The Easterner wins Best of Show

Campus newspaper comes in first for website at national convention

By Jake Kershinar, Staff Writer

Eastern’s student online newspaper, The Easterner, won first place in the 29th annual 2013 Associated Collegiate Press National College Journalism Convention in San Francisco on March 3 for Best of Show Publication Website.

This award is given to the best online student website and is judged based on content coverage, editorial leadership, writing and photography, according to Grace Christiansen, contest and critique coordinator for Associated Collegiate Press.

“The Judges narrow it down to [the] top ten entries and each school that enters submits one issue,” said Christiansen. “The judges thought that The Easterner was the top online newspaper in every category.”

Editor-In-Chief Amy Meyer discussed the options to reboot the website and realized quickly that going in a new direction was the best solution.

“It seemed like a good economic decision to use WordPress rather than our old host,” said Meyer. “It utilizes graphics better.”

Online Editor Jaime Williams was responsible for getting the Easterner archives back on the web.

“We liked the WordPress content because it had lots of multimedia content,” said Williams. “We didn’t think the old [host] was user friendly. We wanted a tool that journalist could easily publish.”

What may be even more bizarre than winning an award for something the staff had just completely rebuilt is that none of the staff members were there in person to receive the award.

While six members of the Easterner staff had made the trip down to the Bay Area, they did not think that they would win out of hundreds of different schools submitting work.

“We were actually all sitting in a restaurant in Chinatown,” said Williams. “Then Amy said that her phone was freaking out and then got a really weird look on her face. Then she said we had one first place for [Best of Show].”

This award has not gone unnoticed in the journalism department and has its professors excited for the students.

“I’m very proud of our staff and their outstanding work,” said assistant professor of journalism Jamie Neely. “This first-place award is all the more remarkable because Easterner Online’s old site crashed earlier this year. That crisis required our editor in chief, Amy Meyer, to build a new WordPress site from the ground up. She and her team were not only able to weather that challenge, but they also went on to create a more innovative design that now conveys a distinctive brand, new interactive tools such as reader polls, and increased multimedia content. In the end, we wound up with a much stronger online platform for student expression than we’ve ever had before.”

“I have been here for 21 years and this is the height of The Easterner’s publication,” said William Stimson, chairman of the Board of Student Publication. “The fact that it is the number one news for online is fantastic. It’s impressive it is online because online news has become the frontier of news.”