Despite being in its infancy, college newspaper wins award | NevadaAppeal.com
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Despite being in its infancy, college newspaper wins award

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer
Western Nevada Community College journalism student Tim Walsh looks over the spring copy of the Wildcat Press. The newspaper won third place for best all-around magazine published more than once a year in the Society of Professional Journalists Awards of Excellence. The third issue of the newspaper came out this week at the college. Rick Gunn Nevada Appeal
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Three times may be the charm, but for the Wildcat Press it was the first and second issues of publication that won the community college newspaper an award.

“We found we won earlier this semester,” said Western Nevada Community College journalism student Tim Walsh. “With a lot of the other schools that were on (the list), I was surprised we were too.”

The community college, which just recently began to offer journalism classes through teacher Bob Cutts, competed with schools with long-standing journalism programs.

“I thought, wow, this is universities that we’re up against, universities that have established journalism programs,” Cutts said. “There’s no journalism program at our school. I thought that to get something like an honorable mention, we’d be lucky. I thought that getting third place and to be lined up against two universities that have J-schools was a rather pleasing outcome.”

Wildcat Press received third place in its region for best all-around magazine with more-than-once-a-year publication in the annual Mark of Excellence Award offered by the Society of Professional Journalists.

San Francisco State University won first place for its Xpress magazine, and Humboldt State University won second for its magazine, Osprey.

Criteria for the category included overall excellence, accuracy, completeness, ingenuity, writing style and code of ethics. With more than 45 categories available in the contest, few were won by community colleges, according to Cutts.

“I saw only about three of four community colleges on the list,” he said. “We were by far the smallest, and no other schools that I saw were from Nevada.”

Wildcat Press, which was first published in spring 2004 as a full-color newspaper, comes out once a semester. The second edition was black and white, but the third edition, which is available this week on campus, is back to full color.

“I think it’s really important to have something like this to pull the campus together,” said Cutts’ journalism student Joyce Richardson, who has a front-page story about a new art gallery under construction at the school’s Bristlecone Building.

The awards were presented in Palm Springs, Calif., in April. Because of lack of funds, none of Cutts’ students went. First-place winners continue on to nationals, which are this week at the national convention in New York City.

The paper is made possible through the support of the school’s United Students Association, from the chairwoman of the communications and fine-arts department, Michon Mackedon, and President Carol Lucey. Jennifer Hollister, a WNCC graphic design instructor, designed the paper.

Students interested in writing for the paper can sign up for Cutts’ JOUR 201 or 221 class or join the Journalism Club.

“I tell my students to go and sit down for 30 minutes and watch and listen, and come back with three story ideas,” he said.

“They come back with some great ideas.”

n Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at moneill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.