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The Best of Indy Campus Journalism

The following stories were chosen as the best independent campus reporting and commentary by a panel of distinguished editors and writers.
 
 
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The Independent Press Association's Campus Journalism Project is pleased to announce the winners of the 2006 Campus Independent Journalism Awards.

These writers and publications are commended for their commitment to intrepid reporting, fearless investigation and critique of power, and giving voice to the voiceless on their campuses and in their communities. Winning writers sussed out nuanced political trends, discovered racist practices among local authorities, and took a hard look at local politicians, activists and programs. They also made sense of the links between campus culture and surrounding communities. All of this was done in the face of increasing scrutiny of college campuses by partisan organizations and often in spite of budget cuts and lack of funding.

This year's awards are made possible by the generous sponsorship of Mother Jones magazine, The Nation , the Columbia Journalism Review , Greg Palast Journalism and Film, Chelsea Green Publishing, and Altar magazine.

The Campus Independent Journalism Awards (CIJA) recognize excellence in socially engaged journalism on college and university campuses. These awards highlight the contributions of student publishers and journalists to free thought within their campus communities.

2006 Campus Independent Journalism Award Winners

Best Independent Campus Publication of the Year with a Budget over $10,000
The Wake
(University of Minnesota)

The Wake is a publication that really lives up to its mission statement, "to cover what matters to our generation." With each well-crafted issue, The Wake covers considerable ground, from national politics to sports to campus culture in a way that's relevant to the campus community. All elements, from the table of contents to the headlines to illustrations work holistically to create a publication that's vital, easy to navigate, always unpredictable and a pleasure to read.

Best Independent Campus Publication of the Year with a Budget under $10,000
The Environmental Leadership Magazine
(Yale University)

True to its mission, this gorgeously designed publication has the feel of a collage created from hand-made paper and found or recycled scraps. Though the design may look rough-hewn, the content is anything but. This small zine features moving essays, solid investigative pieces and compelling editorials on a truly diverse array of topics. Though always firmly grounded in its environmental theme, ELM manages to deliver a blend of voices and topics, making it appealing to a wide swath of campus readers.

Design
The College Hill Independent
(Brown University)

This expertly designed paper consistently surprises with illustrations and cartoons that range from the sartorial to the lushly beautiful to the downright eclectic. The clean, professional-looking layout invites readers into the text. Editors of the paper solicit a large number of students to contribute illustrations, making for an aesthetic that's fresh and yet consistent over various issues. Though the level of artistry is often high, images are never abstracted from the content or mission of the paper. The inventive use of images to wrap the front and back covers, plus the unfailing quality of the cartoons all come together to make the paper a standout in the design category.

Website
The Wake
(University of Minnesota)

This website's clean layout and simple, attractive design make it easy for readers to access its rich menu of blogs, pictures and forums. With an active blog scene, always current content, a rich offering of images and extensive multimedia projects, the website makes excellent use of the possibilities of its medium and adds another dimension to an already excellent publication.

Investigative Reporting
Dartmouth Free Press
(Dartmouth College)
Carlos Mejia
"More Than Misquoted"

Mejia tenaciously probes allegations of journalistic misconduct at Dartmouth's daily newspaper, the Dartmouth, in this bold investigative piece. He evenhandedly lays out a pattern of misquoting, biased headlines, refusals to print letters to the editors containing objections to content and even the insertion of new phrases into other letters selected for print. Mejia's compelling piece is not only well-sourced and important to a local community, it's an implicit argument for the necessity of alternative news sources on college campuses.

Political Commentary
PeacePower
(University of California, Berkeley)
Sujal Parikh
"A New Vision of Justice"

Parikh's impassioned meditation on the death penalty, which compares the efficacy of capital punishment with methods of rehabilitation, or "restorative justice," makes a cogent yet firm case against the death penalty. Marshaling an impressive array of sources, Parikh pushes ethical, economic and pragmatic reasoning toward a vision for a workable solution. Clearheaded and logical, Parikh still manages to deploy a riveting writing style that makes for a compelling argument and an engaging read.

Features
Jaded
(University of California, Irvine)
Patrick Appel
"Safety First"

Appel gives readers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the gated communities just beyond the boundaries of U.C. Irvine's campus and in so doing points to the social disconnection between the Irvine campus and the world around it. His succinct and to-the-point style belies the sophisticated points he makes about the compromise between safety and freedom, aesthetic regulation and creativity.

