Tennessee Tech University’s student newspaper, The Oracle, can now add the words “award winning” to its masthead.
Industry professionals at the Southeastern Journalism Conference recognized the weekly newspaper and its staff in February.
“Every year, we’ve entered the best student newspaper category and we’ve never won,” said Oracle managing editor Will Housley. “It was great to get some recognition of how much work we put in.”
The newspaper, which is run entirely by students, was named one of the top 10 among entrants from eight states. Former arts and entertainment writer Chuck Acheson was recognized as one of the top 10 writers for his section and Samantha Kendall was in the top five among advertising staff.
“There were much larger schools in the competition. Even for our school’s size, our journalism program is small,” said Holly Cowart, TTU journalism professor and the newspaper’s adviser. “Our student paper holds its own against much larger ones.”
More than 40 universities from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee entered the competition, which also judged student-run magazines, radio stations and yearbooks.
Housley, a junior from Clinton, said he plans to continue working on the Oracle his senior year and will probably be managing editor again. Next year will be challenging for the paper; eight of the 12 staff members will graduate in May.
“There are a lot of things I want to change on the paper, but it’s hard to do mid-year or mid-semester,” he said. “The biggest critique at the awards was that we didn’t have any community news. It won’t be our main focus, but we do want to have it.”