The SOJC’s Flux magazine won two Pacemaker awards for its 2015-16 edition, which explored issues of race and identity across campus.

Story and photos by Amanda Linares

In 2016, the Associated Collegiate Press presented Pacemaker Awards to several student-led publications around the country for its annual recognition of excellent student journalism. The SOJC’s Flux Magazine was among the year’s big winners, as were the independent student publications Ethos and Daily Emerald.

Since 1927, the Pacemaker Awards have held student journalists to the highest possible standards in various production outlets. Judges critique applicants on their quality of writing, reporting, design, photography, art and graphic skills.

For the student multicultural publication Ethos, this award marked its third consecutive Pacemaker win. This year, the competition’s judges recognized the magazine’s great use of visual imagery in addition to its writing.

Flux received two individual awards for Story of the Year in both the Feature and Diversity categories. Flux writer Forrest Welk won for his feature “Naming Rights,” while writer Samantha Matsumoto took home an award for her story “Still Marching.”

“A lot of hard work and vision from the students went into it,” said Flux faculty advisor Todd Milbourn. “They were able to pull it off, and that was really exciting to see.”

In its spring issue, Flux examined race and identity in today’s highly polarized society. Milbourn said the magazine’s staff held two community outreach forums to get feedback on the types of stories readers wanted to see.

“We brought people in from different parts of campus, Eugene and Springfield,” said Milbourn. “One of the most exciting things that’s happening is this rediscovery of community and how to make connections.”

Flux has been recognized for its outstanding work since 1993 and has received countless awards from such organizations as The Columbia Scholastic Press Association, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation and The Society of Professional Journalists. The publication has received over a dozen Pacemakers Awards since its conception.

Last year’s Flux editor-in-chief, Caitlyn May, said she credits the magazine’s success to its ability to recognize and discuss uncomfortable issues affecting communities.

“I think everyone wants to win an award, but that wasn’t at the forefront of our mind,” said May. “We became invested in the community and dedicated ourselves to the stories. And the outcome was an award-winning magazine.”

Amanda Linares joined the SOJC’s Communications team as a multimedia intern while studying as a graduate student in the SOJC’s professional journalism master’s program. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida’s School of Journalism and Communications and has written for the unofficial school paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, as well as a variety of other publications, including Alachua County Today newspaper and Florida Hospital’s Best In Care magazine. She’s also worked as a guest anchor and producer for WUFT-TV’s Afternoon News In 90 in Gainesville, Florida. In her graduate program, she has shifted her focus from print to multimedia production and photojournalism. Linares hopes to grow her journalism skills across multiple platforms and plans on graduating this spring. 

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