Monday, November 5, 2012

Getting back on pace

Students from The Orion were honored in several categories this past weekend at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in Chicago, but the paper was shut out in the national Pacemaker contest despite being a finalist in both the newspaper and website competitions.

Congratulations to:

Lindsay Smith and Liam Turner for the full-page layout of a feature about Facebook. The judges said: "It's very easy to fall short on a concept like this, but the Orion executed it perfectly."

Tercius Bufete, who won an honorable mention as a newspaper designer.

Sarah Bohannon, an honorable mention in feature writing for her story "Flying Blind."

Aaron Draper, honorable mention for an environmental portrait that featured women's basketball players.

The Orion's traditionally strong local reporting didn't get a single mention. Winners for the 2011-2012 story of the year and reporter of the year were mostly large, dramatic pieces about things like scandals  (Joe Paterno), campus suicide and natural disasters. Covering a campus well is rewarded with the Pacemakers, for which The Orion was a finalist but not a winner.

Judges for the Pacemakers are different from year to year, and what they like changes. Here's a graphic representation of what they said about this year's dozen winners in the four-year college, non-daily division.

I think The Orion's strategy for getting back in the winner's circle next year is to think about how the paper could be more of the things represented by the larger (which means most frequent) words in this Wordle. To see what the judges were looking at, take a look at the ISSUU versions of these winning papers and compare what they're doing to what The Orion is doing.

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