Ouachita Baptist University’s 2012-2013 yearbook, the Ouachitonian, was awarded a Gold Medalist rating from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s annual Medalist Critiques. The yearbook also received All-Columbian honors in each judging category. Gold Medalist and All-Columbian honors are the highest honors available from the CSPA.
“When I heard we received these prestigious honors, I was very excited and proud,” said Ouachitonian Editor-In-Chief Mauri Sparks, a senior Christian studies/Christian ministries and mass communications major from Queen City, Texas. “The Gold Medalist rating and All-Columbian honors show that our dedication and hard work on this book have paid off.”
“Receiving a Gold Medalist rating is important because it reflects the nature of our yearbook,” said Dr. Deborah Root, chair of OBU’s Rogers Department of Communications and faculty adviser to the Ouachitonian. “A yearbook is that one place where you capture an entire year; for the students to do that, and do it well, is a true act of journalism.”
The CSPA is an international student press association that aims to support student journalists and their faculty advisers by providing them with various opportunities to learn and interact. Their Medalist Critiques are a way for students and faculty to receive professional advice for improvement on their publications.
The Ouachitonian received near perfect scores, or All-Columbian honors, in each of the three judging categories. This includes: reference, encompassing the index, title and cover pages; verbal, which entails all written aspects; and visual, which includes the layout and overall design.
“The judges also look at the comments you’ve had in previous years and what you did in response to those comments,” added Root. “It’s an ongoing process of trying to improve your book.”
While the Ouachitonian has earned several honors from the CSPA in years past, Root said it is always a pleasant surprise to receive such positive feedback. “Every year you hold your breath; it is an affirmation that we are doing things the right way as to what’s expected of us.”
“It’s obvious the amount of research and intensive interviewing that goes into a copy of the Ouachitonian,” said the CSPA judge for the book. “The storytelling quotes bring the spirit of the events to life for the reader.”
“Getting recognized by others on the quality of our book reminds me that I have some great people working on the Ouachitonian,” said Sparks. “It reassures me that all the stress and anxiety was worth it in the end.”
The staff members who contributed to the 2012-2013 yearbook include: Community Editor Tori Abellera, a senior mass communications major from Garland, Texas; Sports Editor Ben Cline, a senior mass communications and speech communication major from Little Rock, Ark.; Academics Editor Jake Coffman, a senior music major from Tyronza, Ark.; People Editor Faith Ledbetter, a sophomore pre-nursing major from Arkadelphia, Ark.; Photo Editor Nicole McPhate, a 2013 graduate from Conway, Ark.; Organizations Editor Hannah Shull, a junior mass communications major from Little Rock, Ark.; and Student Life Editor Aly Smith, a junior mass communications and graphic design major from Sherwood, Ark.
For more information, contact Dr. Deborah Root at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5510.
By Taylor Tomlinson