Arrow Honored with Seven Awards in Three National Competitions


From left to right are Dr. Tamara Buck, faculty advisor to the Arrow; Kate Marshall, Arrow multimedia editor; Matt Dollard, Arrow editor; Toslin Taylor, Arrow digital managing editor; and Kennedy Meyer, Arrow copy desk chief.

The Arrow, the student newspaper at Southeast Missouri State University, placed first in two categories of the College Media Association Pinnacle Award and was honored with seven awards in total at the Associated College Press (ACP) /College Media Association (CMA) Fall National College Media Convention Oct. 25-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Arrow won the first-place Writing Pinnacle in the “Best Special Section: More than Four Pages” category for a special report titled “The Impact Zone;” first-place Best of Collegiate Design Pinnacle in the “Best Feature Page/Spread” category for a Black History Month centerspread titled “Until We All Make It”; and a third-place Organizational Pinnacle in the “Four-Year Less-Than Weekly Newspaper of the Year.”

The Arrow’s accomplishments are a recognition of the students’ skills and dedication, and the multimedia journalism major’s commitment to content creation using text, pictures, video and audio.

“We created classes that featured writing and design, as well as digital news delivery. This weekend, the Arrow was recognized for excellence in each one of those categories,” said Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, faculty advisor to the Arrow and multimedia journalism coordinator in the Department of Mass Media. “These national wins, which are a first for us, indicate we have a forward-thinking program that gives our students exactly what they need to succeed in our industry.”

To be recognized at this level is a very humbling and rewarding experience, said Matt Dollard, Arrow editor.

“The awards are recognition of all of the hard work of our staff. We were blown away by the amount of awards we received,” he said. “It speaks to the effectiveness of our department and the training we are receiving.”

“The Impact Zone” was a special report which detailed the impact of the opioid epidemic facing Missouri and southeast Missouri in particular. The Arrow finished ahead of UCLA’s Daily Bruin and Elon University’s Elon News Network. “The Impact Zone” is available in its entirety at

Having “The Impact Zone” recognized twice is an amazing accomplishment for the report’s three-member editorial team — former editor Kara Hartnett, digital editor Rachael Long, and then arts and entertainment editor Dollard – who compiled the edition last fall, said Buck.

Matt Dollard, Arrow editor, and Toslin Taylor, Arrow digital managing editor, celebrate their two first-place College Media Association Pinnacle awards.

“They did the research, pitched the stories, then did the legwork to find amazing news and feature stories that fully explained how the entire state and southeast Missouri in particular is impacted by the opioid epidemic,” she said. “They then brought in additional photographers, designers and layout editors to assist them in redesigning the newspaper and website in order to present this information in a fresh, multimedia way. It was wonderful to see them take full ownership of this project from start to finish.”

The Arrow’s Black History Month centerspread, written by Long, former Arrow digital managing editor, and designed by alumna Taria Graham, incorporated the idea that today’s movers and shakers stand on the backs of so many important figures in the Black community but still highlight the work they are doing to create change.

It is available at Other finalists in this category were Elon University, California State University-Long Beach and the University of Michigan.

“This collaboration shows how our students are trained in all aspects of journalistic storytelling,” Buck said. “The connection of words, pictures and layout demonstrate the complexity of what we do. Taria did a wonderful job of representing Rachael’s textual storytelling in a meaningful way.”

The third-place Organizational Pinnacle recognizes excellence in coverage and content; design, graphics and illustrations; photography; service to the campus community; and reporting, writing and editing.

“It’s wonderful to see our students recognized with a national award for overall excellence,” Buck said. “Several of the producers of the work that were submitted have graduated, but those who remain and who worked alongside them know what was required to achieve this level of recognition. They are excited and inspired, and that’s going to transfer to the other multimedia journalism students. I expect this sets a bar that the next group will see as a challenge. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

The Pinnacle Awards are presented by the College Media Association and recognize the best college media – print, broadcast and online – across nearly 100 categories. More than 3,000 entries were judged by media professionals from across the country. Pinnacle Awards are presented to college newspapers, TV and radio stations, feature and literary magazines, yearbooks, websites and mobile apps.

The Arrow also was recognized as a finalist for the annual ACP Pacemaker Award, often considered the most prestigious award in collegiate journalism. The Arrow was one of 37 finalists from 18 states recognized for overall excellence. In all, 165 student newspapers representing 40 states and Canada entered the Pacemaker competition.

Arrow staff and reporters celebrate winning seven awards at the Associated College Press (ACP) /College Media Association (CMA) Fall National College Media Convention.

Additionally, the Arrow won three Associated College Press Best of Show Awards, placing first-place in the “Newspaper: Special Edition” category for “The Impact Zone” special report, first-place in the “Newspaper: less than weekly” category for the Oct. 24, 2018, issue, and second-place in the “Website: 10,000 students or less” for the Arrow’s website,

The ACP Best of Show awards are presented by the Associated College Press and recognize entries brought to the convention. Student media staffs can enter general excellence categories specific to their medium and individual categories. All staffs may enter the website category. Only delegations that include students are eligible. Entries are brought to the convention for on-site judging and winners are announced during the closing keynote.

Buck said winning first place for the Oct. 24, 2018, edition is gratifying because production of this issue was contentious.

“The editors had differing ideas for what content should lead and how it should appear in print, and there was a lot of compromise evidenced in the final product,” she said. “I hope it shows them that the end result for all of that passion and investment of time and money is something that they can be proud to have produced.”

Buck commended Digital Editor Toslin Taylor for the second-place website award presented to the Arrow.

“As a digital-first organization, the Arrow must have a website that is regularly maintained and updated with fresh multimedia content,” Buck said. “Toslin has created a workflow that ensures a regular insurgence of new information that she shares via our social media. I’m happy that her efforts were recognized.”

The CMA and ACP awards will help bolster the Arrow newsroom, reinforcing to the staff that their efforts matter, Dollard said.

“The amount of awards we brought home says something about Southeast’s mass media program — we are one of the best journalism schools in the state, and hopefully it continues to improve,” he said.