Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

letter from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA)

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The Beacon has won First Place in several categories, including Best Website, in the annual Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators (PNAJE) Awards. The winning content is especially noteworthy because the students produced all of it from a “virtual newsroom.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the campus to shut down and moved classes online in Spring 2020, Beacon staff doubled down on reporting, relying heavily on Zoom, Slack, Google Docs and phone calls to collaborate. Although campus partially reopened for Spring Semester 2021, classes remained virtual and so did Beacon operations.

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic was (and continues to be) such a looming presence that there was a COVID-19 angle in many of the stories The Beacon did in the 2020-21 academic year.

Scroll to see The Beacon winners in the PNAJE awards.

First Place:

General News Reporting“What did I just eat? “ – Kate Cuadrado

Feature Reporting- “Zoom fatigue and all-nighters- Online learning takes a toll on students’ mental health” – Carlos Fuentes

Personality Profile “Battling cancer in a global pandemic”– Haviland Stewart

Sports Feature Reporting“I’m not going to sit around and just do nothing” – William Seekamp

Review- Megan Rapinoe’s ‘One Life’ tells a story of wins, losses and finding the balance” – Carlos Fuentes

News Photo “Toxic air fills The Bluff” – Ryan Reynolds

Headline writing “If COVID doesn’t take you out, can I?” – Haviland Stewart

Best use of multimedia storytelling“Interactive Graphics: Pandemic brings salary cut and furloughs to UP” – Austin De Dios

Best websiteThe Beacon

Second Place:

Comprehensive CoverageVP blows the whistle on ‘racism, sexism and tokenism’ in upper administration -Austin De Dios and Gabi DiPaulo

Individual Commentary What the pandemic has taught me about loneliness” – Mia Werner

Photo Illustration“Computers get Zoom fatigue too” – Brennan Crowder

Best Use of Multimedia Storytelling-

Timeline: In honor of the Class of 2021, watch the last four years unfold” – Gabi DiPaulo

Third Place

Personality Profile“From UP student to Pilot landlord” – Brie Haro

Sports Photo “Miles Robinson fight for the ball” – Molly Lowney

Honorable Mention

Personality ProfileArlene Goetze: Past and present” – Sadie Wuertz

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Pinnacle Awards 2020-21

UPDATE 10/19/2021– The College Media Association has announced the Pinnacle Award winners, and The Beacon placed in several categories:

First Place – Best Feature Story (Carlos Fuentes)

Second Place- Best Arts and Entertainment Story (Havi Stewart)

Second Place- Best Photo Package (Molly Lowney)

Third Place- Online Breaking News Coverage (William Seekamp, Andrew Gotshall, Havi Stewart, Ryan Reynolds, Molly Lowney)


Several Beacon pieces from the last academic year are finalists in the Pinnacle Awards, a national collegiate competition sponsored by the College Media Association.

Best Breaking News Coverage

Last February’s multimedia coverage of the massive power outage that hit the UP campus is a finalist in the category of Best Breaking News Coverage.

Many Beacon staffers, including the editor-in-chief (Gabi DiPaulo) and the news and managing editor (Austin De Dios) had no electricity, heat, wifi or phone service at the time.

Then-sports editor William Seekamp took on the leadership challenge and moved to another location so he could coordinate news coverage, with help from Havi Stewart, Andrew Gotshall, Ryan Reynolds and Molly Lowney.

The breaking news coverage included a video by Andrew Gotshall about the Bon Appetit staff’s efforts to feed cold, hungry students in The Commons, even those who lived off campus.

The power outage coverage included many elements besides lack of electricity. One student was temporarily trapped in a dorm elevator. Pipes burst and caused flooding in another residence hall.

Best Photo Package

Molly Lowney is a finalist for Best Photo Package. Her photos accompanied Havi Stewart’s profile of a student who had undergone cancer treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Best Feature Story

Carlos Fuentes is a finalist for Best Feature Story for his piece about the challenges professors with children faced while teaching from home

Best Arts and Entertainment Story

Havi Stewart’s profile of a UP graduate student who also happens to be the “reigning world air guitar champion” is a finalist for Best Arts and Entertainment story.

