In a record showing, The Signal took home seven of the Georgia College Press Association’s top awards Feb. 2 and reclaimed the coveted “General Excellence” award for the second time in three years.
Competing against some of the largest major college newspapers in the state, The Signal’s success comes as the paper celebrates its 80th year of publishing on campus and more than 50 years of participation in the GCPA’s “Better Newspaper” contest.
The placements followed elections by three Signal staff members to the college newspaper organization’s board. Sabastian Wee, the paper’s editor-in-chief, was also elected 2013 GCPA president after serving a year on the board.
“The Signal‘s staff has worked extremely hard in the past year, so it’s humbling to be recognized by professional journalists and our peers,” Wee said. “But our mission remains the same: to continue doing the best we can to serve the Georgia State community.”
In the past year, the newspaper has increased its circulation to more than 5,500 papers a week and spread out its distribution to include the streets of Atlanta.
In September, The Signal also hosted the largest regional college media convention in the Southeast, its inaugural two-day Modern Media Conference, which brought more than 25 speakers from a variety of top national and local media outlets.
“It’s easily the best The Signal has done in this particular contest and it’s reflective of the initiative the staff has taken,” said Bryce McNeil, the paper’s advisor. “You see that in their service to the GCPA and the field as well: three members on the board, staging several of their own workshops – even their own conference – to learn and educate more.”
This year’s GCPA convention in Athens, Ga., focused on newspaper “convergence,” or the industry trend towards multi-medium publishing and collaboration. Wee and Chris Shattuck, the paper’s marketing manager, participated in a symposium on maintaining an effective web presence following a successful redesign of The Signal’s website last summer.
Staff members that won awards for individual stories include Laura Apperson for Best Entertainment Story, Courtney Boyd and Savanna Keo for Best Entertainment Feature and Graham Robson for Best Editorial/Feature Photograph.
In November, The Signal was recognized at the National College Media Convention as the “Best of Show” in the Associated Collegiate Press’s largest category, four-year weekly tabloid.
The Signal will again be up for awards Feb. 23 at the South Eastern Journalism Conference, where it has been notified it will place in at least 10 categories.