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BW student-run newspaper evolves, earns journalism accolades

BW's 111-year-old student newspaper, The Exponent, is gaining recognition as it breaks new ground.  

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Over the last year, Baldwin Wallace University's student newspaper, The Exponent, has gained recognition, winning first-place awards from the American Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) and the College Media Association (CMA). Both awards are national, as The Exponent has competed against all college newspapers in the U.S. to earn this recognition. 

The Exponent was one of 70 high school and college newspapers the ASPA rated as "First Place" publications and earned the CMA "Periodic Newspaper of the Year" (publishing 2-3 issues a month) in Division III. The CMA's Pinnacle Awards honor the best college media organizations and individual work. 

"We feel very proud that we have competed against college newspapers nationwide to earn both first-place awards," said faculty advisor Huixin Deng. 

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Individual achievement 

At the same time, several of The Exponent's reporters won awards for their individual work in print journalism.  

Editor Simon Skoutas '24, a political science and philosophy major, earned two CMA Division III "honorable mentions" for his breaking news and general news stories.  

His Exponent colleague Alexis Watkins '24, a communication studies major, won third place in the CMA Division III "Best Special Section" category award for newspaper layout design.   

Digital Success 

Awards for The Exponent also extend out to the paper's online journalism. Kelly Coyne, Molly Cancian, Tommy Maroon, Niko Gemelas, Hannah Wetmore, Israel Gole and Skoutas all won the "Best of SNO" awards for reporting on campus news and local events.  

"Best of SNO" showcases the work of top student journalists from the SNO Network, The Exponent's web hosting and digital journalism platform.  

According to Deng, SNO received over 13,000 submissions from 525 schools in the 2022-2023 academic year and handed out awards to about 1,700 student journalists. 

Changing and evolving 

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The Exponent staff at their 2023 Gala

The Exponent staff has grown over the past few years, inviting change for the newspaper. 

"The Exponent has rebuilt itself, growing the understaffed team from three to more than 110 students. Notably, none of the 110 students are journalism majors, and most of these students' disciplines are not even close to journalism," said Deng. 

Students in the newsroom seek to connect with readers both on campus and in the Berea community. Since 2022, The Exponent has launched "The Exponent Newsletter" and a podcast called "Parenthesis" and has plans to launch a literary magazine, "The Pony," to showcase students' artistic and creative works, as well as a YouTube channel. 

The newspaper executive team has already worked to boost The Exponent's social media presence, adding TikTok and Threads to hop onto the current trend communications that cater to Gen Z readers.    

For readers and alumni, branded merchandise is in the works as The Exponent continues to evolve to diversify itself in the future. 

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