CWU News

Student Publications Shine at National Journalism Convention

Cover of PULSE Magazine with four women on itCentral Washington University’s student-run publications, PULSE and The Observer, earned three “Best of Show” awards at the recent Midwinter National College Journalism Convention in La Jolla, California.

PULSE won first place in an onsite “Best of Show” competition in the feature magazine category for its Fall 2019 issue, which had a cover story, “Redefining Rape,” focusing on sexual misconduct. The publication competed against universities from across the nation.

The Observer placed 6th in the weekly newspaper category among participating schools with an enrollment of more than 10,000 students, and 7th in the four-year school website category.

“I can’t tell you just how proud I am of the student staff of PULSE,” said adviser Jennifer Green, who teaches digital journalism in the Department of Communication. “This award recognizes the hard work, creativity and collaboration of students from diverse backgrounds working towards a shared goal.”

In a video posted on Facebook immediately after winning the award, PULSE Editor-in-Chief Bailee Wicks, a senior digital journalism major, admitted she was “literally still shaking” after receiving the award.

“The award was for the Fall, Issue 2 ‘Refining Rape’ issue,” she said. “That issue was chockful of hard-hitting stories, great designs, great photography, and I’m so, so proud as the editor-in-chief to be a part of this magazine with this staff as well as be able to bring this award back to CWU.”

Francesco Somaini, adviser to The Observer and a professor of digital journalism, said the two “Best of Show” awards for the staff of The Observer indicated the paper was judged to be among the top college publications in the country.

“The awards recognize the efforts of the hard-working staff of The Observer, who competed against student newspapers from schools that were sometimes much larger,” he said. “This shows that our student writers, photographers, editors, and designers are among the most elite in the nation.”

Observer Editor-in-Chief Mariah Valles, a junior digital journalism major, noted, “Placing where we did shows are moving in the right direction. I’m so proud of The Observer’s staff for pushing a 24-page issue. Prior to this quarter, 16 pages was rarely a thought. First or sixth, I’m so proud to bring home these awards to the newsroom.”

About 700 students from schools across the country attended the three-day conference on February 28-March 2. The event is sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP).

The three Best of Shows awards are just the latest recognition for both PULSE and The Observer. Last year, PULSE earned three awards from ACP as well as several Mark of Excellence honors from the Society of Professional Journalists Region 10. The Observer won multiple awards from the same organization as well as two Best of Show awards from ACP.

Media contact: Richard Moreno, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-2714,