September 22, 2006

Campus paper nominated for national award

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's campus newspaper finds itself in elite company again this year, nominated for one of college journalism's top national awards.

The Associated Collegiate Press nominated the Daily Egyptian for the 2006 Pacemaker award. This is the paper's fourth nomination in the last six years.

The ACP and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation co-sponsor the annual contest. Professional journalists judge the annual entries, which consisted of issues from two selected dates and one day of the newspaper's choice. Judges base their decisions on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, opinion page leadership, in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics.

The Daily Egyptian is among the finalists for the award nationwide. Other finalists include Harvard University, Eastern Illinois University, Indiana University, the University of North Carolina and the University of California Los Angeles, among others.

The ACP will announce the national winners Oct. 25-29 at the National College Media Convention in St. Louis.

Eric Fidler, faculty managing editor at the paper, said ranking among the nation's top daily college newspapers is an honor.

"It's a national award and if you look at the finalists, we're up against schools with tremendous endowments and resources," Fidler said. "It shows it's tough to find the quality of students who are working at our paper. I always feel like we're the scrappy underdog, and Salukis tend to outwork everybody else."

The ACP previously nominated the Daily Egyptian for the award in 2002, when the paper went on to win the award. It also nominated the SIUC paper in 2005. The paper's online edition received a nomination in 2000.

Campus paper nominated for national award

Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, said the nomination is a tribute to the college's students, faculty and staff.

"The DE has been honored two times in a row with the national Pacemaker award nomination. It feels like they are on the red carpet now in their tuxes ready to go receive that award," Pendakur said. "The students continually amaze me with this enterprise of producing a daily newspaper by their hard work, sweat, guts and sheer determination to excel at it. I am very proud of them."

The Daily Egyptian is an integral part of the SIUC School of Journalism. It is staffed mostly by students who report the news, shoot photos, design graphics, sell advertising, deliver the paper and work in the business office. It is published weekdays while classes are in session and it circulates on campus and around Southern Illinois.

Fidler said the newspaper is establishing a tradition of excellence.

"It's definitely a boost to the morale in the newsroom," Fidler said. "This year we have so many new students and only a handful from last year. For those new students, it gives them something to shoot for. Each generation of students here sort of trains the next and imparts its work ethic."

Enhancing nationally recognized programs whose graduates are in demand in the job market is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.