2004-2005 News Archives

The Orion's best year ever

The Orion has been named the best university newspaper in California for 2004 by the California Newspaper Publishers Association continuing an outstanding run of honors for Chico State's student newspaper.

The Orion adviser Dave Waddell said it was the eighth top CNPA award the newspaper had won during 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 went to UC San Diego's paper, The Guardian. The announcement came July 9, 2005, at the CNPA's 117th annual convention in San Francisco.

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.

In fall 2004, 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," Waddell said. "It's a tribute to a remarkable group of students who understand the value of teamwork."

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.

Chico State 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."

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 Orion, founded in 1975, is a laboratory newspaper of Chico State's nationally accredited journalism department.

The Orion takes 8th Pacemaker Award

NASHVILLE--The Orion, has won its eighth National Pacemaker award--widely considered the top prize for general excellence in college journalism.

The award was presented at the 83rd annual National College Media Convention. Held at Nashville's Renaissance hotel, the convention attracted more than 2,600 college journalists from throughout the United States and Canada.

In announcing this year's winners, Rolnicki noted that the National Pacemaker is often referred to as "the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism." The staff of the Nashville Tennessean newspaper did the judging for this year's Pacemaker. The Orion's entry included one issue from fall 2003 and three issues from spring 2004.

In addition to the Pacemaker plaque, The Orion received the first-place trophy in the Best of Show competition as the convention's top university weekly broadsheet. Forty other newspapers entered that category, with second place going to the Old Gold and Black at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and third place to The Breeze at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

"To my knowledge, this was the first time in the same year that The Orion has won both the national Pacemaker and finished first in Best of Show at college journalism's biggest event," said Dave Waddell, who has been The Orion's faculty adviser for nine years. "It's a sweep that reflects the commitment and dedication of students current and past."

Orion Managing Editor Kristina Seward of Hilmar accepted the two awards on behalf of The Orion staff. "It gives us a boost to know that we're the best at what we do, and that we're setting the pace of college journalism," Seward said. "This award makes us even more proud to be part of The Orion and its tradition of excellence."

The paper's art director, Greg Traverso of Chico, who also attended the convention, spearheaded a re-design of The Orion during the summer. "The awards are a tribute to the hard work and cooperation of the entire staff," Traverso said. "We work as a team, and we're very proud of our newspaper."

Melody Gutierrez of Twentynine Palms was managing editor in fall 2003, and Sarah Schaale of Sacramento held that post in spring 2004. Jessie Gardner of Reno was art director both semesters. Gutierrez is now a staff writer for The Sacramento Bee.

The Orion has been a Pacemaker finalist 14 times since 1989. The national award this year was its second straight and eighth overall.

In addition to the Pacemaker awards, The Orion has captured a slew of state, regional and national awards. In September, the National Newspaper Association named The Orion the nation's best university newspaper.

The Orion, founded in 1975, is a laboratory newspaper of Chico State's nationally accredited department of journalism.

The Orion tops in nation

DENVER -- For the third time in five years, The Orion, Chico State's student newspaper, has been named the nation's best college newspaper by the National Newspaper Association.

The Orion was awarded first place for general excellence in the college and university division of NNA's 2004 Better Newspapers Contest. Judges lauded the Chico State weekly, which was honored for three issues published in 2003.

"Excellent paper," the judges wrote. "Diverse, effective coverage. Crisp writing .... The design is clean, purposeful and smart."

Second place went to The Metropolitan of Metropolitan State College of Denver. The Orion also took first place honors in the NNA contest in 2000 and 2002, before finishing second to The Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin in 2003.

The winners were announced Sept. 17, 2004, at the conclusion of the NNA's 118th annual convention at Denver's Adam's Mark Hotel. They will be recognized in a special October issue of the NNA publication Publishers' Auxiliary. Kristina Seward, managing editor of The Orion, attended the convention and accepted the award.

"I didn't realize what kind of conference this was until I got to the awards reception," Seward said. "It was all professional people, like publishers and editors. Š I was by far the youngest person there."

Seward, 20, a senior journalism major from Hilmar, said it was "an honor" to be able to represent Chico State and its newspaper.

"Knowing all the hard work the staff puts into the paper each week, this kind of recognition only makes us want to try harder to continue being the best at what we do," she said. "This award means we're No. 1 of the nation's college papers, and that's something to be proud of."

Dave Waddell, the paper's faculty adviser, said The Orion's performance in the NNA contest attests to its consistent quality.

"When it comes to this contest, I guess we own the even numbered years," Waddell said. "That this recognition comes from the largest professional newspaper organization in the country makes it an especially nice honor."

Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association calls itself the national voice of community newspapers. NNA represents owners, publishers, and editors of America's community newspapers and, with about 3,200 members, is the largest newspaper association in the United States. Jennifer Cooper of Joshua Tree was Orion managing editor during the spring 2003 semester, while Melody Gutierrez of Twentynine Palms held that position in fall 2003. Jessie Gardner of Reno was the paper's art director both semesters. Gutierrez is now a staff writer for The Sacramento Bee.

Meanwhile, The Orion also learned this month that it is a finalist for its eighth national newspaper Pacemaker award, which has been dubbed "the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism." Pacemaker winners will be announced in November during the National College Media Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The Orion, first published in 1975, is a laboratory newspaper of Chico State's department of journalism.