The Society of Professional Journalists has announced the national winners and finalists for its 2020 Mark of Excellence awards. Curb magazine was named a finalist for Best Student Magazine and won the award for Best Affiliated Website.
Produced each year by the students of J417: Magazine Publishing, Curb is an award-winning publication with print, web and social media elements. The 2020 issue, Curb Pause, is the 19th edition of the student magazine. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the class’s 23 students led by instructor Stacy Forster had to create the magazine entirely remotely.
“I wasn’t sure when we started the semester if we’d be able to produce the same kind of magazine and website as we’d made in the past,” Forster said. “But I told them the first day I wasn’t prepared to start thinking we couldn’t do it, but we’d adjust and scale back if we needed to. We never had that conversation.”
Despite the challenges, students earned local and national recognition for their work, including a first place award for Social Media from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, five awards from the Milwaukee Press Club and three SPJ regional awards.
“I’m always impressed and humbled by the thoughtful, high-quality work the Curb magazine students do in a semester, but this year they exceeded every expectation,” Forster said. “This group of students was curious and dedicated in overcoming the many obstacles they encountered along the way, and in the end, they produced a magazine and website about the changes wrought by the events of 2020 — from scratch — without ever meeting in person.”
Students take away valuable skills and experience from their time producing Curb. Managing editor Elise Goldstein expressed her gratitude and pride for the hard work she and her classmates did throughout the semester.
“This national recognition is proof that when a team comes together to work toward a common goal, incredible accomplishments are made – even in a virtual world where we didn’t initially know how to create a magazine together from our homes,” Goldstein said. “My experience in Curb taught me the importance of teamwork, communication and dedication, and I will forever hold onto these skills.”
Students in the 2020 Curb class join a long list of past SPJ national Mark of Excellence Award winners and finalists, including:
- 2019: National finalist, Best Non-fiction Article (Natalie Yahr)
- 2018: National finalist, Best Student Magazine
- 2014: National winner, Best Student Magazine
- 2012: National winner, Best Student Magazine
- 2011: National finalist, Best Student Magazine
- 2010: National finalist, Best Student Magazine
- 2005: National winner, Best All-Around Online Student Magazine