Monday, March 3, 2014

CCMA Awards: Judges' comments

Here are judges' comments about awards The Orion won in the 2013 California College Media Association contest:

General Excellence - 1st place
"The news content in the Orion is strong. The paper attempts to move the needle and goes after things like a bad police chief, problems for Chico police, unsolved sexual assaults, as well as smaller issues like lice. It had true enterprise, and some of its watchdog work is “breaking” thanks to its reporting. Strong sourcing distinguished several of these stories and the excellent use of graphics helped break out critical information. Its Opinion pages are extremely strong. Masterful cartoons/illustrations combined with a nice, heavy font give the pages a distinctly professional look and feel. The editorial writing lives up to the design with clear, often strongly worded pieces on relevant topics that are often covered in the news section. Personal columnists take some interesting angles – like suggesting that arresting a student for being drunk in public is less effective than sending him home to sleep. The Sports section had nice variety with some enterprise on the grueling schedule of a cross-country runner, the athletic department’s new social media strategy, and an outside the-box sport called “slacking.” The basketball preview page is also a nice service to readers. This is also a well-designed paper with effective use of fonts and excellent use of space. Nothing here is oversized. There were a few places the paper stumbled with clich├ęd writing, recurring features that miss the mark, and stories that read like press releases, but these were exceptions to an otherwise solid publication."
Overall design - 3rd place
"Strong typography and headline hierarchy work well with visuals throughout the sections."
Breaking News Story - 2nd place - Pedro Quintana
"Police arrest Chico man on suspicion of sexual assault, kidnappings"
"Compelling lede, lots of original reporting, also added safety tips and info to make it more forward-looking and useful to readers."
Editorial - 2nd place
No comments.

Sports Story - 1st place - Nick Woodard
"Sights Set on Rio"
"Using an informative yet simple writing style, this story of a blind runner tells itself in a way that keeps you reading. The writer had an uncanny ability to answer each and every question you might have at the exact moment you would ask it. The story also avoids the total feel-good atmosphere some writers might try for by pointing out the discrimination and other non-visual difficulties that can crop up. There are just the right number of voices in the story to tell a tale that is smart in its brevity but long on insight and information."
Photo Illustration - 2nd place - Logan Missner, Jessica Amaro and Scott Ledbetter
"Downhill Daredevil"
"Good use of photography, strong display type with good informational insets. A high impact illustration."

Sports Page Design - 1st place - Scott Ledbetter and Jessica Amaro
Downhill Daredevil
"Fun, energetic page (judge stopped to read it!). This is what makes a page successful: You stop, notice it, and read it."

Headline Writing - 2nd place - Brett Appley
"Especially liked: @ChicoState uses power of #socialmedia to connect fans, school sports."
Infographic - 1st place - Robert Harris and Scott Ledbetter
"Covered California"
"In a world where hardly anyone understands the new health-care coverage brought on by Obamacare, this weekly student paper created a flow chart to help explain just what students need to know or do to be covered. A wonderful idea and brilliantly written. I wish I had thought of doing this. Superb work."
Cartoon - 1st place - Liz Coffee
"Dangers on Drunken Students"
"A strong "Scared Straight"-style public service message. Holds students accountable for the consequences of their behavior."

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