The Arrow, Southeast Missouri State University’s award-winning student newspaper, picked up another national honor March 10 when it was awarded third place in the David L. Adams Apple Awards contest at the College Media Association’s Spring National College Media Convention in New York City.
The recognition, which is part of the convention’s best-of-show competition, was for Best Homepage and reflected excellence in online website development. Entries were judged on the breadth of news coverage offered on the website home page, as well as general excellence in the areas of writing, design and clickable links.
The category was open, meaning any school regardless of size could enter. The Niner Times from University of North Carolina at Charlotte placed second in the competition, and the University of Miami’s Miami Hurricane took the top honors.
“This win is especially nice because it shows our commitment to being a digital-first news organization,” said Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, faculty advisor to the Arrow and multimedia journalism coordinator in the Department of Mass Media. “Editor Kara Hartnett and digital managing editor Rachael Long have made a concerted effort to elevate our digital news delivery and improve the website experience, and I’m happy for them to have that hard work recognized.”
Buck said the Arrow staff has placed additional focus on the website since the launch of its newest initiative, a downloadable app, in January. Student journalists have been asked to demonstrate their multimedia skills even more by bringing additional photo galleries, video segments and audio stories that can be uploaded so the website is updated on a daily basis.
“The launch of our new Arrow app has been huge for increasing our digital presence,” Long said. “We know that most people get their news from social media or news apps on their phones. The Arrow app has helped us reach students faster and allowed us to showcase our weekly webcast and podcast as well as our daily stories online.”
Buck accompanied eight Arrow staff members to the conference. They are Kara Hartnett, editor; Rachael Long, digital managing editor; Katelyn Mary Skaggs, news editor, Matthew Dollard, arts and entertainment editor; Toslin Taylor, sports copy editor; Michael Council, staff writer; and Kennedy Meyer and Monica Smith, reporters.
More than 1,200 attendees participated in the conference, which included more than 250 sessions, tours of professional media organizations, and special events designed to inspire college media staffs to improve their publications.
I like going to the conference to get new ideas of different initiatives that can be implemented at the Arrow to progress the entire organization and newspaper,” Hartnett said. “I always walk away from sessions either learning something new from the presenter or being inspired by what they said and constructing something new myself.”
Department of Mass Media Chair Dr. Pam Parry said faculty often invite students to innovate as they apply skills learned in the classroom in student-run media organizations, including the Arrow. She said awards are proof of student success.
“I could not be more proud of Dr. Buck and the staff of The Arrow,” Parry said. “They have won so many awards that it is hard to keep track, but we treasure each one because it is an indicator of the quality of education our students receive. As one of only 113 departments accredited worldwide in our field, the Department of Mass Media provides the best possible education to prepare students for the 21st media world.”