By Lizzie Wilcox
Aug 31, 2016 | Posted in Journalism
Distraction magazine and its website, distractionmagazine.com, have both been announced as Pacemaker finalists.
Presented annually by the Associated Collegiate Press, the Pacemaker awards recognize collegiate publications for their content, design, photography, and graphics.
The stakes were high in both categories; the judges narrowed down 96 magazines to 22 finalists, and 137 online entries to 30 finalists.
Rori Kotch, editor-in-chief of the nominated issue, submitted the fourth and final magazine of the last academic year to the ACP. She credits the nomination to both the magazine’s content and covers, saying that the covers were some of the best the team has produced in her two years as editor-in-chief.
The issue was also the largest in length and content that distraction has ever printed. While the magazines normally contain approximately 60 pages, the staff aimed to go to print with 100 pages of content.
“It was of course very extensive and long and covered a lot of different subject areas,” Kotch said. “It was 108 pages, so that also probably turned some heads.”
Last year’s online managing editor, Vero Lopez, said that going into the year she wanted to focus on producing quality content.
“I would almost rather have posts every other day and having something good, as opposed to posting every day and maybe publishing things that people weren’t going to really read,” Lopez said.
While judges looked for strong content, they also looked for magazines that knew their readers, according to the ACP website, which Lopez noted was a key factor in the website’s nomination.
“It’s all about knowing what people like, and knowing what people are going to click on, what people are going to share with their friends, what people are going to tag other people in,” Lopez said.
Lexi Williams, distraction’s executive editor for two years, also mentioned how the magazine is relatable because it knows its demographic.
“Our magazine is made specifically for UM students and our goal is to entertain the students of UM and if we can win an award from doing that, that’s great,” Williams said.
She acknowledged that distraction’s success stems from the staff continuing to look for ways to improve.
“I think one of the most important things when producing a magazine like this is to stay humble and realize that even though we have won so many awards there’s always room to grow,” Williams said.
The Pacemaker winners will be announced at the Associated Collegiate Press National College Media Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 20 – 23.