Paper takes award

  The Vermont Cynic has won college journalism’s top prize.   The Pacemaker award, given out annually by the Associated Collegiate Press, recognizes the best newspapers in the United States, according to their website.   More then 20,000 students are staffed at ACP member publications.   The Cynic is the only non-daily Pacemaker winner that does not have a degree program in journalism and/or journalism department.   The award acknowledges the Cynic’s efforts from the 2010-2011 academic year, which began under the leadership of editor-in-chief Haylley Johnson and managing editor Elliot deBruyn and finished up under editor-in-chief Natalie DiBlasio and Jeff Ayers.   “I’ve watched my friends work so hard for this paper,” former Editor-in-Chief Haylley Johnson said. “Finally, their hard work — this team’s hard work — has become a nationally recognized reality.”   Johnson said that the Cynic has changed dramatically since she first started five years ago.   “When I first became a writer, editors were doing their own layout and we had a skeleton of a website,” she said. “Now we have a layout team, a great website and training.”   Former managing editor Elliot deBruyn said that the news of the Cynic’s win came as a total shock.   “When Natalie told me [about the award] I was driving,” deBruyn said. “I had to pull the car over.”   deBruyn said that in his time with the paper he has seen an upward trend in journalistic integrity and responsibility to the community.   “Everything that needs to make a paper happen… is happening,” he said.   The Cynic newsroom is a great training ground, and students have the chance to work in a professional environment, said Chris Evans, student media adviser and assistant director of Student Life.   “We’ve had students go on to work at theBurlington Free Press, USA Today, Reuters and Getty Images,” Evans said. “I’m beyond proud of the progress that I’ve seen in my five-and-a-half years here.”   The award means that our young journalists are doing their jobs well, he said. But they always seek to improve.   “As the students on staff know, the paper is not always perfect,” Evans said. “But the goal is to work toward perfection. The staff work their tails off for their paper. And it shows.”