Campus: CSU Chico -- November 15, 2004
The Orion Wins Eighth National Pacemaker
California State University, Chico's student newspaper, The Orion, has won its
eighth National Pacemaker award-widely considered the top prize for general
excellence in college journalism.
The award was presented Saturday by Tom Rolnicki, the executive director of the
Associated Collegiate Press, at the 83rd annual National College Media Convention.
Held at Nashville's Renaissance hotel, the convention attracted more than 2,600
college journalists from throughout the United States and Canada.
In announcing this year's winners, Rolnicki noted that the National Pacemaker is
often referred to as "the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism." The staff of the
Nashville Tennessean newspaper did the judging for this year's Pacemaker. The Orion's
entry included one issue from fall 2003 and three issues from spring 2004.
In addition to the Pacemaker plaque, The Orion received the first-place trophy in
the Best of Show competition as the convention's top university weekly broadsheet.
Forty other newspapers entered that category, with second place going to the Old
Gold and Black at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and third place
to The Breeze at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.
"To my knowledge, this was the first time in the same year that The Orion has won
both the national Pacemaker and finished first in Best of Show at college
journalism's biggest event," said Dave Waddell, who has been The Orion's faculty
adviser for nine years. "It's a sweep that reflects the commitment and dedication
of students current and past."
Orion Managing Editor Kristina Seward of Hilmar accepted the two awards on behalf
of The Orion staff. "It gives us a boost to know that we're the best at what we
do, and that we're setting the pace of college journalism," Seward said. "This
award makes us even more proud to be part of The Orion and its tradition of
The paper's art director, Greg Traverso of Chico, who also attended the convention,
spearheaded a re-design of The Orion during the summer. "The awards are a tribute
to the hard work and cooperation of the entire staff," Traverso said. "We work as
a team, and we're very proud of our newspaper."
Melody Gutierrez of Twentynine Palms was managing editor in fall 2003, and Sarah
Schaale of Sacramento held that post in spring 2004. Jessie Gardner of Reno was
art director both semesters. Gutierrez is now a staff writer for The Sacramento
The Orion has been a Pacemaker finalist 14 times since 1989. The national award
this year was its second straight and eighth overall.
In addition to the Pacemaker awards, The Orion has captured a slew of state,
regional and national awards. In September, the National Newspaper Association
named The Orion the nation's best university newspaper.
The Orion, founded in 1975, is a laboratory newspaper of Chico State's nationally
accredited department of journalism.
Contact: Kathleen McPartland, 530-898-4260, Dave Waddell,