By Cassy Sottile and Erica Quinones
The Washington College Review (WCR) and its staff were named as finalists in the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards.
WCR is a student-run online journal of liberal arts and sciences. The magazine publishes academic work and artwork from all departments on campus.
The journal was entered into CMA’s competition by WCR’s current Editor-in-Chief, Chair of the English Department and Director of Writing Dr. Sean Meehan.
Upon applying for the award, the staff promptly forgot about the competition until Managing Editor junior Justin Nash discovered that the publication was a finalist for CMA’s Four-Year Literary Magazine of the Year award through Google.
“It was such a strange process,” Nash said. “But then at the same time, when you think about it, it is really cool. We just did not have an idea [that we were finalists].”
By the time the staff discovered their being finalists, they had a week before the final announcements.
When the official placements were announced, WCR was named an honorable mention.
The literary magazines, “Apricity Magazine” from the University of Texas at Austin placed third, “Metrosphere” from Metropolitan State University of Denver took second, and “Jet Fuel Review” from Lewis University won first.
While they did not place, the staff was proud of their work.
“It’s really exciting to be a finalist,” Associate Editor of Media and Design junior MacKenzie Brady said. “Justin and I work really hard to make sure that WCR is publishing high quality papers and that we do our contributors justice when we publish them on our website, so having that work validated in this way is really rewarding.”
Dr. Meehan noted that WC was the only college in the finale.
“That says something to the quality of our program and the dedication of our editors and our students involved,” Dr. Meehan said. “It speaks very much to the quality of what we have been able to create with WCR, and I would say it speaks to the quality of the writing in the magazine.”
The magazine has existed in its current format for four years, according to Dr. Meehan.
During that time, it has worked hard to find stability.
Nash and Brady both began working on WCR during their sophomore years. During that time, they not only published high quality papers, but also redesigned the website and journal.
Stability is important for the publication so the editors can pass it down and keep the magazine going, according to Nash.
The magazine’s work and legacy are important not just for the editor interns but for students seeking publishing and faculty.
Because WCR is an academic journal, it is accessible to all students regardless of major.
“Anyone can write or take photos for The Elm, anyone can submit creative writing or art to the Collegian, but everyone is actually writing academic papers, so it is great to have a space for those students to be published and have their work validated beyond a grade in a class,” Brady said.
Dr. Meehan also wants to develop WCR as a faculty resource. Because it aligns with the different aspects of the writing program — the First-Year Seminar, W2, W3, and Senior Capstone Experience — it is easier for faculty to recommend students to WCR.
He also envisions a new feature piece for staff and visiting faculty in the journal.
The other important feature of the magazine is its status as a liberal arts journal. As part of their layout, Nash and Brady organize the submissions to create a coherent discussion between them.
WCR offers a holistic view of writing and its artwork allows for an intersecting of ideas, according to Nash.
“It is all different scholarship with different sources, different approaches. You can see how people are writing across disciplines, and it gives a holistic approach to the sort of publication structure,” Nash said. “WCR is the one thing that I can point to that is the liberal arts experience. Where everything is put together in one place and everything is interacting with each other.”
Nash and Brady are being joined by a new staff member next semester. They opened a third editorial position, associate editor, which they hope will be filled by a sophomore or freshman so they can continue the journal after they graduate.
Nash will be assuming Dr. Meehan’s place as Editor-in-Chief and Brady will take Nash’s spot as Managing Editor in the spring.