The Alestle, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s student news organization, recently won several national awards during the 102nd annual Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association National College Media Convention. This year marks the most national awards for which The Alestle was nominated and received.
For the first time since the 1990s, The Alestle was a finalist for the ACP Pacemaker for its website alestlelive.com. The Pacemaker is the highest honor in collegiate media. Besides being recognized as a Pacemaker finalist for its online presence, The Alestle placed 6th in the ACP Best of Show competition at the convention in the website category.
The Alestle took fourth place in the Best of Show competition at the convention in the Newspaper/Newsmagazine category of four-year schools with less than 15,000 students.
Many current and former Alestle staff members also won recognition in the College Media Association’s national Pinnacle Awards.
Former Managing Editor Gabriel Brady won second place for Best Coverage of Faith with his coverage of street preachers on campus.
Lifestyles Editor Francesca Boston and the staff brought home a second place award for Best Newspaper Entertainment Page for the Metro East Eats: Soup edition.
Former Multimedia Editor Damian Morris and former Online & Opinion Editor Nicole Boyd won third place in the Best Photo Package category for their coverage of the 2023 Jazz & Wine Fest.
The staff brought home third place Pinnacles for Best Website Front Page and two third place awards for Best Special Section (reporting) and Best Special Section (advertising) for its Spring 2023 mental health “zine.”
The staff won third place in the Best Special Section Cover category for its 2023 Survival Guide.
Managing Editor Bruce Darnell received an honorable mention for Best Breaking News for his diversity coverage of an Iranian student demonstration.
Illustrator Thea Weltzin also received an honorable mention for Best Editorial Cartoon.
Graphics Manager Kirsten O’Loughlin won honorable mention for her design of The Alestle’s nameplate – her second time being honored for the publication’s nameplate.
“I was glad for The Alestle to be nominated for all the awards, especially the Pacemaker. At the national level, to be nominated for and win more awards than any year previously, I’m excited about it and hope it becomes a trend. I’m really proud of the staff and all the hard work they put in,” said Alestle Editor in Chief Dylan Hembrough.
Hembrough mentioned that this year’s staff is a very young one and has had a bigger learning curve than in some years past.
“They have done exceptionally well at adapting and learning on the job,” he said.
“The 2022-2023 year and Fall 2023 have been such an exciting time for The Alestle with being recognized for so much more of its work and in new awards competitions that it hasn’t been in before or in a long time,” Student Publications Program Director Tammy Merrett said. “I’m so very proud of them, especially being finalists for a Pacemaker, an award that is like the Pulitzer of college journalism.”
The Alestle has placed several times in recent years in the CMA Pinnacle awards, and national ACP Best of Show competitions, as well as the ACP Individual Awards. The publication is consistently an American Scholastic Press Association top-ranked publication and regularly wins several top awards in the annual Illinois College Press Association contest as well. Alestle students were also finalists for several and won two regional Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards for the first time earlier this year.