Campus Times staff wins 10th consecutive gold from CSPA

The Campus Times this month received its 10th consecutive Gold Medal award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for spring semester 2006.

This is the first time in the newspaper’s history that it has consistently produced gold-medal-winning papers 10 semesters in a row.

“I am not surprised at all,” said Amanda Stutevoss, a La Verne alumna and Campus Times editor in chief fall 2002. “It shows what a great program we have.”

La Verne Magazine also has consistently received this honor for numerous semesters, including most recently for its winter 2006 edition.

The Campus Times has been on this winning streak since fall 2001, when Elizabeth Zwerling, associate professor of journalism, started here as the newspaper’s adviser.

The Columbia Scholastic Press Association, based at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, is one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious collegiate journalism organizations.

The Gold Medal award is the association’s highest honor.

For the contest, judges from across the nation, who are immersed in the newspaper industry, analyzed and critiqued the concept, content, presentation and general operations of the newspaper, scoring the content editing, headlines, design and photography of all newspaper editions in the semester.

In both fall 2005 and spring 2006, the newspaper earned 980 points out of a possible 1,000 points in the CSPA’s critique.

Even though the newspaper has excelled in its performance, Zwerling continues to strive for improvements.

“There’s always room for improvement, and it’s my goal each semester to improve upon the previous,” Zwerling said.

During Zwerling’s time at the University, she has done some revamping of the newspaper’s editorial and management structures. The design has changed, as have some of the job descriptions.

In spring 2005, the Campus Times Web site got a new look and since that time, the paper has started posting Web Exclusives stories on Mondays and Wednesdays, in addition to the weekly Friday postings of the entire newspaper.

This fall, the Campus Times introduced video content to its Web site.

“What I’ve tried to do is take the newsrooms that I worked in, combine the best editing and leadership techniques, and apply them here,” Zwerling said.

“I’m always looking for ways I can grow as an adviser,” she added.

George Keeler, department chairman of communications and professor of journalism attributes the success of the department publications to the professionalism of advisers and students.

“We have high quality advisers, high quality teachers, and we have hard-working students,” Keeler said. “We all put an emphasis on excellence. When we win these awards it’s a validation that we’re turning out high quality work,” Keeler said.

Both Campus Times and La Verne Magazine have done well in numerous other journalism contests as well.

“I’m really excited that we continued our award-winning tradition,” said Nila Priyambodo, a senior journalism major who was Campus Times editor in chief for spring 2006 and La Verne Magazine editor for fall 2005. “I’m lucky to be a part of it.”

Yelena Ovcharenko can be reached at

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