The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC newspaper wins top collegiate honor

Former student publications director Eddye Gallagher hangs The Collegian’s 2017 ACP Pacemaker award Nov. 3 in the newsroom. Photo by Peter Matthews/The Collegian

By Raegan Scharfetter/managing editor

The Collegian was awarded the top honor of college journalism, the Pacemaker Award, for the first time since 1999.

The Associated Collegiate Press annually awards websites, newspapers, yearbooks and magazines based on their coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership and design. The Collegian was one of 23 student newspapers in the U.S. and Canada to receive the award Oct. 28 at the National College Media Convention in Dallas.

People underestimate the stress that goes into getting an issue out every single week, spring 2017 editor-in-chief Katelyn Needham said. Writers have to race against the clock, and editors don’t always have an easy time to pull that off, she said.

“Working there honestly helped me grow more as a person than any other job I have worked at,” Needham said. “It taught me a lot about myself and the drive I have to succeed. I found my voice as a writer, and it helped me to see that I can be successful in the field I love.”

Jamil Oakford, who was editor-in-chief throughout 2016, said even though it’s been a while since the newspaper won the Pacemaker, The Collegian has consistently produced top-notch content.

“In every way, Dylan Bradley, Kenneth Kost, Hope Sandusky and countless other editors-in-chief in between, as well as their staffs, have contributed to the Pacemaker Award this year,” she said. “I think we saw the content they consistently put out. And we knew how hard they worked to get to where they were and then we aspired to be there as well.”

Former student publications director Eddye Gallagher and current student publications director Chris Whitley are like the bumper rails on a bowling lane, Oakford said.

“If they see us running into a gutter, they typically always helped staff members readjust course, which is incredibly helpful,” she said. “I think for me, personally, it was the amount of faith and encouragement they offered on an almost daily basis that helped me push forward.

“It’s a nerve-wracking experience to come up with a story idea and then present it for consideration for the paper, even when I was editor-in-chief. Nobody likes to be told their idea won’t work. But Eddye and Chris always listened and gave advice and tips on how to approach that story or story idea.”

Gallagher retired this summer after teaching at TCC for 47 years. She was honored that her last staff took home the big prize.

“I was thrilled to tears,” Gallagher said. “I always believed The Collegian was Pacemaker-quality. It is very exciting that the staff was finally recognized. There are such few schools like TCC.”

It was the icing on the cake to Gallagher. There is a huge sense of relief and pride, she said.

“I knew that the staff was good, and I wanted everyone to know since there was so much to cover on five separate campuses and so little staff,” Gallagher said. “It was rushed and crazy and a little harsh, but it was so they could grow and do great things.”

The Collegian also won second place in Best Two-Year College Media Outlet of the Year and third place in Best Two-Year Website of the Year in the College Media Association Pinnacle Awards.

The Collegian’s last edition on Oct. 25 placed third in the convention’s Best of Show competition among two-year schools nationwide.

This is the third time The Collegian has won the Pacemaker, having won it in 1996 and 1999. The paper has been a finalist four times since then but hasn’t won until now.

Journalism is important, and it is also important for future journalists to stay true and remember their code of ethics, especially in today’s world, Gallagher said.

“I don’t miss those long 10-hour days, that’s for sure, and I definitely sleep a little bit more,” she said. “But this paper has done remarkable work, and I wish everyone the best.”

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