The editors of The Fairfield Mirror gambled last year, scrapping their long-time online news edition and building a new one from scratch using the WordPress technology.
Their efforts paid off when Associated Collegiate Press awarded the Mirror its 2010 ACP Online Pacemaker prize as one of the 10 best small school online newspapers in the country. A total of 242 schools entered. (You can see the online edition at fairfieldmirror.com.)
The winners were named at the recent ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in Louisville. The contest was judged by a panel of journalism professionals with extensive online media experience. Judges noted that the most successful sites displayed excellence in multimedia storytelling, writing and editing, site design, in-depth and complete coverage, interactivity, and graphics and photography.
The Top 10 small school winners also included Swarthmore College, Northwestern University and Ithaca College. See http://studentpress.org/acp/winners/opm10.html
Joe Cefoli ‘10, who headed the Mirror redesign team, said it was an 18-month process that started in December 2008.
“There were times when the entire redesign process seemed tedious and never-ending,” Cefoli said in a recent e-mail.“ But as time progressed, the website began to transition into a visually aesthetic, easy-to-use showcase of student work that was built for the future.
”I am extremely pleased with the final result and I am most proud of its user friendly design and easy navigation,” he said, commending three other Mirror editors who graduated in May 2010 — Michelle Morrison, Traci Dantoni and Melissa Mann — for their help in the redesign.
In May 2010, the Mirror also received 14 writing awards from the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists See http://fairfieldmirror.com/2010/09/08/mirror-cleans-house-at-cspj-awards/
“There is a tendency to take something familiar, like The Mirror, for granted,” said Editor In Chief Peter Caty. “But the paper does very well when compared to comparable weeklies across the country, and we invite students to come to staff meetings on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m. and join our team.”