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Central Washington University

CWU Student Media Have the Winning Touch

Friday, June 16, 2017

Central Washington University’s student media outlets continue to win accolades in large journalism contests, beating out larger schools across a five-state region.

The ObserverThe Observer, Central’s student-run weekly newspaper, won two categories: Breaking News Photo and General News – in the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Region 10 Mark of Excellence awards. The Observer was also a finalist for Photo Illustration and for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper, which encompassed schools of all sizes.

The SPJ 2016 region awards honors the "best of collegiate journalism" at universities and community colleges in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Pulse, Central’s lifestyle magazine, won Best Nonfiction Magazine Story and was a finalist for Best Affiliated Website and for Radio Feature.

CentralNewsWatch (CNW) won SPJ’s Television Sports Reporting category for a piece by senior Jake Nelson on Central basketball player Jasmin Edwards. CNW was also a finalist for four regional Emmy awards: one for General Features and three for Sports Reporting.

The four regional SPJ winners will go on to compete against winners in all 12 SPJ regions in the National Mark of Excellence Awards competition. Winners are typically announced during SPJ’s fall national convention.

“Students at all of our media outlets put an incredible amount of time and effort into their jobs, so it’s gratifying to see their hard work rewarded,” said digital journalism program coordinator Cynthia Mitchell, who also advises The Observer.

Senior McKenzie Lakey’s “Black Lives Matter” photo won the Breaking News Photo category. And 2016 graduate Jonathan Glover, won the General News category for his story about the Kittitas County Drug Court. Glover was editor in chief for winter and spring quarters of 2016 and Lakey was editor in chief fall 2016 – the time frame of the Best All-Around competition.

Black Lives Matter"I'm just honored to be part of a publication that cares so much about the quality of work that is being published and the learning that goes into it,” Lakey said.

“The student staff is the true powerhouse behind The Observer and simply being able to work alongside this incredible group is reward enough. To receive the honor of winning any award or being a finalist is hands down just an added bonus."

Glover, who graduated in 2016 and is now a staff reporter for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, said he was gratified to see a story about “individuals society often forgets” be recognized, given that media “often highlights the crimes but not the individuals.”

“I wanted to tell the users’ stories in a way that any average reader would feel a connection,” he said. “Maybe it reminded them of a friend, a brother or a mother. I think the story managed to do that on some level."

Nicole Trejo-Valli, a senior and Pulse’s editor in chief is the creator of the revamped website, which was a finalist for Best Affiliated Website.  Trejo-Valli was also part of the three-person team who wrote the winning nonfiction magazine article, “Sexual Assault: What's Behind the Rise in Reports on Campus?”

"Seeing the growth of our multimedia content, and now the recognition for our website, is incredible,” said Trejo-Valli. “As a team, we always put everything into what we're producing, which makes my job easier."

Jack Lambert and Taylor Morrell were finalists in the Photo Illustration category for "We're Still Students," which ran with a piece about issues and high turnover in Central’s resident assistants.

For a complete listing of award winners in SPJ’s 2016 Mark of Excellence contest, visit

The Department of Communication at CWU boasts modern broadcast facilities where students can practice every aspect of broadcast and audio production, and labs equipped with the latest editing and design software used in professional newsrooms. Journalism degrees are built on hands-on experience covering real news that’s published across a variety of platforms under the guidance of experienced faculty and staff.

Media contact: Dawn Alford, public affairs coordinator, 509-963-1484,


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