By Harry Rowe | Staff Writer
The Baylor Lariat won its first ever Pacemaker award, which is an award given to the top collegiate journalism publications in the country. Seventeen other individual placement awards and honorable mentions were given out for both The Lariat and Baylor’s Focus Magazine from the Associated Collegiate Press at the National College Media Convention.
The convention for 2018 was held in Louisville from Oct. 25 to 28 and consisted of awards given out to universities across the nation for various forms of media excellence. Focus Magazine, a magazine published by Baylor students, was a finalist in the magazine pacemaker category.
“We’re really excited to get these awards. The Pacemaker award is enormous,” Julie Reed, assistant media advisor for Baylor student media said. “It is the most prestigious honor that they give in college media, so this is every publication all over the nation, and we got the online pacemaker which really goes to show that what they’re doing by becoming a digital first publication is working.”
The Lariat, which has been around since 1900, has gone through some major changes in the last decade or so. Since The Lariat was once a publication that printed four newspapers a week, Reed explained that their entire model had to change.
“We made a big push last year; we changed our whole publication model and went from four days a week in print publication down to two days a week because our readership was shifting, and so we decided to put our effort where the readership is — which is online,” Reed said. “We have still a print presence, and we have a print audience, but it’s generally a little bit of a different audience than what we have online.”
The Lariat is constantly pushing out material for its readership, which includes a lot of content. From sports to national and local news, Reed said there’s a lot for readers of The Lariat to experience.
“We’ve poured tons of energy into making sure that we have content going up throughout the day and not just at the end of the night,” Reed said. We have content going up on the weekends, sports coverage as it’s happening. We have sports radio, we have podcasting and play by play that’s also coming through the website. We have multiple social media accounts that are also getting piped through the website, so there’s just a lot going on there.”
Phoenix senior and editor-in-chief of The Lariat Molly Atchison enjoyed one of the articles that received an honorable mention for story of the year. The story by Kristina Valdez talks about the Me Too movement and how it relates to the death of Hugh Hefner. She describes it as “a dynamic opinion piece with a very relatable message and lots of depth to it.” She is proud of the hard work the Lariat staff has put into producing good content and informing the community for events and issues they want to know about.
“The awards ceremonies are a huge point of celebration. It’s a chance for newspapers all over the country to come together and be inspired by each other and to show each other why we deserve to be considered the top college newspapers in the country,” Atchison said. “The pacemaker is a huge, extremely prestigious award, and I think that for our publication to win it in the online category speaks volumes to our dedication to a digital first focus, as well as to the talent and expertise of our staff. It’s an honor to be considered one of the highest performing papers in the country — in coverage and innovation.”