Ryan Chartrand

The Mustang Daily reached newfound recognition Saturday as it was awarded a prestigious national award for the Web site mustangdaily.net.

The publication was awarded the highest honor given by the Associated Collegiate Press in the form of a Pacemaker. The ACP gives Pacemakers annually to the best student-run college newspapers, media Web sites, yearbooks and magazines in the nation at the national conference, which took place in Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

This year, the ACP named more than 30 finalists for the ACP Online Pacemaker but only chose 14 college publications for the final award. Other Online Pacemaker winners included The Orion of California State University, Chico; San Francisco State University’s Golden Gate [X]Press; The Daily Illini of the University of Illinois; and The University Daily Kansan of the University of Kansas.

The Mustang Daily was only one of three dailies. To be chosen for the award, judges look at the Web sites between the months of February and/or March and note a number of factors in the process, including design, ease of navigation, writing and editing and graphics and interactivity, according to the ACP Web site.

Another requirement is that the site must be produced and maintained by students.

In the case of the Mustang Daily, managing editor Ryan Chartrand has been the driving force behind the Web site since September 2005. In the last two years, Chartrand served as the newspaper’s online editor and gradually enhanced the Web site with multimedia slideshows, podcasts, special online columns and more.

“It’s amazing to me to think that we are on the same level as these larger daily papers,” Chartrand said. “It’s the culmination of three long, hard years of staying up until three in the morning to put up the best Web site with the most high-quality content that I can possibly produce.”

“I can only hope that the Poly Reps add this award to their routine in the graphic communication building.”

The award, formerly known as “Best of the Net,” has been in existence since 1995. This is the highest award the Mustang Daily has ever been awarded.

“The fact that the award even exists is amazing news to me because it means the industry is finally embracing the tools that these new technologies can bring journalists,” Chartrand said.

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