Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

March 30, 2009

Whitworth's Student Newspaper Named Finalist for Prestigious Pacemaker Award

Whitworth University's student newspaper, The Whitworthian, has been named a finalist for the Associate Collegiate Press' Online Pacemaker Award. Pacemaker awards are considered the most esteemed honors in student journalism.

Roughly 220 schools nationwide participated in the 2009 ACP Online Pacemaker contest. The entries were divided into four categories: four-year daily newspaper, four-year non-daily newspaper, two-year newspaper, and non-newspaper publications. The Whitworthian, which competed against universities as much as four times Whitworth's size, was one of 20 schools named as finalists in the four-year non-daily newspaper category and is the only school from the Pacific Northwest represented in that category. Other finalists include the University of Miami, the University of Missouri, Temple University, Loyola Marymount University, and the College of William and Mary.

"The Pacemaker awards are essentially the Pulitzers of college journalism, so it's an honor even to be nominated," says Jim McPherson, associate professor of communication studies and The Whitworthian advisor. "A number of Whitworthian editors have already done professional media internships, and they actually incorporate video, slideshows and other multimedia tools into their websites better than a lot of professional newspapers do."

The newspaper's staff includes 17 editors and roughly 50 reporters, columnists, photographers, graphic designers and copy editors.

"Considering that we just redesigned the website and that this is only the second year that we've had exclusive content and updated the site daily, this is a huge accomplishment for us," says Jasmine Linabary, online editor of The Whitworthian. "The online edition, along with helping students develop the online journalism skills that are critical for journalists today, also allows us to serve the Whitworth community with additional content daily instead of weekly."

The contest was judged by Ellyn Angelotti, interactivity editor for the Poynter Institute, a leader in online journalism training and education. Angelotti noted that the top sites displayed excellence in integration of multimedia and user-generated content, navigability, breadth of coverage, clean design, and sound news judgment on the homepage.

The final placements will be announced at the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisors National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas, in October.

The Whitworthian website and its print edition also recently have been selected to receive Region 10 Mark of Excellence Awards given by the Society of Professional Journalists. The placements for those awards will be announced in late April. In both 2008 and 2007, The Whitworthian took third place in the Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper category in the Region 10 Mark of Excellence Awards. In fall 2007, The Whitworthian won third place in "Best of Show" in the four-year weekly tabloids category at the 86th annual Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisors National College Media Convention. In spring 2007, the newspaper won the top award in the Inland Northwest Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists 2006 Excellence in Journalism Competition.


Jim McPherson, associate professor of communication studies and The Whitworthian advisor, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4429 or jmcpherson@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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