“Landslide Victory” for ORU’s Student Media

by Deborah Laker

award 1The Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association recently honored journalism students from Oral Roberts University for their excellent work in print and digital media.

Throughout the academic year, students from across the state submitted articles to the organization, whose jury of professors and media professionals select the best work in each division. At the awards ceremony that took place at the Oklahoma State University campus, ORU received 19 awards, which Dr. Linda Royall, Director of Student Media, described as a “landslide victory.”

The Oracle, the student-run, monthly newspaper, won 11 awards, with Paige McQueen, Madeline Ewing, and Josh Crow taking first place in editorial writing, investigative reporting, and news photography respectively.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Royall said when asked about her reaction to the newspaper’s success. “Our newspaper is of better quality; our stories are of better quality.”   

ORU’s yearbook The Perihelion was recognized as the best yearbook in Oklahoma, winning six first-place awards for its content, layout, photography, and theme. Each year The Perihelion has a spiritual theme that flows through each article and ties together the experiences of that academic year.

An online magazine known as The Communique that celebrates ORU’s Communication department by telling the stories of teacher, alumni, and current students, also won first place in magazine feature writing.

Abigail Nusbaum, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief at the time said that throughout the school year she was so consumed with interviewing alumni and fact-checking articles that receiving this recognition from OMCA was “a little surprising but very rewarding.”

ORU was awarded more than any other university.

award 2On May 10 at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa, Josh Crow and Sterling Zoe Rubottom were also finalists at the Great Plains Awards, a regional competition for professional journalists. At the awards dinner, journalism students as well as professionals from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota were recognized for outstanding stories, photography, and design. 

Crow was recognized in the Student Photographer of the Year division while Rubottom was in the Student Writer of the Year category. Rubottom will be the editor-in-chief of The Oracle next year and she hopes to “incorporate more digital journalism” as well as expand the newspaper’s online presence.

Royall shares similar sentiments, “I foresee our student media growing the way of our media ecology; we are becoming ever more digitized.”

She also hopes to enter ORU into the Society of Professional Journalists regional and national competition. “I think the talent we have on staff will take us to that level,” Royall said. “We have ironed out the things that were difficulties for us and we are well-trained now that we can continue to excel with our product and qualify for national recognition.”

Royall says she’s not surprised by all the contributors to student media.

“We have some extremely bright and talented students that are already great journalists which makes my work easy,” she said. But apart from being gifted writers and photographers, Royall says, the students can attribute their success to good storytelling, research, and the help of the Holy Spirit. 

“We don’t regurgitate the news,” Royall said. “When we hit a roadblock, we stop and pray and ask the Holy Spirit to intervene. I believe the power of the Holy Spirit working through all we do is the main thing that sets us apart from everyone else.”

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