CSU, Chico News

The Orion Wins 11th National Pacemaker Award for Journalistic Excellence

Date: 11-06-2009

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Dave Waddell
Department of Journalism

The Orion, California State University, Chico’s student newspaper, has won the National Pacemaker Award, widely considered the highest honor in college journalism, for an 11th time.

Pacemaker winners were announced Oct. 31 at the National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas. The Orion was the only newspaper from a four-year college or university in California to win a Pacemaker this year.

At the convention, The Orion also was awarded its second Online National Pacemaker Award in three years, and its print edition placed second in the convention’s Best of Show competition.

The Orion’s 11th Pacemaker plaque was accepted by fall 2009 semester managing editor Jennifer Siino, a junior journalism major who graduated from Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks.

In 2005, The Orion was inducted into the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame for its record of Pacemaker achievements and has since continued adding to them.

“Only three times in the past 21 years has The Orion not been a Pacemaker finalist, so that’s a long period of consistent journalistic excellence that’s now headed into a third decade,” said Dave Waddell, The Orion’s faculty adviser. “It was very exciting to hear our name called again as a winner.”

The Associated Collegiate Press began the Pacemaker awards in 1927. The Orion, which was founded in 1975 and is a part of CSU, Chico’s nationally accredited Department of Journalism, won its first Pacemaker in the 1988-89 academic year. The award presented in Austin was for five issues published during the 2008-09 academic year, when Nicole Williams of Livermore and Genny McLaren of Visalia were the paper’s top editors and Dan Doxtater of Redwood City was its art director.

Judges select Pacemaker winners based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics.

The Poynter Institute, a school and resource for journalists located in St. Petersburg, Fla., judged this year’s Pacemaker awards. This year’s contest attracted 228 entries from across the country, according to the Associated Collegiate Press.