I ultimately chose issue 5 for the comic book Eagle Life section that the crew poured themselves into,” said Meyer. “Aside from that section, [the] news [section] was packed with stories, the opinion section had letters from students and sports had a variety of topics.”

Left to right: Amy Meyer, editor-in-chief; Ben Grant, online editor; Christopher Stuck, managing editor.
Photo Illustration by Evan Sykes

Grace Christiansen, Associated Collegiate Press’s content and critique coordinator, said that judging criteria for collegiate news websites includes many of the same criteria as for printed newspapers, such as design and writing; but for websites judges also look at usability, engagement, which is how many reader responses are posted and how quickly they are answered, frequency of updates and other web-related metrics.

“People stop me all the time on campus and say, ‛I’ve read The Easterner for the last 20 years and I’ve never seen such a good Easterner,’” said Bill Stimson, professor of journalism and faculty adviser.  “I’m used to the idea that it’s a superior paper.” Journalism professor and faculty adviser Jamie Neely added, “I think it’s really obvious from the [award] that [staff members] are doing their job well.”

The Associated Collegiate Press holds this annual competition to recognize outstanding collegiate journalism in its member media, recognizing student websites, newspapers, top stories and more. This year’s convention was held in Chicago. About 2,500 people from across the country working in collegiate journalism attended this year’s convention, with about 430 entries in the Best of Show category alone, according to the Associated Collegiate Press website. A little over 100 of all the entries were awarded prizes.

Awards aren’t the only reason why The Easterner staff attends the convention each year. Educational breakout sessions help The Easterner staff members to improve their work and learn new skills.

Eagle Life section editor Al Stover, who has gone to the convention for three years, said, “Out of all of them, this one … was the most beneficial to me. It lit a professional fire in me.”

Sports editor Josh Friesen concurred: “I’m looking forward to implementing some of the new ideas [I learned] to make this great paper even better.”

Meyer concluded, “This team works hard. They show up early and stay late. They make corrections with humility, but they also debate topics fearlessly. I’m just so blessed to be surrounded by a group of coworkers that care so much about what they do. I think it shows in print, even when we make mistakes. They’re constantly talking and thinking about how to improve the product and how to be better coaches.”

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