October 02, 2019

Daily Egyptian looks to earn third straight online collegiate award

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s student-produced newspaper, is looking for a ‘three-peat’ when it comes to winning one of the nation’s top online collegiate awards. 

The Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) recognized the Daily Egyptian as one of the 41 online news, broadcast and magazine sites nominated this year in the Online Pacemaker competition. ACP is the nation’s largest and oldest national membership association for college student media, according to the organization’s website. The Daily Egyptian earned the award in both 2017 and 2018. 

Proud of students’ efforts 

The award is for the newspaper’s work during the 2018-19 academic year, Eric Fidler, the newspaper’s faculty managing editor, said. The Daily Egyptian is celebrating its 103rd anniversary next month, with the original publication printed on Oct. 28, 1916. The newspaper now prints once a week but operates daily online at dailyegyptian.com. 

“I've been pushing online over print for quite a few years, so it's satisfying to see that come to fruition,” Fidler said. “We have such a small staff compared to many of the other nominees, which means our students work extra hard. Our Daily Egyptian alumni succeed because they simply won't be outworked.” 

Students can gain early experiential opportunities 

Students can start at the DE as early as the week before their first class and can take on any role in the organization they can get hired for. Fidler said. Some students start working there as freshmen and stay for their whole college career. 

Scott McClurg, acting director of the School of Journalism, said the nomination “shows the importance of teamwork, skills and real-world experience.” 

“I know that our alumni will be proud that the DE is keeping the standards that they had when they were here before,” McClurg said. 

Fidler said he tells students that the newspaper is an online news organization that “happens to print a weekly newspaper, not the other way around.” 

“Awards are subjective, and I always tell the staff not to get too excited or down over them,” he said. “It's nice to win, though, and in this case it's nice to be in the finals for the third straight year.” 

Highly coveted collegiate award 

Associated College Press states that the Pacemaker is the association’s “preeminent award.” The 41 finalists were selected from 182 entries, a 69% increase from 2018. The Daily Egyptian was one of 33 online publications from four-year schools and one of only three from Illinois. 

The selected finalists represent 38 states and Canada. There is a separate competition for print newspapers. 

“Today’s best online sites are platforms for rich multimedia storytelling,” Gary Lundgren, associate director and coordinator of the Pacemaker competition, said. “Deep and diverse coverage with strong engagement and interactivity distinguish the best student-produced sites.”

Finalists will be recognized and winners announced Nov. 2 during the ACP/College Media Association National College Media Convention, set for Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.