The Brown and White Recognized as a Top College Media Outlet

Lehigh’s student-run newspaper was awarded second place in the College Media Association’s 2020-21 "Four-Year Best College Media Outlet of the Year" category.

Story by

Stephen Gross

An issue of The Brown and White

The March 20, 2020 issue of The Brown and White, the first edition published by a fully remote newsroom. (Matt Veto)

Despite dealing with numerous challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented, including remotely publishing 50 print issues over 399 days, The Brown and White was recognized as one of the top college media outlets in the country for the 2020-2021 school year.

The College Media Association announced its annual Pinnacle Award winners in mid-October and awarded Lehigh’s student-run newspaper second place nationally in its 2020-21 "Four-Year Best College Media Outlet of the Year" category.

The Brown and White's newsroom

The Brown and White's newsroom on April 7, 2021, the first day the newspaper resumed a partial in-person production. (Matt Veto)

"The recognition that The Brown and White received is really just confirmation and validation of the very talented and committed people that are on our staff," Jordan Wolman ’21, Fall 2020 editor-in-chief of The Brown and White, said. "Recognition like this only serves as further motivation for our coverage, for the work we do to hold people accountable, and for the amplification we lend to the underrepresented and marginalized voices in our community."

Forced to go fully remote because of the pandemic, The Brown and White refused to break its streak of continuously publishing a print product since its inception in 1894. The March 20, 2020 edition marked the first edition published while fully remote. The staff continued to produce a print product twice each week, while maintaining 24/7 news coverage on its website. Operations remained fully remote until April 7, 2021 when a small group of editors returned to in-person production. The Brown and White fully returned to in-person production this fall.

An issue of The Brown and White

The front cover of the May 7, 2020 edition of The Brown and White.

“At no stage was there ever any entertainment of not publishing,” Matt Veto, faculty advisor of The Brown and White and professor of practice in journalism and communication, said in April 2020.

A majority of their award-winning coverage—spanning from June 15, 2020 through June 14, 2021— came while the newsroom was fully remote. During that time, The Brown and White’s coverage included regional reports regarding the 2020 election, the continued challenges of the pandemic in all facets of life, and numerous breaking news and investigative stories on Lehigh's campus and in the surrounding Bethlehem community.

"The past year brought on so many challenges for us as a staff, and we were doing so much to just get through and get to the next press night, but there were times where it felt like what we were doing was magical and special," Emma Satin ’21, Spring 2021 editor-in-chief of The Brown and White, said. "I know Jordan and I both walked away so proud of the work our entire team put in, and to have that work be recognized on such a large scale is an honor."

Jordan Wolman (left) and Emma Satin

Jordan Wolman 21 (left), Fall 2020 editor-in-chief, and Emma Satin, 21, Spring 2021 editor-in-chief with a copy of The Brown and White in front of Coppee Hall. (Courtesy of Emma Satin)

The College Media Association’s national contest reviews entries from the nation's four-year and two-year university and college media publications. According to the association, judges consider both print and web design and the integration of social media into news coverage. Reporting quality, distribution, frequency of updates and a publication’s reach and interaction are all evaluated.

Indiana University’s Indiana Daily Student took the top overall honors while UCLA’s Daily Bruin was awarded third. Marquette University’s Marquette Wire and Pepperdine University’s Pepperdine Graphic Media both received honorable mentions.

Story by

Stephen Gross

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