Spectrum's Aaron Mansfield wins national college media leader of the year

Recognition marks newspaper’s 14th national award in past four years

On March 25, 2014

On March 15, the College Media Association (CMA) announced Aaron Mansfield, the editor in chief of The Spectrum, has won the first-place Apple Award for Best Student Media Leader.

The award recognizes excellence in student leadership in college newspapers, television stations, magazines and other outlets throughout the country.

"I'm excited to accept this prestigious award, but I'm mostly grateful to my staff for putting in the time to nominate me," Mansfield said. "People shouldn't get the idea that this is an individual award - this is an award for the entire Spectrum team. I haven't done anything special, but I have been surrounded by special people who make my life easy. On any great unit, the person at the top will get a lot of credit, but it's the team that gets the job done."

The announcement, which was made at the Spring National College Media Convention, an annual event in New York City, came as a surprise to Mansfield - his staff had nominated him without his knowledge.

Brian Keschinger, the creative director of The Spectrum, filmed and edited a nomination video, which consisted of testimonials from those who have worked with and under Mansfield during the past three years. The video is at the bottom of this article.

"Aaron is the quintessential leader for us here at The Spectrum, and it was important to us for him to receive tangible recognition on a national scale," Keschinger said.

Prior to this award, The Spectrum had won four national awards this year. Mansfield received a Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence award for his sports columns and an SPJ Mark of Excellence Award with Senior News Editor Sam Fernando for general news reporting. Managing Editor Lisa Khoury earned an SPJ Mark of Excellence Award for in-depth reporting and a Camayak Student Media Competition Award for first place in Best Investigative Journalism Production.

Mansfield's CMA award marks the 14th national award The Spectrum has won in the past four years.

In addition to the Apple Award and the two aforementioned SPJ awards, Mansfield won Honorable Mention Sports Story of the Year from the Associated Collegiate Press in October 2013 and the SPJ Mark of Excellence award for Sports Column Writing in March 2013.

Jody Kleinberg Biehl, The Spectrum's faculty adviser and director of UB's Journalism Certificate Program, expressed excitement about the paper's success.

"It is always exciting to win, and this is a very special award because it really gives merit where it's due," Biehl said. "Aaron never likes to take credit for himself, but he has done a phenomenal job at the paper. It's a great role model for upcoming editors in chief."

Matthew Parrino, editor in chief of The Spectrum in the 2011-12 academic year, commended Mansfield's work as editor in chief, saying that the job Mansfield has done with the paper has exceeded his expectations when he handed over the position. He said Mansfield won the award because he is able to "motivate, educate and mold those around him to help create an outstanding product for the UB community."

"With the recent national exposure of the paper, The Spectrum has been recognized as one of the top papers in the country," said Parrino, who was a finalist for the same award in 2012. "To be at that level, especially without a journalism major [at UB], is amazing. Aaron has helped keep the standard set before him and has raised the bar in his tenure. I'm proud of his accomplishment and the entire UB community should share in that pride."



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