The University’s student newspaper, the Nevada Sagebrush, captured the top prize for Best Overall Web Presence from the Center for Innovation in College Media online journalism contest on March 17. The newspaper placed in three other categories in the first contest sponsored by the center that is headquartered on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville, Tenn.
“It’s been a goal for the entire staff to make the website complement the newspaper, and it’s taking on its own character,” said Brian Duggan, Sagebrush editor-in-chief. “This is great practice for young journalists who may be more oriented to a print medium. We committed to just get started and create something.”
The Sagebrush took another first place for the Breaking News Package category for “2008 Caucus Coverage.”
Evaluators praised the submission as a clear first place winner. “The staff used every tool available to them to bring the online reader the best coverage possible. They created a one stop online experience that I didn’t want to leave.”
The paper took third place in the Breaking News Video category for “The Joe hosts Democratic caucus,” and second place the Podcast category.
“We are delighted when the Sagebrush shines,” said Jerry Ceppos, dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism. “It is an independent student newspaper so we can’t claim credit for its success. Many of our majors work for the Sagebrush, where they are learning what it takes to achieve the highest standards of collegiate journalism.”
Duggan credits Chelsea Otakan, web editor, with making crucial innovation and design improvements that increased the paper’s competitive edge. He anticipates that by 2009 the paper will incorporate more professional-quality video and flash games into its website.
“These kids live and breathe journalism,” said Howard Goldbaum, associate professor in the Reynolds School. “They're enthused about pushing the limits of the tools to extend their reach in new-media storytelling.”