Campus: CSU Chico -- August 16, 2002

The Orion Named Nation's Best College Newspaper

The Orion, California State University, Chico's student newspaper, has been named the nation's best college newspaper by the National Newspaper Association.

The Orion was awarded first place for general excellence in the NNA's 2002 Better Newspapers Contest. Three 2001 issues were submitted in the competition.

The Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin captured second place, and third place went to the Oregon Daily Emerald at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

The awards will be presented Sept. 13 during the NNA's 116th annual convention in Portland, Ore. In addition, award winners will be recognized in a special October issue of the NNA publication Publishers' Auxiliary.

"This is the second time in three years that we have won the NNA's top award," said Orion adviser Dave Waddell. "That it comes from the biggest newspaper organization in the country makes it quite an honor. Simply said, our student paper was judged by professional standards and came out on top nationally."

Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association calls itself the national voice of community newspapers. NNA represents owners, publishers and editors of America's community newspapers and, with 3,200 newspaper members, is the largest newspaper association in the United States.

The Orion was also the biggest winner Aug. 10 during the seventh annual Management Seminar for College Newspaper Editors at the University of Georgia in Athens. Jen Cooper, current managing editor, attended the seminar.

The Orion won first place for general excellence and first place for design excellence. Cooper said the general excellence award in particular is a reflection of the work of the entire Orion staff.

"We were competing against schools that publish daily with bigger staffs and bigger circulations," Cooper said. "But in the end quality mattered most, and that's where The Orion was able to shine."

The Orion has been a consistent winner of state, regional and national awards. Last year, the Society of Professional Journalists named The Orion the nation's best college weekly. The Chico State paper has been the California Newspaper Publishers Association's top university paper in the state for four years in a row and in seven of the past eight years.

During the spring semester 2001, Alex Ruiz was managing editor, James Nepomuceno was art director and Scott Harris was business manager. During the fall semester 2001, Natasha Klobas was managing editor, Phil Tretheway was art director and Joe Van Noy was business manager. Niesha Gates, currently a summer reporting intern at The Sacramento Bee, was news editor both semesters.

The Orion, first published in 1975, is a laboratory newspaper of CSU, Chico's Department of Journalism.

CONTACTS: Kathleen McPartland, 530-898-4263 and Dave Waddell, Orion adviser, 530-898-4782


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