Orion Student Newspaper Wins Honors

November 4, 2005

Journalist Students

The Orion has been named the best university newspaper in California for 2004 by the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA), continuing an outstanding run of honors for California State University, Chico's student newspaper. Orion advisor Dave Waddell said it was the eighth top CNPA award the newspaper had won over the past 11 years. No other university paper has won the first-place award more than four times.

The Orion's winning entry was three consecutive issues from the fall 2004 semester. Second place this year went to UC San Diego's paper, The Guardian.

The announcement came July 9 at the CNPA's 117th annual convention in San Francisco.

The CNPA's Better Newspapers Contest is an annual newsroom competition recognizing the most outstanding journalistic achievements published by California newspapers. A panel of nine judges from outside the state pick the first- and second-place finishers after all entries are initially judged by California publishers, editors and reporters. The CNPA is a trade organization representing more than 500 California newspapers.

CSU, Chico alumna and Modesto Bee reporter Kristina Seward was The Orion managing editor in fall 2004. "When I was managing editor, I discovered The Orion's collection of 30-plus major awards sitting in three dusty cardboard boxes," she said. "I took it upon myself to create an 'awards wall' in our newsroom for everyone to enjoy. I know first-hand the hard work students put into that paper, and it's no surprise that The Orion has earned this latest distinction. I'm just sad that I can't celebrate with the staff, and be there when they add yet another plaque to our Wall of Fame," Seward said.

Alumnus Greg Traverso, graphic artist for the Alameda Newspaper Group in Pleasanton, was The Orion art director in fall 2004 and spearheaded a redesign of the paper. "A lot of long hours and teamwork went into the redesign, and it's exciting to see this version of The Orion recognized for its excellence," he said.

Comments by the CNPA contest judges about The Orion were, "Very good sectioning, impressive covers in design, well done calendar presentations. Complete informational packaging, great local columnists, and overall a very strong effort."

The CNPA award adds to a banner year for The Orion, one of the country's most honored student newspapers. In June, The Orion won first place in General Newspaper Excellence for non-daily newspapers in the California College Media Competition. In May, the paper won the Mark of Excellence National Award for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Last fall, The Orion won its second straight and eighth overall national Pacemaker award from the Associated Collegiate Press-an award that has been called "the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism"-and was named the nation's best university newspaper by the National Newspaper Association. It also took first place in best of show for university weeklies at the National College Media Convention.

"I would say this was the best single academic year for The Orion in terms of winning awards, which is saying quite a lot given our history," said Waddell. "It's a tribute to a remarkable group of students who understand the value of teamwork."

The Orion, founded in 1975, is a laboratory newspaper of CSU, Chico's nationally accredited Department of Journalism.