Student Newspaper Wins Top Honors at College Journalism Conference

ATLANTA — The Signal, Georgia State University’s student newspaper, has added more than a dozen journalism awards this semester to its growing list of accolades.

The Georgia College Press Association (GCPA) recognized The Signal with seven top prizes and its “General Excellence” award in a ceremony in Athens, Ga., on Feb. 2, and more top honors followed at the Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC) in Jackson, Tenn., on Feb. 23.

Georgia State’s student journalists won recognition not only for their writing and photography, but also for The Signal’s layout and design, advertising and overall improvement. Photographer Graham Robson and writers Courtney Boyd, Savanna Keo and Laura Apperson each placed first in their categories at GCPA, and Sabastian Wee and Chris Shattuck garnered first prize nods in the SEJC “Best of the South” awards. Georgia State student media groups GSTV and WRAS also took home SEJC honors.The Signal staff has worked extremely hard in the past year, so it’s humbling to be recognized by professional journalists and our peers,” said Editor-in-Chief Sabastian Wee. “But our mission remains the same: to continue doing the best we can to serve the Georgia State community.”

The paper has participated in the GCPA Better Newspaper contest for more than 50 years, competing against some of the largest major college newspapers in the state.

“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 adviser. “The quality of the paper has improved tremendously.”

In the past year the newspaper has increased its circulation to more than 5,500 papers a week and expanded its distribution to include the streets of Atlanta. The Signal’s success comes as the paper celebrates its 80th year of publishing on campus.

The Signal and its staff members are making a concerted effort to become a stronger presence in the collegiate student media landscape. Three Signal staff members were elected to the GCPA board for 2013 — including Wee, who will serve as the organization’s president — and Georgia State has been selected to host the 2015 SEJC conference.

The Signal hosted its own educational outreach program last September with its inaugural two-day Modern Media Conference, the largest regional college media convention in the Southeast, bringing in more than 25 speakers from top national and local media outlets.

“I was incredibly proud of the students for putting both feet forward on making the idea become a reality,” McNeil said. “They get out there and take chances, which is really exciting and part of becoming better journalists.  I see an even brighter future ahead for the paper and website.”