Excalibur takes second spot in Associated Collegiate Press competition

Excalibur, York University’s student newspaper, has racked up another win, cruising to a second place finish in the Best of Show Four-Year Weekly Tabloid category at the 25th Annual Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Midwinter National College Journalism Convention last month in San Diego.

The convention attracted participants from across the US and several from Canada. York’s student newspaper beat entries from New York, Florida, California, New Hampshire, Texas and Massachusetts for the prize, based on its layout, content and editorial.

“I think what stood out was we had a colourful cover. I think the judges like something a little more creative,” says Subha Arulvarathan, editor-in-chief of Excalibur and a fourth-year English student at York. “Everyone does the standard layout.”

Left: The winning issue of Excalibur

York’s diversity was also evident within the pages of the newspaper, something Arulvarathan calls another plus that helped catch the judges attention.

The contest judges were journalists or professionals with media-related job experience and knowledge who reviewed the entries and decided the winners independently of the ACP. ACP is a division of the National Scholastic Press Association, a non-profit educational association based in Minnesota which provides journalism education services to students, teachers and media advisers.

Arulvarathan is not unhappy about missing out on first place. “I think that we got second will motivate us. There are places where we can improve.”

Last year, Excalibur placed third in the Best of Show Four-Year Weekly Tabloid category at the ACP National College Media Convention in Kansas City and second at the ACP Midwinter National College Newspaper Convention in San Francisco (see YFile, Feb. 23).

The ACP promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism, provides journalism education training programs, publishes journalism education materials and provides media critique and recognition programs for members. It informs members about new developments in journalism and student media, and provides a forum for them to communicate with others as well as to share their work.

The ACP also hosts regular conferences where student-run media outlets can learn how to make their newspapers better and how to incorporate multimedia effects. Contributors, staff writers and volunteers can all benefit from the learning.

ACP is the largest and oldest national membership association for college student media in the US. More than 20,000 student journalists work on the staff of an ACP member publication.