NewsNet best college online news service, credits integrated newsroom

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And the winner is … BYU NewsNet — again.

For the third consecutive year, NewsNet has been recognized as the best college online news service in the nation. NewsNet received the 2001 EPpy award Friday, Feb. 23, at the Editor & Publisher 12th Annual Interactive Newspapers Conference & Trade Show in Dallas.

This year”s conference marks the third time the EPpy has been awarded on a collegiate level — and NewsNet has won it all three years.

“Any time you win an award once, it could be considered a fluke. When you win it twice, it”s a pattern. When you win it a third time, it removes any question about luck being involved,” said John Gholdston, NewsNet co-managing director.

Gholdston said he attributes NewsNet”s three-peat wins to the organization”s constant innovative efforts.

“NewsNet continues to be the best collegiate Web site in the country because it continues to respond to its audiences and the dizzying rate of change in the Internet communications business,” he said.

The site offers daily broadcast news, radio news, live video feed of campus events and solid news coverage, Gholdston said.

This unique content has made NewsNet a leader in the industry, said NewsNet Web Director Michael Buhrley, who was in Dallas to accept the EPpy award on behalf of the organization. He said NewsNet has an edge on its competitors because it is the product of an integrated newsroom.

In 1997, NewsNet became the first news organization in the country to physically combine its broadcast and print newsrooms.

NewsNet”s award-winning content is generated by students from a variety of communications specialties. Paid student staff members, as well as students in broadcasting, reporting, editorial and photography classes, contribute heavily to the site.

This year”s EPpy award is a payoff for the countless hours invested in the site by students and faculty advisors, said Jeni Owen, who was NewsNet”s Web editor Fall Semester 2000 during the EPpy award judging period.

“Because we do have an integrated newsroom, everyone who contributes to NewsNet deserves credit for this. The Web site is a conglomeration of everything we do at NewsNet,” Owen said.

The site is managed by a Web editor and three associate Web editors, along with a class of online reporters.

This year, NewsNet”s final competitors for the EPpy award were the Daily Tar Heel (from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and The Daily Illini Online (from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

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