The Campus Times and La Verne Magazine both won Silver Crown awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, or CSPA, putting them among the top 40 publications total to win Gold or Silver crowns among a field of 1,100 entrants for the 2016-17 academic year.
The award, received last week, is a top-tier recognition of excellence by the CSPA.
The CSPA is an international student press association uniting student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges and award programs. It is based at Columbia University in New York.
“This process is not just a contest, it’s a comprehensive critique,” said Elizabeth Zwerling, professor of journalism and faculty adviser to the Campus Times.
The Crown Award requires a panel of judges at Columbia University.
Each critique involves a thorough look at writing, editing, overall depth and breadth, content, headlines, design, photography and advertising.
Emily Lau, the editor in chief of the Campus Times staff during the fall 2016 semester, knows how much work goes into making the newspaper the best it can be.
She was shocked and excited to learn that her staff had won an award.
“I had to sit down and collect myself because I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening,” said Lau, who graduated with her bachelor of arts in journalism in 2017.
Of the four semesters that Lau was a member of the Campus Times staff, her semester serving as the editor in chief was the most memorable and rewarding.
“I kept thinking, ‘If I ever become the editor in chief I want our paper to win this award,’” Lau said.
The Campus Times has won over 20 Gold Medal Awards from the CSPA since 2001. In 2011, the Campus Times won the Gold Crown Award.
The Gold Medal award is based on a critique, while the Gold Crown is judged by a panel of professionals in the field that handpicks a small number of top publications.
“When I found out that my semester had won, I was really excited because all of our hard work was being recognized,” said Brooke Grasso, senior journalism major and spring 2017 editor in chief.
“We put so much time into this paper and we do everything like a professional newspaper would. I feel like our level of professionalism sets us apart from other publications,” said Grasso, who has been a staff member on the Campus Times for six semesters.
The Campus Times follows the Missouri Method, based on the University of Missouri journalism program, which is a style of learning that gives student journalists real-world journalism experience.
“Newspaper (production) is part of the curriculum so there is rigor and consistency, and we have the support of the University,” said Zwerling, who is also communications department chairwoman.
“I’m very proud of my students,” said George Keeler, professor of journalism and La Verne Magazine adviser. “They are achievers and winners. I want to salute (magazine editors) Celene Vargas and Ryan Guerrero for their keen leadership in helping us win this prestigious award.”
La Verne Magazine is a city magazine, which like the Campus Times, is published by the communications department. It has subscribers throughout the community.
Vargas, La Verne Magazine editor for the Winter 2016 issue, said she would often be in the lab on days when she did not have class.
And she even stayed a week after the semester had ended to finalize the magazine.
“I think the edge we have is in the details,” Vargas said. “Obviously having good ideas and writing is important, and I think we had that. We weren’t afraid to keep revisiting certain things until we were satisfied.”
Vargas said that she faced obstacles as editor, but she is proud of the final product they published and that her team’s work is being recognized.
“There is stiff competition out there and it means that University of La Verne students are better than just about anybody when it comes to writing, taking pictures and designing publications,” Keeler said.
Remy Hogan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.