CWU News

CWU PULSE and Observer Bring Home Five Best of Show Awards

#YouToo? Virtual RealityCentral Washington University's student-run print publications, PULSE and Observer, recently returned from the Midwinter National College Journalism Convention in Long Beach, California,  with five Best of Show awards.

PULSE placed first in the Multimedia category for #YouToo?--a project based on the #MeToo movement, fourth in the Magazine category, and ninth in Website Small School (enrollment 12,000 or less).

Observer placed fifth in the Weekly Newspaper category--the contest's largest and most competitive--for the 2018 Winter Quarter Issue I, which featured an investigation by senior digital journalism major Eric Rosane, who will be co editor-in-chief spring quarter. The newspaper also placed third in Website Small School. Mariah Valles, a freshman digital journalism major, is the paper's online and social media manager.

"I'm particularly proud because in the Weekly Newspaper, Feature Magazine, and Multimedia categories, we were competing against many schools that are two to four times Central's size that have very large journalism programs," said Observer faculty adviser Cynthia Mitchell, who also runs the Digital Journalism program.

PULSE StaffPULSE's first-place multimedia project #YouToo? provided an immersion into the complexities of sexual assault.

"I was drawn to the idea of creating a VR [virtual reality] experience for our #YouToo story because sexual assault is such a broad, serious topic and one that is hard to describe to others," said PULSE video producer Jocelyn Waite.

Waite's use of VR incorporated an audio interview of a female student recounting her sexual assault. The interview plays as viewers explore 360-degree photographs of the locations like those where the student talks about being harassed, assaulted, and later received treatment. Quotes of the interview: "I pushed him off, I told him to stop, what did you expect?" are dispersed atop of the photographs.

"I do hope that the piece that I created with the help of my friend's account of her sexual-assault experience was able to shed light on the subject and help others understand what it's like," said Waite.

The #YouToo package includes: a virtual reality experience and sidebar story created by Waite (junior, film major); photo gallery by Jack Lambert (senior, digital journalism major); and audio from an interview and story by Jessica Griffin (senior, PR/business major).

"I am proud of my students for their dedication, creativity and hard work on PULSE, which just keeps evolving and improving," said PULSE faculty advisor Jennifer Green. "The multimedia award recognizes a new facet of PULSE's portfolio and represents a push to give coverage and voice to a diversity of stories on campus and reach audiences through as many different channels as we can."

Observer StaffApproximately 600 students from schools across the country attended the March 1-3 conference, put on by the Associated Collegiate Press.

For more information about the Observer newspaper or PULSE magazine contact faculty advisors Cynthia Mitchell at, 509-963-1063, or Jennifer Green at, 509-963-3216, respectively.

The Department of Communication at CWU offers Digital Journalism degrees in broadcast and writing & reporting. 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.

PULSE photo credit: Xander Fu
Front row (l-r): Vanessa Vanessa Cruz, creative director; Elizabeth Mason, graphic designer; Lexi Phillips, editor-in-chief
Back row (l-r): Bailee Wicks, associate editor; Matt Conrardy, graphic designer; Maddie Bush, graphic designer; Ryan Weier, director of photography; Lexi Prante, assistant editor

Observer photo credit: Bradley Wilson
Front row (l-r): Mariah Valles, online & social media manager; Eric Rosane, news editor
Back row (l-r): Alexa Murdock, copy desk chief; Hanson Lee, senior sports reporter; Miles King, sports reporter; Jack Belcher, senior news reporter; Xander Fu, senior photographer and assistant copy desk chief

Media contact: Dawn Alford, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1484,