CWU News

Observer Named Best of Show at National Convention

CWU student journalists who produce The Observer newspaper added another national award to their collection. The first-place Best of Show honor came at the 2016 National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C.

The Associated Collegiate Press presents the Best of Show award to convention participants representing college newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, websites, and multimedia packages that showcase general excellence.

The Observer won with its second issue of fall quarter, which featured The Weed Limit, a package about driving under the influence of marijuana. In the contest for weekly newspapers — the biggest category — The Observer bested weeklies from colleges with more than three times the enrollment as CWU.

McKenzie Lakey, The Observer's editor-in-chief, also got second place in the "D.C. Shootout" for her nighttime shot at the base of the Washington Monument. Her photo and others have been sent to 120 professional photojournalists across the country, who will critique and rank them.

“The editors and staffers on the paper this fall are all pretty new to their jobs, but they have produced a string of papers that are some of the best I've seen in my 12 years at Central," said Professor Cynthia Mitchell, who advises The Observer. "When we were taking a picture with the first-place trophy, one of the judges stopped to tell us that there'd been 'no discussion' about which paper should win. She said the paper had, cover to cover, done a great job of covering issues that students would want to read about. I could not be prouder of these students!"

Student journalists who produce Pulse, CWU’s lifestyle magazine, also sent a delegation to the convention. Pulse was one of 22 finalists (out of nearly 100 entries) up for ACP’s national Pacemaker award.

The Observer’s Best of Show award comes on the heels of a National Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in May, for its photo of a Black Lives Matter protest on campus. The Observer and Pulse also won several regional awards in the spring.

The digital journalism program at CWU boasts modern facilities where students can practice every aspect of publishing and broadcasting. Labs are appointed with the latest editing and design software, and broadcast and audio production equipment used in professional newsrooms. The digital journalism degree, with specializations in either writing and reporting or broadcasting, is built on hands-on experience covering real news and features that are published across a variety of platforms.

Media contact: Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841,

November 1, 2016