The University of Texas-Pan American's student magazine Panorama won Best of Show at the 2011 Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) conference held Oct. 29-30 at the Renaissance Hotel at Sea World in Orlando, Fla.
This is the second year in a row the magazine won a national award at the ACP, which is the oldest student journalism conference in the United States.
Each year, U.S. universities and colleges enter their school's general student magazine into the ACP contest. Overall design and content are criteria judged by professionals who work in the publication business.
"Students from across the country were asking about Panorama magazine, noting how impressed they were with its design and subject matter," said Donna Pazdera, mass communication lecturer at UTPA and Panorama's adviser.
Organizers of the event remarked that the Best of Show category was especially competitive, Pazdera said.
Other Best of Show finalists were the University of Kansas, Cal State Fullerton, Indiana University, Oregon University, Harvard and Savannah College of Art and Design.
"It's a great honor to win this award because UTPA isn't known for its journalism program, although we have some great professors who are teaching here at the University," said Pazdera. "When we were informed we won Best of Show, it was such an amazing feeling."
Panorama won the highly coveted Pacemaker Award in 2010 and was a finalist for the award at this year's conference.
"The Pacemaker is considered the highest award in college journalism," Pazdera said. "It is like the Pulitzer of our field, and it was a great experience winning it the first year we entered our publication in 2010."
Since 1993, there have been only four nominations from Texas for the Pacemaker Award for best general student magazine, and UTPA received two of those nominations in the last two years. Along with UTPA, only The University of Texas-El Paso and The University of Texas-Arlington have been nominated.
Daniel Flores, editor-in-chief of Panorama and a Master of Fine Arts graduate student at UTPA, said he is happy with the success of the magazine.
"Winning a national award or being nominated as a finalist is a validation for the work and decisions we make," Flores said. "I am really proud of our efforts."
Kevin Stich, who graduated from UTPA with a degree in communications with a focus in print journalism, was senior editor of Panorama in 2010 and said he is just as excited about the award the magazine received in Orlando. He, along with Flores and Santa Hernandez, UTPA communications graduate student and design editor, was a member of the editing team of the award-winning issue.
"It's a sweet victory, mainly because we felt like such underdogs," said Stich. "We weren't afraid to go outside the box and be progressive in a conservative atmosphere and we weren't afraid of failure."
The editing staff hopes to continue the momentum and produce another award-winning publication in 2012.
"This award and recognition puts UTPA on the national map," Pazdera said. "I run into former colleagues and they tell me that we're doing such a great job with Panorama. Other people take notice and that says a good thing about our program and what we're doing here at UTPA."
For more information, contact Pazdera at (956) 665-3583.