Here’s a comment posted below under my post about the Daily’s jeopardy issue:

“I wasn’t offended either; I can stand a lot of un-PCness in the name of humor, but it was just really vapid; not even a little intelligence or humor.

What has happened to the Daily, in general, BTW? It used to win awards, the staff used to go on to win things like Pulitzer prizes and work at places like the NYT and Washington Post. It was generally a well-regarded campus newspaper.

Has it won a single award for anything in the last few years? When I was an undergrad it swept Columbia U.’s awards. Is the poor writing a failure of leadership? The result of a general downturn in the intelligence of the student body? Does it mean that writing for the paper isn’t a cool thing to do anymore and the talent on campus is doing something else? I’m really curious about how it got so bad so quickly.”

The sense that the Daily’s quality is slipping recently, the last two years in particular, is common. I have documented my thoughts on the matter here. However, the feedback post got me thinking, and I did a quick analysis of the Columbia School of Journalism’s “Gold Circle” awards won by the Daily (the largest competition in collegiate journalism). The awards are given out for everything from writing to layout, so it seems a good judge of overall quality. Here’s what I found, taken from their archives:

1984 1
1985 7
1986 5
1987 1
1988 9
1989 2
1990 4
1991 1
1992 6
1993 8
1994 10
1995 17
1996 23
1997 19
1998 17
1999 18
2000 18
2001 13
2002 8
2003 11

It seems that mainstream journalism seems to think the Daily is a pretty good newspaper, if someone wants to compare the Daily to other papers with the same data feel free. The competition also depends on submissions, so these results might be effected by how submissions writers at the Daily compile year to year – which would depend on the priorities of different editors.

Author: Rob