James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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More Whitworthian honors

Posted by James McPherson on April 14, 2010

The student newspaper at Whitworth University has rung up some more regional awards, including being named “Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper” and being cited as having the “Best Affiliated Web Site.” Current opinions editor Jarod Jarvis won the online opinion and commentary category, Aileen Benson placed second for editorial cartooning, and the editorial staff placed second for editorial writing.

I’m less happy with where two other students placed. Jasmine Linabary finished second in the category of online in-depth reporting for her multimedia package on gender at Whitworth. It is simply the best multimedia package I’ve ever seen done by a single journalist, student or professional. Yong Kyle Kim finished third in the same category, with a series about pornography.

So why would I be dissatisfied when Jasmine and Kyle both did so well?  Well, naturally I went online to see what finished first in the category: What I found was a package that had been produced by a team of almost 30 students, three professors and a professional photographer/videographer with a master’s degree who did a multimedia project about the same issue for her master’s thesis.

Worse, as far as I can tell, unless some links have been removed, that woman’s master’s thesis project—an admittedly outstanding package that is linked to the winning project, but which was produced in 2008, outside of the time frame of this year’s competition—provides the only multimedia part of the winning entry.

Finally, of the students involved with the winning project, 16  were law students and two were graduate students. Both Whitworthian projects were produced by individual undergraduate students who were carrying full course loads and serving as student newspaper editors at the same time.

As far as I’m concerned, that makes their achievements far more noteworthy than those of the declared “winners.”

2 Responses to “More Whitworthian honors”

  1. Darla said

    Awesome! Way to go Whitworthians! You must feel sort of like a proud poppa 🙂

  2. James McPherson said

    Indeed I do. Though the paper’s many rewards come directly from the dedication of the students involved and have almost nothing to do with me as advisor, I am willing to bask in their reflected glory. 🙂
    We’re also lucky here that for years we’ve had an administration that is so supportive of student media–treating student feedback in generally as seriously as they should, without taking it more seriously than they should.
    Judging by the experiences of some other institutions, that’s sometimes a tough balance, but something I hope continues with the arrival of a new university president next year.

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