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Newhouse Students’ Tablet Magazine Named Best in the Nation by SPJ
Bellwethr, a tablet magazine developed by graduate students in the Newhouse School’s magazine, newspaper and online journalism (MNO) program, has been named the nation’s Best Digital-Only Student Publication by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The recognition came as part of SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards competition, which honors the best in college journalism.
First-place national winners will be recognized at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Orlando this September.
Bellwethr was created by students in the 2013-14 MNO class as their capstone project. The students originally developed the concept when they competed in the annual Newhouse Tablet Competition, a digital editorial contest modeled on Silicon Valley-style hackathons in which teams of students compete against each other to win funding for their magazine ideas. The Bellwethr team “wanted the magazine to act as a navigation for young people in their various aspects of life,” says Antoinette Siu, who served as editor-in-chief.
The students worked on Bellwethr for about three months before launching the app in late June 2014. Stories—42 in total—were posted at http://bellwethrmag.com.
“We met new challenges every day,” says Siu. “One of the biggest was probably managing so many stories [from] different writers and editors.”
“The greatest reward in all this has to be seeing the team pull together our last week, getting through that last round of fact-checking and editing stories, seeing all the art come together for every story, ” she says.
In addition to Siu, students on the Bellwethr team included Ben Burrows, managing editor; Miriam Taylor, art director; Colleen Lowery, associate art director; Ethan Joyce, copy chief; Kathleen Rubino, research chief; Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro, web designer; and Nick Canedo, digital and social media manager.
Ally Balcerzak, Jenna Belmonte, Lauren Bodreau and Ashley Branch served as senior editors. Staff writers included Kassie Brabaw, Katrine Dermody, Adam Matula, Chris Landers, Thomas Scott, Mei Wang and Xhevrije West.
Rounding out the masthead were Jess Marshalek and Donato DiRenzo, copy editors; Rong Lin, videographer; Jennifer Lioy, illustrator; and Vekonda Luangaphy, photographer.