Campus: CSU Chico -- July 8, 2002

Newspaper Wins Top Statewide General Excellence Award

California State University, Chico's much-honored student newspaper, The Orion, received the first-place award for general excellence in the 2001 Better Newspapers Contest held by California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA).

The award was presented at CNPA's 114th annual convention on June 29 in San Diego. Second place in the University Division went to the California Aggie at the University of California, Davis.

The presentation marked the fourth straight time and seventh time in eight years that The Orion has won the top award in CNPA's University Division. No other university student newspaper has won the first-place award, which was first presented in 1978, more than three times.

"This domination of the state's most prestigious award is getting to be almost embarrassing," said The Orion adviser Dave Waddell. "But what are the judges to do? The Orion simply stands above all other college newspapers in California because of our students' commitment to quality journalism."

The Orion submitted three consecutive issues from spring semester 2001, during which Alex Ruiz was managing editor, Niesha Gates was news editor, James Nepomuceno was art director and Scott Harris was business manager.

All entries were initially judged by California publishers, editors and reporters, who selected finalists in each category of competition. From there, a panel of blue-ribbon judges from newspapers outside California picked the first- and second-place finishers.

The Orion, a weekly laboratory newspaper of CSU's journalism department, has won dozens of national, regional and state awards in recent years. The paper received a Newspaper of the Year award by the Associated Collegiate Press in March 2002 for the second straight year and the fourth time in five years. The Orion also won a Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in February.

CNPA is a trade organization representing hundreds of California newspapers, from the smallest weeklies to the largest dailies, as well as scores of college newspapers.

CONTACT: Joe Wills, 530-898-4143
Dave Waddell, Orion adviser, 530-898-4782

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