Campus Times wins gold for journalism excellence

Taylor Moore
Editor-in-Chief

The Campus Times has won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Medal award for overall journalism excellence for Newspaper/Online Hybrid publications for the 2022-2023 academic year. This puts the publication in the highest tier for college news outlets across the United States, once again. 

The Columbia Journalism School-based organization announced the honor last week.

This year’s win marks 19 such Gold Medal wins for the Campus Times during the past 23 years. 

This year’s win comes with the additional distinction of “All Columbian,” which is based on the Campus Times earning a total of 964 out of 1,000 possible points for the various categories in which the publication was evaluated, including depth and breadth of coverage, writing, editing and visual components. 

The Campus Times publishes 27 weekly issues each year, and the full-year of the publication is considered for the CSPA’s in-depth critique. 

“I’m thrilled,” Elizabeth Zwerling, chief advisor for the Campus Times and journalism professor, said. “It’s a lot of hard work, so it’s nice to see that the students’ hard work, that all of our hard work, is resonating with the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the community.” 

Zwerling said she demands a lot out of the staff reporters and editors, who work for the Campus Times as part of newspaper production classes, to reflect the rigorous environment of a professional newsroom. Each student on staff is expected to publish one story a week and to meet set deadlines, all to prepare them for the fast-paced and driven work ethic that is required for a career in journalism. The staff is strengthened by the fact that most of the staff editors return semester after semester, with the more experienced staff editors mentoring newer staff.

Zwerling was on sabbatical during the spring 2023 semester, so Michael Saakyan, 2014 Campus Times alum and adjunct professor, served as chief advisor during Zwerling’s sabbatical. 

Saakyan said working with the editorial team during production days on Thursdays felt like he was working with professionals. 

“It just felt really good coming in (on Thursdays) and everyone knowing exactly what to do,” Saakyan said. “I knew Campus Times was only bound for greatness. Seeing the amount of work and effort that everyone put in during that semester when I was advisor, I wasn’t surprised that Campus Times won the award.” 

Saakyan said he enjoyed being able to dive back into the La Verne community after not being there for almost 10 years. He was pleased to see that the newspaper was stronger than ever. 

“It’s always a great honor when we receive (this award),” said Eric Borer, journalism operations manager of the Campus Times and photography advisor. “It just goes to show the strength of the program that we have and the strength of the students that we have working on our publications.” 

Borer said he was extremely proud to see the Campus Times staff photographers be recognized for their contribution to the newspaper’s visual components. 

“They’ve done a tremendous job week after week covering the campus,” he said. “I feel like they just get better all the time.” 

Sarah Van Buskirk, senior journalism major, served as the editor-in-chief during the 2022-2023 academic year. She has been on the Campus Times staff for four years as a staff writer, sports editor, editor-in-chief and now editorial director. 

“This award is such an honor and definitely well deserved,” she said. “We were so small during those semesters, (with five to six editors). So it’s a huge honor to see us win such a big award as such a small, mighty team.” 

Jack Janes, senior journalism major, served as a staff writer in the fall 2022 semester, returning as sports editor in fall 2023 and is currently in the same position. 

“Being both a staff writer and an editor, you see all the hard work that gets put into (Campus Times),” Janes said. “It’s very rewarding to see all the work that us editors, the staff writers, and especially Eric and Elizabeth, that everyone puts in and to see it get recognized.” 

Samira Felix, senior journalism major, who started as a staff writer in spring 2022 and is now in her third semester as news editor said it feels validating to get recognition outside of the University. 

“The Campus Times (staff) is always proud of each other for what we have accomplished; it’s so different when it’s an award outside the University,” she said. “I think it’s amazing because…we do all the work and we get praise from each other, but we don’t really get praise from everyone else. This award shows we’re doing a really good job.” 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu.

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

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