PNW Pioneer

First time’s a charm for PNW in sports media contest

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The PNW sports information department earned the Gary Spitler Memorial Award for Excellence in Publications, which acclaims them as best in the nation according to the NAIA-SIDA Publications and Media Contest.

The award is determined by how many points the school earned across 15 publication categories. The school also received first place in the Multi-Sport Poster contest and the Infographics for Events/Accolades/Breaking News contest. This is the university’s first time participating in the NAIA-SIDA Publications and Media Contest.

The sports information department was led by Nicole Watkins, former assistant athletic director, for three years. Watkins said she can see this school is catching up to standards seen in other universities.

“The award is justification that the PNW sports information department is pushing the envelope in the latest trends in athletics communications, including high-quality video, photography, design work, game notes and more,” Watkins said. “We are constantly striving to do our best work with the resources we have, and our team — including myself, two graduate assistants, Jon Newcomb and Ben Cowart, and former student assistant David Bork — have worked very hard to reach those high standards.”

Watkins also truly believes that, with this award, the school can make a habit of being one of the best sports information departments in the entire country.

“It’s gratifying to know that our peers in the NAIA and NCAA recognize the work we’ve

done and that some of it is looked to be some of the best in the country,” Watkins said.

As Watkins left to be the director of athletic communications at the University of Chicago, she said this award benefitted not just her but also her team.

“Personally, I’m just really proud of this award because while I did much of the design work on the graphics/posters, I was only able to do that because I have such a great team, and we all work together to get the enormous amount of work done in order to successfully market our department and student-athletes,” Watkins said. “It was totally a team effort and an award that every member of our staff can put on their resumes moving forward in their respective careers. It’s also very gratifying to be recognized by your peers. It means we’re doing a great job.”

Bork, student assistant and communication graduate, said the award means a lot to both him and the department and that this award just shows how people can come together, work hard and win awards.

“It adds more to my resume and feels good that all of our hard work paid off,” Bork said. “I learned a lot about myself and the field of sports information. I learned that with more hard work and sticking with it you will get better and improve.”

Watkins said she will always remember PNW as a learning experience.

“I’ve personally learned the benefits of hiring a great team and being able to delegate. Our ability to spread out the many, many tasks we need to complete allows for great work to come out of our office to represent PNW,” Watkins said.

While the school won first place in two categories, The Pride also finished runner up in Multi-Sport Posters and the Season/Game Highlights category. Across 19 categories, PNW finished in the Top 10 fifteen times and Top Five eight times. To conclude the results, the recently redesigned PNW athletics website placed sixth out of 72 entries across the NAIA.

Single Sport Posters, Third Place

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