May 4, 1998
The award-winning staff of City on a Hill Press and Primer
By Barbara McKenna
UCSC student journalists produced some of the best work in the region and country last year, according to two leading journalism associations. The two organizations presented multiple awards to the student-run City on a Hill Press (CHP) and its year-opening supplement, Primer,for work produced in 1997.
The student staff of CHP and Primer earned a whopping nine Gold Circle Awards in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's (CSPA) national contest and received first-place and second-place rankings in the Mark of Excellence contest sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists Region XI Chapter. (View names of the UCSC award winners)
The CSPA Gold Circle Awards competition is sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism and is the largest and most respected awards competition nationwide for student print media. This year's contest attracted 10,725 entries from colleges, universities, and senior high schools throughout the U.S.
The Society of Professional Journalists is the largest professional organization of working journalists in the country. Region XI covers California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands. In this year's Mark of Excellence contest, Primer won first place as "best all-around" for annual student magazines and CHP won second place as "best all-around" in the non-daily newspaper category. Editors of the award-winning publications were senior Karin Wanless (Primer) and senior Seth Meisels (CHP).
"These are the top professional and educational journalism organizations in the country," said Conn Hallinan, a UCSC lecturer in writing who advises the students at CHP. "We're pretty happy to receive this level of recognition. Since I came to the campus in 1981, the paper has won numerous awards but we've never seen anything like this in terms of the number of awards and their ranking."
CHP is produced weekly as a 28- to 40-page tabloid. The paper is written and managed entirely by students under guidance from faculty and staff advisers. The student staff is trained through UCSC's journalism program--the only undergraduate journalism program in the UC system. Students in the program graduate with a minor in journalism and a bachelor's degree that may be earned in variety of disciplines.
"I think one reason we do so well in these competitions is because we emphasize critical thinking and reading as well as writing skills," said Roz Spafford, a UCSC lecturer in writing who also advises in the program. "Another reason is that our students don't just learn to write by formula. We advocate that they become expert in an outside field, whether it's economics or art or literature or medicine, and learn to write using historical and social context. In that way I think our students are unique."
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