Artwork / Cartoons
The Declaration
(University of Virginia)
Michael Hagos
"This One's for the Kids"

This beautifully drawn and expertly laid out cartoon takes a sharp look at sociosexual politics at the University of Virginia campus. Hagos' glib send-up unmasks the racial tensions lurking behind the predominantly white, indie rock, P.C. cultures on campus. Unlike many political cartoons, it avoids hammering on a single point. Rather, it discomfits readers, provoking them to think about their own pretensions to open-mindedness or avowed lack of prejudices.

Environmental Coverage
The Declaration
(University of Virginia)
Karina Janika
"Trash Talk"

Janika puts classic investigative reporting techniques to work in her engaging expose on the destiny of recyclable garbage in Charlottesville, N.C. Janika unflinchingly examines her own campus' role in the problem of dumping recyclables, and incorporates social, economic and political factors to paint a broader picture. In vivid prose, she shows how the problems of ineffective local legislation, the cost inefficiency of recycling, and ignorance and apathy on the part of the community make for a broken system.

Women / Gender Issues Coverage
Ad Hoc
(Columbia College)
Alex Jung
"Living Up to the Brochure"

Jung's engaging meditation on privilege and institutional sexism and one university's attempt to undo it, asks critical questions about the powers of institutions to create, enforce, restrain or breakdown the power of patriarchy. Jung's thorough reportage creates a public record of Columbia University's promise to improve faculty diversity, and sets that promise in the context of the hopes and criticisms of the various stakeholders. By doing so, the article demonstrates the importance of the fourth estate as a creator of public, local and institutional memory.

Race Coverage
The Declaration
(University of Virginia)
Anna Katz
"State of Suspicion"

Katz looks beyond the boundaries of the University of Virginia campus in this thoughtful investigation of how racist assumptions clouded the Charlottesville, N.C., police department's search for a rape suspect. Through investigative reporting, interviews and research, Katz decodes the assumptions leading to the police's collection of DNA samples from hundreds of suspects, and demonstrates the incidents' relevance to University of Virginia students.

Labor / Economic Coverage
Buzzsaw Haircut
(Ithaca College)
Julie Perng
"A Hunger for Ethics"

This well-written and deeply reported piece explores an intriguing debate surrounding the economics of vegetarianism within Ithaca College's activist community. Perng takes a single instance, the question of whether to serve meat at an annual activists' retreat, as a starting point for a nuanced look at the ethics and cost of eating in America. Resisting the temptation to draw simplistic conclusions, Perng honors the subjective economic experiences of her wide range of sources, and by doing so deftly gets at the relative experience of spending, expense and eating.

GLBT Coverage
Buzzsaw Haircut
(Ithaca College)
Meagan Murray
"Paradox Found"

In this rumination on stereotypes, gay rights and local politics, Murray tells the tale of one upstate New York town's support for its gay Republican mayor. Grounding her narrative in personal terms, Murray introduces her examination of the complexities of political allegiances with an irreverent look at her own family's set of prejudices. In her willingness to show the many facets of her mayor and town's personalities, Murray demonstrates a creativity and a willingness to think deeply about the implications of local politics not often seen in the national independent press.

Judges:

Craig Aaron is the communications director of Free Press -- the national, nonpartisan media reform group.

Brian Awehali is the founder and editor of LiP Magazine, an award-winning North American quarterly devoted to radical politics, culture, sex and humor.

Julia Bloch is a contributing editor at Curve, the nation's best-selling lesbian magazine.

Joseph Connelly is publisher of VegNews magazine.

Kim Corrigan directs the YES! Magazine Education Connection program, a nationwide effort to inform and inspire educators with the positive, practical stories in YES! Magazine.

Jen Hazen is the sex editor of Venus, an independent publication that focuses on women in music, art, film, fashion and DIY culture.

Daisy Hernandez is the senior editor of ColorLines magazine and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism.

Jacqueline Lalley is a writer and a communications consultant for nonprofits. She is a contributor to The Onion , Bitch Magazine and other publications.

Laura Nathan is the editor of INTHEFRAY Magazine, an online magazine concerning identity and community.

Debbie Rassmussen is the publisher of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture.

Judy Rudrud is president and publisher for Utne magazine (formerly Utne Reader).

Barbara Sehr has been online editor for YES! Magazine since the fall of 2005.

Jeremy Adam Smith is a writer and indy media consultant. He founded the Campus Journalism Project and worked as the former publisher of Dollars and Sense Magazine .

Emily Udell is co-anchor and co-producer of In These Times magazine's monthly radio show, Fire on the Prairie.

Audrey Webb is the associate publisher of Earth Island Journal and editor of IslandWire, a monthly e-mail newsletter about environmental issues.