CWU News

Student journalists take top honors in regional SPJ awards competition

CWU student journalists took top honors in the 2015 Society of Professional Journalists Region 10 Mark of Excellence Awards competition, qualifying them for the national SPJ contest later this year.

Pulse, a student-run lifestyle magazine available online and in print, won best student magazine. Lindsey Wisniewski and Brielle Rutledge each served as editor-in-chief of Pulse during 2015.

Pulse writer Jess Macinko took first in the non-fiction magazine article category with “The Gong Show: Lobby Day.” The story was designed by Laurel Fisher and photographed by Derrick Clarit.

Seth Lonborg was a finalist in the best use of multimedia category for his project “5,588 Miles, One Love,” a profile on fellow CWU student and ‘Burg radio host Tim Nakhisa.

"We are pleased with any external recognition of our students' work, and in this case the first place prizes for Pulse are unprecedented," said Jennifer Green, faculty adviser for Pulse Magazine. "Pulse is a relatively young magazine for our department, and we only just transitioned from online to print this year. These awards give the students all kinds of inspiration to keep doing their best work."

The Observer, CWU’s student-run newspaper, also took home awards. Observer editor-in-chief Jonathan Glover won first place in the breaking news photography category (for institutions with more than 10,000 students) for his coverage of the Black Lives Matter protest in November 2015.

Derrick Clarit took first place in the photo illustration category for “Thin walls” in February 2015 issue. Julia Moreno was a finalist for her story “Historic fire season leads to millions in damage” in October 2015.

"I couldn't be prouder of our student journalists," said Cynthia Mitchell, program coordinator for digital journalism who also advises The Observer. "The SPJ competition has always been stiff, but now it's even stiffer, as we compete in most categories with schools with more than 10,000 students, no matter if they publish daily or every other week. So for our students to win four categories and be a finalist in two more is a real testament to their hard work and talent." 

The Mark of Excellence Awards recognize the best of collegiate journalism. Region 10 is made up of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon. First-place winners move on to the national Mark of Excellence contest to compete among category winners from all 12 SPJ regions.

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

April 19, 2016