Campus: CSU, Chico -- June 11, 2001

Orion Wins National Award for Best Student Weekly from Society of Professional Journalists

California State University, Chico's much-honored student newspaper, The Orion, has added another prestigious national award: the Mark of Excellence Award for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper.

The awards were announced June 6 by The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the nation's largest journalism organization. CSU, Chico and other winners will receive their awards Oct. 4-6 at the 2001 SPJ national convention in Seattle, and will be honored in the July/August issue of Quill, the SPJ magazine.

The competition included 2,200 entries in 36 categories for print, radio, TV and online collegiate journalism. The University of Texas at Austin's Daily Texan won for best daily student newspaper.

"This is a big award, because to win it The Orion had to best the top college papers from 10 other national regions, as judged by professional journalists," said Dave Waddell, The Orion adviser. "That we've never won it before, despite all of our successes, says a lot about how tough it is to win. I appreciated the judges' comments about The Orion's professionalism and the 'truly collaborative team effort' that's evident in our paper."

In recent years, The Orion has been one of the most-honored student newspapers in the country. Over the past eight years, the paper has received five "Pacemaker" awards from the National Association of Newspapers and Associated Collegiate Press, five first-place finishes in California Newspaper Publisher's Association Better Newspapers' Contest and two National Newspaper of the Year awards from the Associated Collegiate Press.

"The Mark of Excellence Awards are among the most prestigious awards college students can win," said David Carlson, SPJ vice president for campus chapter affairs. SPJ has presented student journalism awards for 27 years.

Student newspapers were judged for design, content, writing style, investigative prowess and editorial page. Before being considered for the national competition, newspapers had to place first in SPJ's regional competitions.

Commenting on The Orion, judges said: "This large broadsheet shows excellent design throughout. Handsome section fronts feature strong feature stories and art. Content is all local, with well-written and carefully edited stories. Editorials run in each issue and are thoughtful and well-written. Numerous guest columns and letters offer a variety of opinions. A near professional quality production by what is evidence of a truly collaborative team effort. California State University, Chico has a student publication to be proud of."

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