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Student-led media group wins package of awards for innovation

Contributors of The George-Anne Media Group gather for a photo. The group won a series of awards at MediaFest 22 in Washington, D.C.

The George-Anne Media Group, a student-led news team at Georgia Southern University, has earned a bundle of awards, including one that some consider to be the highest national honor among student media.

The headline prize was the Pacemaker Award.

For any news team or other information-sharing agency, keeping up with the latest platforms and storytelling formats is vital. The Pacemaker reflects the creativity an organization uses to reach new audiences and maintain current ones.

The Pacemaker Award, which celebrates media innovation, stemmed from a project students developed and launched last spring.  They created a “Media Zone,” a local center for Eagle Nation to interact with daily topics. Like an old-fashioned town square with a news bulletin posted on the doors of City Hall, this modernized version featured news articles, student polls and photos of the day. 

When it returns next spring, the hub in the Fielding D. Russell Union will be an award-winning location.

Thanks in part to the Media Zone, The George-Anne Media Group earned an array of awards from the Associated Collegiate Press.

The Media Zone was a collaborative effort of the group’s corresponding newspaper. Tamara Tanksley, a computer science senior and editor-in-chief of the Deep Dive division, said it took more than just the collaboration within the newsroom to make it a success.

“It felt good to win it, especially after all the hard work we put toward it,” Tanksley said. “It took a lot because you have to get other people involved and have them take part in the vision that you have. I think that was the most difficult part of having the media zone there.”

Maya Albert, a senior marketing and graphic design major, is the editor-in-chief of the Creative Division for the George-Anne Media Group and co-creator of the Media Zone. She said she was nervous about implementing new strategies.

“It was scary at first, but we all put our hearts into it and we really thought, ‘What do students need and want?’” she said. “This award feels like someone finally noticed us! They see what we’re doing now, and we can do so much more.”

For the awards ceremony, a George-Anne delegation attended MediaFest 22, a national journalism conference, in Washington, D.C . When they returned to Statesboro, they had a new plaque for their office. 

Along with the Pacemaker Award, The George-Anne team also earned a collection of awards for work from spring 2022. The awards include:

George-Anne Reflector Magazine’s Spring 2022 edition, led by thenCreative Division Editor-in-Chief Kayla Hill and then Reflector Editor-in-Chief Lauren Sabia

  • First place for print design in the Best of Show contest
  • First place for best magazine cover in the College Media Association Pinnacle Awards
  • Second place for best magazine feature page/spread in the Pinnacle Awards

Your Newsroom, led this fall by executive producer Nayia Worrell and news director Ashley Watts

The George-Anne Daily email newsletter received ninth place in the Best of Show contest for the Oct. 19, 2022 edition, edited by Vanessa Countryman, editor-in-chief of The George-Anne Statesboro Edition.


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