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Department of Communications' CommTracks earns honors

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The most recent edition of CommTracks, which is produced in Studio5, has received honors and high praise from both the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and Associated Collegiate Press following critiques of the magazine by both organizations.

The CSPA, which is affiliated with the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, awarded CommTracks a Gold Medal, along with All-Columbian Honors for special merit in content. All-Columbian Honors are only awarded when a publication has achieved the 95th percentile or higher in one or more of the three categories of judging: Organization, Content (which includes both writing and visuals), and Design.

This marked the second year in a row that the magazine has earned a gold medal and All-Columbian Honors.

According to the judge, the "writing is to the point, but still contains the culture of the school and the communications department. Well done." The judge added, "Students must appreciate your effort to staying focussed on the student body, or recent alumnae. Again, well done."

The design also received high praise: "Love the consistent use of a visual theme, yet not too repetitive. Soft colors work well, even though more tempting to use bold colors. Great display of your working knowledge of how to use color in a publication."

The ACP awarded CommTracks a First Class rating, along with Marks of Distinction in the categories of concept, layout and design, and art, graphics, typography, and photography.
"Before looking at your publication, I didn't know anything about Simmons College," wrote the judge. "Now, I can see how strong your communications department is and how well prepared its students are."

She said CommTracks "is a fun magazine, and very student centered. I love the cover and all the mixed media and then the ability of the staff to use elements of design throughout the magazine.
"It is very professional looking."
As you might gather from the marks of distinction we received, the judges were quite taken by the design talents of our students (Judith and
Judy you have every right to puff up). In the assessment the judges wrote that the "student portfolio is very strong. It is a visual magazine [that] shows the talents of your students and the diversity they have. Your students have well developed graphic design skills. I can see why they find jobs in this market."

But the writers weren't slighted.
"Your students do have strong communications skills. The writing shows elements of good journalism. The pieces were easy to read and informative." (The judge particularly liked the "Tweet like a Pro" piece. "The views from your alumnae are effective, and it is interesting to see where these students are now working."

The judge did say she would like to see a few longer articles, especially in the case of the Bon Jovi piece. Yet she appreciated that the writing "is focused on students" and that the shorter pieces are more likely to be read by students. (Just a quick note: It was the lack of more longer articles that cost us, by an eyelash (five points actually), All-American honors, but it will give us something to shoot for next year.)
Studio5 is a student-run professional communications agency in the Department of Communications at Simmons College. The 2011 edition is the sixth volume produced by Studio5, and the second to be entered in the CSPA's critique and contest competitions.

This was the first entry into the ACP's contest.

The editorial team for the 2011 edition included Lydia Harding, Maureen Azor, Hilary Trott, Moira Quinn and Rayah Alazzouni. Bryn Adler and Amanda Gross were Copy Editors. The team was supported and mentored by Professors Judy Richland, Andrew Porter, and James Corcoran, along with Professors Judith Aronson and Ellen Grabiner, and Lab Manager Alissa Miller and MJ Craig, assistant lab manager.

Posted by Gabriela Cordeiro Antunes on August 4, 2011 2:57 PM

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