Baylor Student Publications Shine a Light on Journalism Excellence

June 25, 2018

Media Contact: Terry_Goodrich, 254-710-3321
Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

by Liesbeth Powers, student newswriter

WACO, Texas (June 25, 2018) – For the eighth year in a row, Baylor University student publications claimed more than 100 awards for Focus magazine, Roundup yearbook and the Lariat newspaper and its radio and television components this year in both individual and staff awards.

“These awards speak most of all to the quality of students that we have and the faculty who invest in spending the time to help ensure their success,” said Bruce Gietzen, director of student publications. “As our reputation grows I think it will attract more quality students to our department and also to the Baylor University.”

Continued success helps build credibility with both incoming students and possible future employers, Gietzen said.

“As those students graduate and spread the word about Baylor, it will help our reputation and help grow the program,” Gietzen said. “It’s another shining light on Baylor’s academic programs and the quality of not only our students, but also our faculty and staff.”

The Focus magazine, produced by Hannah Neumann, B.A. (Journalism) ‘17, and Lauren Friederman, B.A. (Journalism) ‘17, and their staff of 13, walked through the lives of those dealing with mental illness. The issue, “Rebuild,” was named as Best in the Nation college magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists, something Neumann feels is a step in the right direction for mental health awareness.

“Mental health is something that I’m incredibly passionate about, particularly removing the barriers often attached to it,” Neumann said, “I think this will show future Focus editors that what they are doing can make a difference and that they can tackle tough but important topics without being afraid of how they will be received.”

Lariat Editor-in-Chief for the 2017-2018 school year, Bailey Brammer, a senior journalism major from Phoenix, Arizona, is proud of the Lariat’s achievements this past year, including being recognized as Best in State by the Associated Press Managing Editors of Texas and winning a Lone Star award from the Houston Press Club for Best Student Newspaper. The Lariat, a paid work-study program, is composed of more than 40 students.

“I think the best part of receiving these awards is that all of the Lariat writers, editors, photographers and broadcasters didn’t wake up one morning and say, ‘I want to write an award-winning story today.’ They were just doing their jobs — working hard and producing exceptional journalism — and they were recognized for that,” Brammer said. “As for how I feel about my staff being ‘No. 1,’ I am proud but unsurprised. I expect excellence from each and every person I work with, and even more so, they expect it from themselves.”

The Roundup yearbook was awarded for Overall Excellence in Texas by the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Roundup Editor Rachel Cole, senior neuroscience major, is happy to see what are sometimes easily overlooked amounts of hard work receiving recognition.

“I am impressed with the dedication our editors and photographers have to collect interesting coverage and captivating photographs every deadline,” Cole said. “It's an honor to receive awards like the overall excellence in Texas at TIPA because it reminds me of how proud and lucky I am to work with such an incredible staff.”

As the fall semester nears, advisers and editors continue to recruit incoming and current students to be a part of the Roundup and Lariat staff. The Lariat newsroom is undergoing renovations for the upcoming year, including the addition of a whisper room, or sound isolation enclosure, for Lariat Radio and Lariat TV News and other updated equipment. New technology helps students stay current with a changing business.

“Everything that we can do to help students train for the way the business is going commercially helps them later on,” Gietzen said. “Everybody says newspapers are dying. They’re not dying, they’re just changing their business model. So are radio stations, so are TV stations.”

Gietzen encourages students to be creative in their work to keep up with the changing media business.

“Most of our Lariat graduates this year have already gotten jobs in the field in which they’re practicing,” Gietzen said. “That’s what we’re here for, to help students find their passion and then get a job following that passion.”

Team awards for student publications:

  • Best Student Newspaper – Lone Star Award (Lariat)
  • Best Newspaper of the Year for 2017 – Texas Associated Press Managing Editors (Lariat)
  • Best in the Nation – Society for Professional Journalists (Focus magazine)
  • Best All-Around Daily Student Newspaper – Society for Professional Journalists (Lariat)
  • Overall Excellence in Texas – Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (Roundup, Lariat TV News and Lariat Radio)
  • Triple Silver Crown – Columbia Scholastic Association (Lariat, Roundup and Focus magazine)
  • Best Overall Newspaper – Baptist Communicators Association (Lariat)
  • Best Website – Baptist Communicators Association (Lariat)
  • Best Social Media – Baptist Communicators Association (Lariat)
  • Best Mobile App – Baptist Communicators Association (Lariat)
  • Best Overall Design Website – Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (Lariat)


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.