The College Media Association will announce the winners at its (virtual) convention in mid-October.

To see all finalists for Online Pinnacle Awards, go here.

To see all finalists for Writing Pinnacle Awards, go here.

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Winners to be announced June 8. More information here.

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The Beacon has won five Gold Circle Awards for digital media in a variety of multimedia categories. These awards draw entries from schools around the country, including large universities with major journalism programs. The Gold Circle Awards are sponsored by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, which is based at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York City. The entry period covered content published between Oct. 2, 2019 and Oct. 12, 2020.

FIRST PLACESingle Spot News Photograph : Ryan Reynolds for “Toxic air fills The Bluff”

SECOND PLACE Podcast: Jennifer Ng, Molly Lowney for “What on Earth?”

SECOND PLACEVideo Feature Package: Taylor Ursulum, “The Beacon reflects on Student Press Freedom Day”

THIRD PLACEInteractive Graphic: Brennan Crowder, “2020 Summer recap: Everything that’s happened since COVID-19 shutdown campus”


THIRD PLACE Photo Illustration: Brennan Crowder, “Computers get Zoom fatigue too”

The judges also awarded Certificates of Merit for the following:

First Person Experience: Mia Werner, “Anti-Semitism at UP: We must condemn bigotry always”

Personality Profile: Havi Stewart, “Isley Cachero: Fighting to be the 1%”

Sports Feature: Lindsey Warren, “A chance to get off the hamster wheel: Fall sports coaches share how coaching and their lives changed during the COVID-19 pandemic”

Photo Slideshow: Molly Lowney, “Environmental Justice Immersion brings revelations from UP’s backyard”

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The Beacon has won four First Place awards in the 2021 regional Mark of Excellence competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The contest involved college media outlets from five states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. The following now advance to the national SPJ Mark of Excellence competition.

FIRST PLACE Breaking News Reporting* – Gabi DiPaulo for “Administrator goes public with concerns about racism and sexism within UP administration”

*colleges and universities with enrollment below 10,000

FIRST PLACE Data Visualization- Austin De Dios for his portfolio of interactive data visualizations including from this story on COVID-19 furloughs and salary cuts.

FIRST PLACE Podcast- Molly Lowney, Jennifer Ng for “What on Earth: Food for Thought” (episode 5)

FIRST PLACE Feature Writing*- Mia Werner “Chasing Ice with the U.S. Coast Guard”

*colleges and universities with enrollment below 10,000


Several other Beacon staffers were finalists (Second or Third Place) in the regional competition:

Breaking News Reporting

Carlos Fuentes – “Over 200 Bon App workers lose their jobs at UP”

General News Reporting

Carlos Fuentes – COVID-19 testing available at UP; information not so much

In-depth Reporting

Brie Haro – “Pilots on the front lines seeking change”

Feature Writing

Molly Lowney – “Going viral: UP students find fame and fortune on TikTok”

Feature Photography

Ryan Reynolds – “Stop reading this and go outside” (slideshow)

Beacon photojournalist Ryan Reynolds

Photo Illustration

Brennan Crowder – “Computers get Zoom fatigue too”

General Column Writing (team entry):

Jennifer Ng – “Why I’m not watching Disney’s live-action Mulan

Mia Werner – “Anti-Semitism at UP: We must condemn bigotry in the classroom always”

Laura Heffernan – “OCD is not an adjective”

Sports Writing

Kyle Garcia – “Chase Adams steps up as glue of the family as grandmother battles coronavirus”

William Seekamp – “I’m not going to just sit back and do nothing”

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This just happened…

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Dora Totian (’20) leads a training session at Beacon Boot Camp training in August 2019. She recently won the Snowden Ethics Award.


