Comm agency awards Catalyst for excellence

Comm agency awards Catalyst for excellence

Catalyst, AU's student-run science magazine, won an award for publication excellence from Communications Concepts Inc., a Virginia-based communications advising firm.

The biannual magazine was one of 35 publications to win an award of excellence in the category for magazines and journals under 32 pages.

The entries were judged on graphic design, editorial content and their achievements in "overall communications effectiveness and excellence."

There were a total of 4,916 entries in 105 categories, according to the award's Web site.

"I didn't know anything about [the contest] until we won," said Mishri Someshwar, the editor for the fall 2006 issue. "It was a very pleasant surprise."

Someshwar, who graduated from AU in May 2007 with a degree in journalism, now works as a communications coordinator for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She said working on Catalyst helped to prepare her for her current job.

"I did everything from writing editorials, stories and headlines, to editing articles and finding photographers and writers," Someshwar said. "It helps me at my current job where I do a little bit of everything, as well."

Christopher Tudge, Catalyst's faculty adviser, began searching for publication contests after receiving many compliments on the magazine.

"I knew we had a product that would be competitive," he said. "So many people commented."

First published in fall 2004, Catalyst profiles AU students, professors and alumni who participate in scientific research. Each issue also includes an editorial section, in which the editor discusses a particular issue in science.

Finding awards contests for smaller university publications like Catalyst was a difficult task, Tudge said.

"It took me nearly a year to track something down," he said. "There were lots of awards for elementary and high school publications and electronic media, but for university magazines, there were virtually none."

As part of the application process, Tudge had to submit an example of the publication. He chose the fall 2006 issue, which, like every edition of Catalyst thus far, had a movie-themed cover. The cover of that edition of the magazine showed three women clad in black posed as "Charlie's Angels," brandishing environmental objects, including an energy-efficient light bulb, a globe and a plant, instead of weapons.

"That particular [issue] was sustainability-themed," said Grenye O'Malley, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences who helped work on the fall 2006 publication. An editorial on sustainability and a profile of then-Eco-Sense President Claire Roby appeared in that issue of the magazine, said O'Malley, who was also co-editor for the spring and fall 2007 issues.

Most writers are students in the journalism department, though some have majors or minors in science-related fields, Tudge said.

"It's a good chance for the students to create content for their portfolios," he said, adding that many of the writers also work as photographers for the magazine.

The next issue of Catalyst will appear in late September, O'Malley said.

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