The Eagle, Oklahoma Wesleyan’s entirely student-led online magazine, recently received two Awards of Distinction from the 26th Annual Communicator Awards. The website was honored in the categories of University Websites and Education websites.
“The Communicator Awards is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, an invitation-only group consisting of top-tier professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, and marketing firms,” the website states. Each year, over 6,000 entries are received, making it one of the largest awards of its kind.
The Eagle was created years ago by the OKWU Communications Department but went unused and undeveloped for several years after a change in faculty. Two years ago, Blythe Freshwater, a May 2020 OKWU grad, proposed rebooting and redesigning the website as a modern e-magazine, a place for Writing and Communications Students to practice their craft. She became the first editor-in-chief of the rebooted publication, forming a group of writers and contributors under the supervision of Dr. Eric Gray, associate professor of English. Dr. Dalene Fisher, Dean of the School of Arts and Science, provided additional editing supervision. For the magazine’s reboot, design student Maggie Wince — now on OKWU’s Creative Impact team as a designer — set about redesigning the entire website.
“This continues to provide a valuable real-world work environment where students must meet deadlines and work under editorial scrutiny. We’re extremely proud of the quality work these students are doing. These awards are a testament to the excellent preparation these students are receiving for their future careers.”
The magazine’s staff was made up of diverse students from across multiple majors and programs. Eventually, the web news show What’s New, OKWU was developed and added to the magazine by student producer James Faynik and several other students from the Communications Media Lab. Further revisions were made to the website by Ashlyen Fisher and Graphic Design professor Kelly Chisum to create the site as it is today.
The Eagle’s success is a testament to the collaboration of a diverse group of student contributors who write, photograph, film, and create the various content-modes the website now houses. “It was a highly collaborative environment, a student-driven project from the start,” Evan Hewitt, faculty advisor and professor of communications, said. “It continues to provide a valuable real-world work environment where students must meet deadlines and work under editorial scrutiny. We’re extremely proud of the quality work these students are doing. These awards are a testament to the excellent preparation these students are receiving for their future careers.”
In no particular order, the past and present student contributors to The Eagle are Blythe Freshwater, Maggie Wince, James Faynick, Ashlyn Fisher, Carlie Shouweiler, Jon-Calvin Chance, Alyssa Willetts, Alison Theis, Ally Powell, Austin Braddock, Chance Orendac, Elbert Lawerence, Emma Baldwin, Hannah Van Kuiken, Isaak Rowe, Jeremiah Storkson, Jazmine Cooper, Jessie Sabin, Jimmie Koons, Jonathan Clayton, Kaitlyn Walls, Katie Tuggle, Liam Watts, Lori Storie, Noah Storkson, Paige Bostwick, Rachel Lamb, Sarah Hajdukovich, Savannah Johnson, Spenser White, Zane Brumley.
For more information about the magazine or OKWU’s groundbreaking Digital Media programs, contact Professor Evan Hewitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-247-9865.