Dora Totoian, 2019-20 Beacon Opinion Editor and reporter, has won one of two annual Snowden Ethics Awards, given each year to select interns in the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. The Snowden program, named after a former editor of The Oregonian and Oregon Journal, places young journalists in paid summer internships in media organizations around Oregon.

Journalistic ethics are a main focus of the competitive Snowden program, which is based at the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. The summer internship program accepts applications from students from any Oregon college or university who have completed a basic reporting course or worked at a campus publication. (Dora started as a reporter at The Beacon her freshman year.)

During her internship, Dora worked as a reporter at the News-Register in McMinnville, where she managed to (safely!) cover a wide variety of stories including the COVID-19 pandemic at a local level, wildfires, protests and politics. Infused in the daily challenge of reporting on community events and issues are ethical case studies that require Snowden interns to reflect on issues journalists confront in their work.

No one who worked with Dora at The Beacon would be surprised that among the 18 Snowden interns, Dora stood out for her ethical practices and reflections.

Below is video of the announcement of her award, which, due to the pandemic, occurred at a virtual reception on Zoom. Typically, this event is a catered affair at the UO Agora Journalism Center in downtown Portland.

Hear what UO Associate Professor of Journalism and Snowden Program Co-Coordinator Nicole Dahmen said about Dora:

“Her writing was excellent, her thought process and ethical reasoning were solid. In addition, she raised ethical questions for us to consider and think about.”

-Nicole Dahmen, UO journalism professor on Dora Totoian

This was the second time in recent years a Beacon staffer has won the Snowden Ethics Award.

2017-18 Editor-in-Chief Rachel Rippetoe won the award after her Snowden internship at the Eugene Register-Guard during the summer of 2017.

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Update: Kyle Garcia took First Place for Best Sports Column. Dora Totoian took Second Place for Best Editorial. The Beacon engagement efforts led by Natalie Nygren, Ally Weberg, Dora Totoian and Claire Desmarais won an Honorable Mention.

Also, The Beacon received two Honorable Mentions in the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) 2020 Pacemaker Individual Awards for Story of the Year in the following categories: Ernie Pyle Human Interest Profile- Mia Werner for this story ; Sports Feature- Kyle Garcia for this story

The Beacon is a finalist in three categories in the 2019-20 Pinnacle Awards sponsored by the College Media Association (CMA).

This year for the first time, CMA invited entries for Best Campus Engagement. The Beacon is in the finals along with student media at the University of South Carolina, Texas State University and Southeast Missouri State University.

Engagement encompasses social media, crowdsourcing, events and other ways The Beacon interacts with the UP community. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down campus last spring, audience engagement was even more challenging. But Beacon leadership rose to the occasion, leaning in to the virtual landscape.

Below is a summary of The Beacon’s 2019-20 engagement efforts led by Natalie Nygren, Ally Weberg, Claire Desmarais and Dora Totoian.

2019-2020 Opinion Editor Dora Totian is a Pinnacle finalist for Best Editorial. Other finalists in that category are from the University of Alabama, California State University – Fullerton and Auburn University.

Last year’s Sports Editor Kyle Garcia is up for Best Sports Column. Other finalists come from the University of Miami, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania and University of Kentucky.

CMA will announce the Pinnacle winners Oct. 23.

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Update: Fiona O’Brien’s profile of Fr. Claude Pomerleau won Second Place for Best Profile. Anush Hakobyan’s piece won Third Place for Best Column.

Two Beacon pieces are in the running for national writing awards from the College Media Association.

A profile of beloved political science professor Fr. Claude Pomerleau written four months before he died is a finalist for a Pinnacle Award for Best Profile. Reporter Fiona O’Brien wrote the piece, “Eyewitness to history.”

“Being open to changes,” an opinion piece by reporter Anush Hakobyan is a finalist for Best Column. Anush’s piece is about her experience as an immigrant from Armenia, and what’s she’s learned from the challenge of leaving everything familiar behind.

Pinnacle Award winners will be announced at the Fall National College Media Convention Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C.

See the full list of Pinnacle finalists for writing awards here.

Anush story

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