New award-winning website brings together student writing, photography, video and audio news coverage

Mar 24, 2014

The talents of North Central College students again garnered national recognition with a first-place award for a new student-run website, The College Media Association held a convention and awards ceremony March 15 in New York City and North Central’s Chronicle staff competed among schools of all sizes in the online award category. In its first time competing there, The Chronicle came away with a David L. Adams Apple Award for Best Homepage for, which incorporates news stories, arts reviews, video and audio, Instagram images and a Twitter feed. The new site packages the multimedia content in a way that makes it very user-friendly.

“This is a big honor and I want to acknowledge the amazing work of the student staff in making this award a reality,” says Kay O’Donnell, assistant professor of journalism. “They’ve developed a rhythm and strategy to cover events that go far beyond the print edition.”

Among the students behind the award-winning effort is WONC-FM station manager Kevin Jackman ’14, who is majoring in broadcast communication and interactive media studies. He previously worked on the WONC website and O’Donnell approached him for his help with recruiting students and finding resources to expand multimedia content for The Chronicle.

“The goal was to go beyond posting Chronicle print stories and add instant news coverage, social media, video and audio,” Jackman says. “We have students posting live news from events and we’ve been able to add elements like video restaurant reviews and WONC sports interviews.”

Plans for the new site began last spring when O’Donnell met with students to gather input and choose a name. She designed a template of the site last summer using WordPress. The students began populating the site with content during fall term and honed their efforts during winter term—enough so to win national recognition. The site has received upwards of 15,000 views over six months.

The College Media Association is a national organization that supports professionals and students who create student-produced media on college and university campuses. “The awards in the online category were given without consideration to size, resources or staff,” adds O’Donnell. Second and third places went to Baylor University and Appalachian State University, respectively.

Since receiving the recognition, the staff was contacted via Facebook about scholarship opportunities from the Radio Television Digital News Foundation.