‘What’s Up SEMO’ Videos Earn Arrow First Place National CMA Pinnacle Award


From left are Arrow staffers — Culture Editor Madison Stuerman, Photographer Jelani Days, Video Producer Karis Gamble, Reporter Nicolette Baker and News Editor Brooke Holford; and Arrow Advisor Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck.

Southeast Missouri State University’s student newspaper, the Arrow, brought home numerous awards, including a first-place Pinnacle Award presented at the Fall College Media Association (CMA) National College Media Convention Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

The Arrow earned the first place Advertising Pinnacle for Best Social Media Strategy, finishing ahead of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Florida A&M University, Kent State University and the University of Cincinnati.

The Pinnacle recognizes the Arrow for its innovative use of social media in an advertising or marketing campaign. Three of the Arrow’s “What’s Up SEMO” videos catapulted the newspaper in this category. The videos are part of a weekly series distributed on the Arrow’s Facebook page on Wednesday mornings during the academic year and are archived on the Arrow’s website.

The two-minute videos are lighthearted and have been designed specifically for campus engagement, featuring comments and opinions from about 10 different Southeast students each week. The videos typically receive around 2,000 Facebook views and have helped the Arrow become a part of the community conversation in a unique way.

“The winning entries were produced by a multimedia journalism major and an advertising major who were supervised by a public relations major who handled all of the client contacts related to our sponsor,” said Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, advisor to the Arrow, multimedia journalism coordinator and associate professor of mass media. “This just shows how the Arrow provides opportunities for our different academic options to collaborate in meaningful ways.”

Southeast students who produced “What’s Up SEMO” are Patrick Buck Jr., talent/producer; Kate Marshall, former producer/editor; and Samantha Wakitsch, former advertising manager and now digital editor.

From left are Arrow Culture Editor Madison Stuerman, Arrow Content Advisor Rachael Long, Arrow Faculty Advisor Dr.Tamara Zellars Buck and Arrow News Editor Brooke Holford.

In addition to the first place Advertising Pinnacle, the Arrow placed third in Design Pinnacles in the Best Newspaper Feature Page/Spread category, and in Newspaper Pinnacles, the Arrow earned honorable mention in the Four-Year Less-Than-Weekly Newspaper of the Year category.

The Arrow’s third place award in the Best Feature Page/Spread category recognized its Dec. 10, 2018, edition wrap-up of Southeast’s historic 2018 football season in which the Redhawks advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Series in Ogden, Utah. The page was created by then Sports Editor and now Arrow Editor Zach Tate and then Design Editor Christian Edwin.

The Arrow also competed for Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Pacemaker Awards for Design of the Year, placing fourth in the Newspaper Front Page category and receiving honorable mention in the Newspaper Inside Page/Spread category. The Arrow placed ninth in the ACP DC 2019 Best of Show Awards in the Newspaper Four-Year Less Than Weekly category.

“Organizers informed us the competition was especially steep in all of the competitions this year, which makes earning any recognition meaningful,” Buck said. “The fact that our students were recognized heavily in the design categories as well as in the overall categories this year indicates that we are developing as a student media organization. It also demonstrates the Arrow’s ability to showcase non-journalism majors who want opportunities to build their portfolios.”

Dr. Pam Parry, chair of the Department of Mass Media, added, “The student newspaper continues to represent Southeast and the Department of Mass Media on the national stage. Year after year, they are winners among their peers. I could not be prouder of Dr. Buck, her students, and our partners at Rust Communications.”

During the convention, Buck was inducted as vice president of CMA membership support, served as a panelist in a session titled “Why Can’t We Call It Racism?” and was a featured presenter for a session titled “Media Micro-Aggressions: How We Contribute to America’s Intolerance Problem.”

Buck and Jeff Breer of Rust Communications, former Arrow content advisor, provided guidance and supervised the student winners. Attending the conference and awards presentations along with Buck were five Arrow staffers, including News Editor Brooke Holford, Culture Editor Madison Stuerman, Video Producer Karis Gamble, Photographer Jelani Days and Reporter Nicolette Baker; and Rachael Long, former Arrow staffer and now content advisor with Rust Communications.

“It was significant to have Rachael in attendance this year,” Buck said. “She’s attended the convention and earned national recognition in her own right, and her employment was a direct result of her work at the Arrow. Just like the awards recognition, her work as a content adviser is a testament to the opportunities the Arrow provides our students.”