“The New Paltz Oracle” wins prestigious journalism award

NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz’s independent student newspaper, “The New Paltz Oracle,” secured a major award, the 2010 Mark of Excellence, from the Society of Professional Journalists, overcoming competition from Harvard University, Syracuse University, New York University and Vassar College.

On Saturday, April 9, former Managing Editor, Pierce Lydon, Managing Editor/Web Chief, Maxim Alter and Editor-in-Chief, Julie Mansmann, accepted the first place award for “Best Affiliated Web site” from the Society of Professional Journalists at its Region 1 conference in Providence, R.I.

“We at ‘The New Paltz Oracle’ are extremely proud that our Web site was awarded top honors, as it is less than one year old,” Mansmann said.

The award is given to student print publications with a Web component from a four-year college or university in the northeast.

The Web site, http://oracle.newpaltz.edu/, edged out second-place winner HandshakeMag.com of Syracuse University and third-place winner Miscellanynews.com, produced by students at Vassar College. The contest received almost 4,000 entries for 2010.

The Web site features stories published in the weekly print edition of “The New Paltz Oracle” complemented with additional photographs and multimedia components.

“My staff and I were humbled to receive this honor from such a prestigious organization in the world of journalism. We hope that this sort of recognition is a sign that we are taking a step into the future of media and doing so in the right way,” Mansmann said.

Because “The New Paltz Oracle” secured first place in their category for the northeast region, they have been invited to the Society’s national conference in New Orleans, La. from September 25-27. At this conference, three of the 12 regions will be honored with a national award in their category.

“Being the managing editor and the Web chief for this publication has been a great learning experience for me. It has taught me I can create and maintain an award-winning Web site and help manage a newspaper at the same time,” Alter said. “That’s the beauty of being part of “The New Paltz Oracle”: We can learn so many different skills that will help us in our future in journalism.”

The “New Paltz Oracle” is the official student newspaper of the State University of New York at New Paltz and is partially funded by the student activity fee. Circulation is 2,500.

The “New Paltz Oracle” is published weekly throughout the fall and spring semesters on Thursday. It is available in all residence halls and academic buildings on campus, as well as various businesses in the New Paltz community.

The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. The organization is the nation’s most broad-based journalism organization, dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.