The UR Messenger, a fledgling magazine devoted to racial and cultural issues published by students at the University of Rochester, has won the 1997 award for Best Campus Alternative Publication of the Year in the second annual Campus Alternative Journalism Awards. The competition is conducted by the Center for Campus Organizing located in Cambridge, Mass.
The competition was started to encourage progressive journalism and to recognize the contribution of student journalists to free thought in their campuses and communities. Focusing on political and economic democracy, gender equality, anti-racism, and multiculturalism for the environment, the nationwide contest included top universities such as Princeton and Columbia.
The UR Messenger won in the "B" category for magazines which had an annual budget of less than $10,000. The judges praised the Messenger and described it as "cogent and appropriately tough-minded" and "it seems to provide something for everyone... in a way that is well-researched, well written and entertaining."
The magazine, in only its first full year of publication, received several other awards, including first place for anti-racist reporting, as well as honorable mention for opinion writing and design. The Messenger covered a variety of issues such as affirmative action, terrorism, gay marriages and the Middle East Crisis, while also providing critical articles on University issues.
"This is what its all about," said former opinions writer Curtis Sturdivant, who graduated in 1997. "We worked hard to make a publication that would raise the consciousness on this campus and I'm glad people took notice." Sturdivant was given individual praise in the judges' review as "an example of how persuasive and provocative this magazine is."
Although all of the founding editors of the Messenger were members of the Class of 1997, the magazine has grown into an even larger staff of 13 students and is now headed by editor-in-chief and senior Urmen Upadhyay. He says, "Our second year is going very well. We're putting out four issues, one more than last year, and the progressive subject-matter we cover not only pertains to this University, but others too."