The Midwestern State University student newspaper, The Wichitan, has been named as a finalist for a national award: the Online Pacemaker, one of the honors bestowed annually by the Associated Collegiate Press.
gI was surprised,h said Caden Burross, Wichitan online editor. gWe do an amazing job, but our website is just in its infancy, this being its fourth full semester.h
Hannah Hofmann, former co]editor of the newspaper and one of the creators of the site (http://thewichitan.com), said, gIt shows that the mass communication department continues to strive for something better. Being recognized nationally shows that the size of the school is not everything. Students going to a smaller college can still achieve great accomplishments.h
Hofmann, who graduated in December 2012, added, gThe students have done a tremendous job transitioning to be an online college news source.h
The Wichitan, one of 54 finalists out of 277 entries, is advised by Bradley Wilson, an assistant professor in mass communication and the director of student media at MSU.
A panel of professionals with extensive online media experience judged the contest, noting that the most successful sites had clean and accessible designs, excellent writing and editing, strong handling of breaking news, and superb social integration.
gItfs still growing into what we want it to be: a clean, concise destination for students to get campus news in a timely fashion,h Burross said. gWe hope to make full use of the digital environment as we expand, including video, interactive and social media.h
Hofmann, who co]edited the paper with current editor Brittney Cottingham, said the growth of the site and the stafffs ability to utilize the online environment proved challenging at first.
gThe most difficult part was changing the way we think about the work we produce and how we want to present it,h Hofmann said. gAll of the sudden we had the option to post stories online. We could add pictures and videos and allow our users to be more interactive.h
She said she hopes The Wichitanfs online presence will grow in breadth and depth over time.
gThe website is going to become more important to the users, and students will become better online journalists,h she said. gI hope the site will be updated even more frequently, featuring breaking news and continuing to produce strong work.h
The Pacemaker is considered one of the two most prestigious college media awards in the nation, the other being the Crown awards given by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. The Pacemaker winners will be announced at the 92nd Annual ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in New Orleans Oct. 26.
The print edition of The Wichitan, with editor Matt Terrell and adviser Randy Pruitt, made the finals in 2004, making this the second time the paper has achieved such status in the Pacemakers. For more information, contact Wilson at Bradley.firstname.lastname@example.org (940) 397 4797.