Though The Nevada Sagebrush's circulation doesn't stray far from campus, the student newspaper—as well as its editor—is turning heads across the country. In 2006 the 'Brush won several national awards and was chosen as a Pacemaker finalist.
In addition, Annie Flanzraich, the paper's editor in chief, recently landed a competitive summer internship with the Associated Press. Flanzraich will graduate from the Reynolds School of Journalism this May.
"She's an amazingly talented journalist," said Warren Lerude, journalism professor and RSJ internship coordinator. "I think she is going to have a brilliant career in journalism."
Lerude said he is very impressed by Flanzraich's work. For that reason, he chose to write a letter of recommendation to Tom Curley, president and CEO of the Associated Press.
"I am not big on writing letters of recommendation because I know that they are usually self-serving, but Annie is ethical, thoughtful, a good writer, a critical thinker with good judgment and she thinks things through," Lerude said. "I wrote the letter to help, but I am certain that she could have gotten the position on talent alone."
Flanzraich has been involved with journalism since her sophomore year of high school.
"I had a really great English teacher my freshman year of high school," she said. She also taught journalism, so I took it with her my sophomore year. I wrote my first story on thrift store shopping and I just loved it."
Flanzraich began working for The Nevada Sagebrush since her freshman year at the University. She was elected as its editor in fall 2005 and is currently serving her second year.
"Annie is one of the few who have been Sagebrush editor for two years in a row and the only woman to do so," Lerude said.
Demonstrating humility and her commitment to accuracy, Flanzraich quickly acknowledges she is not the first woman to serve as editor for two years: Betty Milignoni held the position from 1944-45 during World War II.
Since Flanzraich has been editor, the student newspaper has won many awards. Most recently, it won four awards at the National College Media Convention, Oct. 27-28 in St. Louis. These awards included First Place: Best of Show, First Place: Design of the Year, Newspaper Page One, Second Place: Story of the Year, Sports Story, and 2006 Pacemaker Finalist. The Sagebrush beat out newspapers from various schools including Harvard, Boston College, Brigham Young University, Pepperdine, and University of Missouri, St. Louis.
"We have an amazing group of people," Flanzraich said. "As a result, we put together a great newspaper every week."
Flanzraich was one of four Sagebrush staff members who traveled to St. Louis for this event. The National College Media Convention is held annually and brings in newspapers and students from all over the country. The Sagebrush also competes in smaller regional competitions throughout the year.
The Nevada Sagebrush has placed first or second place in the Best of Show category at the last three competitions it participated. Best of Show is an on-site competition open strictly to publications that attend the event.
"For Best of Show, all publications turn in a newspaper they've done in the last year and judges go through and pick which on they think is the best," Flanzraich said.
Flanzraich credits the Sagebrush's success to its design, coverage and the energy of its staff.
"We've had previous staff members go on to write for the Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Philadelphia Enquirer," Flanzraich said.
Flanzraich said that although it is nice, winning awards is not a top priority.
"It's nice to win competitions and it feels really nice to have plaques on our wall, but our real focus isn't on awards, it's on putting out a good paper every week," Flanzraich said. "Our staff is committed to making sure we cover this campus completely and that we write stories that are interesting to students."
The Sagebrush has been in continuous publication since 1893. It is written by students at the University and published every Tuesday during the fall and spring semesters.