The Arrow, the student newspaper of Southeast Missouri State University, placed second in the running for a College Media Association Pinnacle Award presented at the Associated College Press/College Media Association Fall National College Media Convention Oct. 27-29 in Dallas, Texas.
The Arrow also placed ninth in the Best of Show competition for weekly newspapers.
“This was the first time we’ve been a finalist for a Pinnacle Award, and the level of competition was steep,” said Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, faculty advisor to the Arrow and multimedia journalism coordinator in Southeast’s Department of Mass Media. “The Arrow’s ability to place so high against institutions that were so much larger is a testament to the quality of our program and demonstrates the value students can place on the training we provide.”
The Arrow was a finalist in the “Best Special Section: More than Four Pages” category for their special edition published last April titled “Accounting for Assault,” an investigative report of the “prevalence, complexities and accountability of sexual assault at Southeast.”
The Arrow won the second-place award behind Distraction Magazine at the University of Miami, and finished ahead of the Daily Bruin at UCLA and the Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin.
“This is a reassurance about the role we play as future media professionals and the place where we stand in preparation for the industry,” said Kara Hartnett, Arrow editor. “Receiving the award, especially against the competition that we faced, really showed that students from Southeast’s multimedia journalism program are some of the top media professionals in the nation and can perform at that level when we graduate.”
The second-place recognition is also a testament to the benefits of the University’s partnership with Rust Communications, which has helped operate the newspaper since 2011, said Buck.
While at the conference, Hartnett and News Editor Katelyn Mary Skaggs presented a session, using the special edition as a case study, titled, “Is it Advocacy or Journalism?” during which they discussed the fine line journalists walk when writing about a case for which they are impassioned.
“The experience of presenting and working on the project was very beneficial to me,” Skaggs said. “I learned a lot about understanding the fine line journalists walk.”
The presentation also provided the opportunity for the Arrow to evaluate their performance and provide practical assistance to students pursuing similar projects.
“Being able to speak as a student was an entirely incredible experience, and I hope that my experiences helped other students that may be tackling the same issue,” Hartnett said. “I am still in contact with people who attended the session and want my help getting through their own projects.”
Photo caption: From left are Arrow Reporter Michael Council, Reporter Toslin Taylor, Editor Kara Hartnett, Digital Managing Editor Rachael Long, News Editor Katelyn Mary Skaggs, Faculty Advisor Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck and Content Advisor Logan Young.