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Student-run newspaper recognized by South Carolina Press Association

Editors make closing remarks.

The Old Gold and Black, Wofford’s biweekly student-run newspaper, won 12 awards from the South Carolina Press Association for 2015, including first place in General Excellence out of 15 other college newspapers.

Addie Lawrence ’16 and Elaine Best ’16, co-editors-in-chief, were recognized with four awards, including first place for a column they co-wrote. In addition, five staff writers were recognized in the arts and entertainment, sports and feature story categories. Kourtney Meiss ’18 was awarded third place for the publication’s website (, and Sarah Madden ’17 took first place in Individual Use of Social Media, a new category.

“Our staff doesn’t write to get awards, but getting them is validation for something that a lot of people question,” says Lawrence. “Newspapers are supposedly dying, and journalism is supposedly an unstable field. Having the awards to say, ‘We’ve accomplished something great in this field,’ is great.”

The Old Gold and Black broke its previous record of seven awards in one year. Best says the awards reflect the staff’s hard work.

“We’ve done such a great job as a staff this year producing the paper,” she says. “We’ve been hearing good things from students and professors telling us that this is the best they’ve ever seen the paper, so to be recognized at the state level against other colleges was really nice.”

The co-editors say the strengths of the paper this year were the continuing development of the 2-year-old website, marketing via social media and the confidence and creativity of the writers.

“The articles that tend to win awards are the ones that take risks, in format or in style,” explains Lawrence. “I think Wofford student writers do the creative, but still journalistic, pieces well. You can read the passion that they put into their work.”

Lawrence and Best say they are proud of the newspaper’s growing reputation, and they credit the progress made by past editors and staffs as well as the work of this year’s team.

“At this point we have built up the reputation of being a good source of news,” says Lawrence. “We have people from outside the Wofford community contacting and asking us to publish certain stories because they want us to represent them. This shows the trust we’ve been able to build up through the past few years. We are able to tackle the tough issues on campus because we’ve laid a foundation of trust and credibility.”

The increased student participation also attests to the paper’s reputation within the Wofford community.

“We’ve wanted to be the platform for the student voice for a long time, and this year we’ve been able to achieve that,” says Best. “More people than we’ve seen in the past sent us op-eds this year. I think we’ll see more of those in the future. There will always be new events happening that people will have opinions about.”

While Wofford does not have a journalism major, Best believes the critical thinking and writing training students experience at Wofford provide an excellent foundation for investigative journalism. 

“We don’t have a journalism major currently, but we compete against colleges that do,” she notes. “Our writers are writing during their own time, on top of their other classes in other fields. I’m a history major, Addie is an English and philosophy major, and we’ve had biology majors, French majors, psychology majors and government majors represented on the editorial staff in the past. I think that’s one of our strong points because we are able to capture a diverse view of our school.”

The co-editors are proud of the work they accomplished this year and believe that with a commitment to innovation and confidence in approaching the harder stories, the newspaper will continue in a pattern of excellence. Lawrence says, “We feel good about where we’re leaving it. We know we’re leaving it in the hands of a good staff next year.”

by Katie Sanders ’17
Summer 2016