The Orion Wins Ninth National Pacemaker; Newspaper Inducted Into Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame

Nov. 4, 2005students reading the Orion

California State University, Chico’s student newspaper, The Orion, has again swept top honors at the 2005 National College Media Convention, while gaining induction into the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame for its record of achievement.

The Orion won its ninth National Pacemaker award—widely considered the top prize for general excellence in college journalism—Saturday, Oct. 29, at the 84th annual convention attended by about 2,400 college journalists. On Sunday, the  CSU, Chico paper also won the first-place trophy for Best of Show for  weekly university broadsheets after submitting its Oct. 19, 2005, issue.  The sweep of both the Pacemaker and the Best of Show awards marked a  repeat of The Orion’s performance at the 2004 National College Media  Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The paper’s Hall of Fame induction  was in recognition of its nine National Pacemakers as well as the 15 times  it has been a Pacemaker finalist. The most recent Pacemaker—for work during the 2004-05 academic year—was The Orion’s third in a row. The Orion also won three straight Pacemakers in the mid-1990s.

“Winning these big awards never gets old,” said Orion adviser Dave Waddell. “Taken together, they show that Chico State’s students are consistently doing great journalism—past with the Hall of Fame, recent past with the Pacemaker, and currently with the Best of Show. Next year we’ll be going  for an unprecedented fourth straight Pacemaker as the big fall convention  moves to St. Louis.”

This year’s Pacemaker judging was done by  journalists from the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn., and The Associated  Press in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

Accepting the weekend  awards on behalf of the Orion staff were Managing Editor Becky Regan of  Laguna Niguel and Art Director Ashley Thorpe of Chico.

“The judges call the Pacemaker the Pulitzer Prize for college newspapers, but I like to think of it as winning the World Series of college newspapers, and The Orion swept,” Regan said. “To win Best in Show on top of that was unexpected and unforgettable. There is not a higher honor.”

Kristina Seward was managing editor and Greg Traverso was art director during fall semester 2004, while Scott Jason was managing editor and Eric Ball was art director during spring 2005.

Seward is  now education reporter for The Modesto Bee, and Traverso is a graphic  artist for the Alameda Newspaper Group in Pleasanton. Jason, a part-time  reporter for the Chico Enterprise-Record, is finishing his final semester  at CSU, Chico.

In addition to the Pacemaker and Best of Show  awards, The Orion has captured a slew of state, regional and national  awards. In October, the Society of Professional Journalists selected The  Orion as the nation’s best university weekly.

The Orion, founded in 1975, is a student-managed newspaper of Chico State’s nationally accredited department of journalism.

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