The ultimate confidence booster

  • The Mustang Daily staff won nine California College Media Association awards
  • The editorial staff will collect the awards on March 5 at a journalism conference in Hollywood
  • The Mustang Daily also won an award for the website in October

The Week of Welcome edition of the Mustang Daily was 96 pages and recently won a California College Media Association award for Best Orientation Issue. More than 40 schools competed in the competition. Courtesy photo

There’s often more to the college newspaper business than writing stories that both inform and anger our readers. In fact, there’s a whole different side of working for a college newspaper that involves article submissions, awards and, most importantly, bragging rights.

Throughout the years, the Mustang Daily has been the winner of numerous awards and, so far, this year has proven to be no exception. In October, the managing editor Patrick Leiva and myself attended the Associate Collegiate Press journalism conference in Louisville, Kentucky where we accepted numerous awards for our newspaper advertisements as well as a Pacemaker award for the Mustang Daily website.

Back in December, Leiva and I put off studying for finals and spent a few days combing through past editions of the Mustang Daily. Our goal was to search for top stories, graphics, photographs, opinion columns and special sections that exemplified the hard work and pride the staff has put into each edition. In the end, we came out with 26 submissions to send to the California College Media Association that we felt demonstrated the Mustang Daily’s award-winning potential.

And last week, we received the e-mail telling us that we won three awards for editorial and six awards for advertising.

The award placings won’t be announced until the CCMA Excellence in Student Media banquet in Hollywood on March 5, but the Mustang Daily will be coming home with an award for best opinion column, best orientation edition, best infographic, best black and white ad, best color ad, best group promotion, best sales promotion materials, best online ad and best online ad promotion.

Among the winners for editorial are the 96-page Week of Welcome Mustang Daily edition, the “How to Spot …” infographic created for the WOW edition by design editor Christian Millan and the opinion column on the Crops House incident by libertarian columnist Eric Baldwin. General manager Paul “Uncle Paul” Bittick said he was excited when he discovered the Mustang Daily had won awards because it shows the students who work on the paper that what they do is being recognized as the best.

“I think awards are great for the students because it validates everything they’ve done,” Bittick said. “Working there, I think sometimes you almost get a feeling that no one’s recognizing what you’re doing but when you win an award like that it really validates what you’ve done there and it’s like, ‘Wow, OK, we’re doing something right.’ I think for anybody involved they should feel really proud of what they’ve accomplished there.”

Special sections coordinator Kristy Gonzalez is a journalism senior who helped come up with many of the story ideas for special sections such as the "Hot to Spot ..." content and job interview tips. Photo by Leticia Rodriguez

One of the biggest surprises in the group of winners was the Week of Welcome edition primarily because it was 96 pages. Even though a large portion of the edition is made up of advertisements, the editorial staff of the Mustang Daily still had the task of creating content that not only filled the pages, but also contributed to the WOW theme of the edition. That’s where special sections coordinator Kristy Gonzalez comes in. Gonzalez’s primary job is to come up with story ideas and different ways we can display information for our special editions such as back to school, graduation, housing and WOW.

Gonzalez said when she first heard the number of pages for the WOW edition she was worried about not having enough content to fill the pages especially since this edition was the first paper following the once-a-week, 8-page summer editions. However, in the end, she said she knew the staff could get it done because of their dedication to put out a quality edition for incoming students.

“We were just well equipped with great writers and people, who, as they came to learn, work really, really well on deadline,” Gonzalez said. “I think winning this award is a testament to our hard work and dedication to not only the Cal Poly community but also San Luis Obispo. It was our very first edition for the school year that happened to be more than 90 pages long and I think it shows our incredible ability to work as a team and produce a quality newspaper under pressure. “

But while winning all of these awards is exciting for the entire staff, designer Christian Millan had a special hand in the “How to Spot …” infographic for the WOW edition. Millan, a transfer student from Long Beach, had just moved to San Luis Obispo when the staff began working on the pages. For the first time all summer, we were told that we had the opportunity to have double trucks which are when an image or any kind of content spreads over two complete pages continuously. They are most often found in the middle of a newspaper or magazine. They are great for different design ideas and with the advancement of the printer in UGS, we were able to have multiple in one edition. With that newfound knowledge, a few ideas were tossed out about the best way we could utilize this option. At some point the staff started talking about the stereotypes at Cal Poly: the aggie with a giant cowboy hat and Wranglers, the “PolyDolly” with a luxury SUV and designer handbag, the athletes who live in Cal Poly athletic gear and congregate in front of Mott Gym and the nerdy engineer that lives in running shoes, Levi’s and a “Cal Poly Nerds Rule” t-shirt were a few of the examples we started out with.

Soon the idea turned into a list and the list turned into a fun infographic that poked fun of Cal Poly and its students, including us. Millan, not having any real idea of what the students at Cal Poly are like, was assigned the task of creating the figures.

“I hadn’t even started school yet so I didn’t have a feel of the people,” Millan said. “It was really hard to create a graphic based on people you haven’t met yet.”

Nevertheless, Millan said the awards the staff has won so far this year are just the beginning.

“I think we have a good chance at winning more awards with (the other Mustang Daily design editor) Melissa on the team,” Millan said. “I think there’s definitely more to come with you guys pushing (the designers).”

Yes, awards are important and bragging to other college newspapers that your staff put together an award-winning issue is fun but the most important factor is the confidence boost if provides to a staff. Awards such as these show any staff (and editor) they’re on the right track, that what they do means something and that their mom isn’t the only one reading their work.

2 Responses to “The ultimate confidence booster”
  1. kkenney90 says:

    Congrats! Really enjoying the inside scoop on the Daily.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] February, I wrote a blog about the awards the Mustang Daily would be winning. The only thing we were uncertain about was our […]

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