'Oracle' places second in general excellence

Henderson State University’s student newspaper, the Oracle, placed second in general excellence among college newspapers at the Arkansas College Media Association’s annual meeting and awards ceremony April 17. General excellence is the top award given by the association.

The Oracle topped student newspapers from the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University, the University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas Tech, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Ouachita Baptist University. First place was awarded to the host school, John Brown University.

This was the Oracle’s strongest showing at the Arkansas College Media Association awards in more than a decade.

The Oracle staff is advised by Dr. Michael Taylor, professor of communication, and led by editor-in-chief Scott McKinnon, a graduating senior communication major. The editorial staff also includes: news editor Moe Skinner, senior mass media major; features editor Devin Anderson, graduating senior music composition major; sports editor Kaitlyn Kitchens, senior mass media major; Views editor Dax Guilliams, senior mass media major; page designer Houston Fryer, graduating senior studio art major; graphic designer Megan Snoddy, graduating senior digital art and design major; and photo editor Chris Sharp, junior digital art and design major.

“We’ve all grown so much as a paper this year, this semester especially,” Anderson said. “Special thanks to Scott, who with a great attitude, kept us on task and focused on our goals.”

An out-of-state panel judged entries for the General Excellence award and required five different issues of the newspaper to be submitted for key aspects of the papers to be judged, including consistency, content, design, and accuracy.

Jeffery Gilmore, fall 2014 graduate and former staff photo editor, was awarded first place in the category of Newspaper Sports Photograph of the Year at the ceremony for a photograph taken during the annual Battle of the Ravine football game against OBU.

For the fall 2014 semester, the Oracle staff made the decision to redesign the newspaper in hopes of making the publication more approachable for students. The transition from the traditional broadsheet layout and style to a more magazine-like tabloid style was led by Fryer during the summer of 2014.

“Houston really deserves a lot of the credit for this award,” McKinnon said. “He was so determined to change the design and come up with something that really stands out over other newspapers. This award, along with the compliments we have received this year, really shows that it was a great decision.”

Since 1908, the Oracle has been the student newspaper of Henderson State. The student editors and students enrolled in the news reporting course and practicum are solely responsible for the content of the Oracle. The paper is produced every Sunday in the Oracle’s Garrison Center office with new issues available on campus every Tuesday. The Oracle also publishes all content online at www.hsuoracle.com.