The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

The Hustler wins 28 of 34 national awards earned by VSC organizations this year

At the Fall National Media Convention, The Hustler and other VSC organizations won a total of 31 national awards.
Barrie Barto
Editors from The Hustler pose at the Fall National Media Convention, as photographed on Oct. 30, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

The Hustler won 28 national awards this year, earning three Associated College Press Pacemakers, three Society of Professional Journalist Mark of Excellence Awards, a record-breaking 20 College Media Association Pinnacles and two ACP Best of Show awards at the Fall 2023 National Media Convention. Other Vanderbilt Student Communications organizations also brought home six CMA Pinnacles. 

The Vanderbilt Review won second place for CMA’s Literary Magazine of the Year, while VandyRadio won second place for CMA’s Radio Station of the Year. “Love or Cookie,” a Vanderbilt Video Productions dating show hosted by Hustler Deputy Opinion Editor Noah Weitzel, junior Devin Laye and junior Stephan Bellamy received an honorable mention for Best Video Entertainment Program. Hustler Deputy Podcasts Director Jaylan Sims earned an honorable mention in CMA’s Best Audio Newscast category for his newscast with VandyRadio. Juniors Cameron Lenkov and Terrie Jeon of VandyRadio won third place in CMA’s Best Audio Promo/PSA for their show, “California Cowgirls.” Sophomore Erica Lutz, also of VandyRadio, placed second in CMA’s Best Audio Talk/Entertainment Program competition for their radio show, “The Hits with EJ.” 

Hustler CMA Pinnacles

Nationally, The Hustler competes in  CMA and ACP’s Division II, composed of colleges and universities with a student enrollment between 3,000-9,999. 

The Hustler hosted a debate with VSG candidates during the 2022-23 school year, which placed third in Best Overall Media Engagement. Oung and Perrotta moderated the debate, and Editorial Director Aaditi Lele and News Editor Brina Ratangee covered the debate.

The Hustler won multiple CMA Pinnacles for its coverage of the Covenant School shooting. Photography Director Barrie Barto, alongside Deputy Social Media Director Nikita Rohila and Staff Photographer Amelia Simpson, won first place for Best Photo Package for their photo story “IN PHOTOS: Nashville community rallies downtown, at Fisk University after Covenant School shooting.” Editor-in-Chief Rachael Perrotta Newsroom Operations and Data Director Katherine Oung, and Former Social Media Director Lindsey Jorda (‘23) placed second in Best Social Media Reporting for their breaking coverage of the Covenant School shooting on Instagram, Facebook and X. Perrotta also won third place for Best Editorial for “LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: As a reporter, I’m begging you to pay attention” in response to the shooting. Perrotta urged students, Vanderbilt professors and citizens to openly discuss and spread awareness about gun violence, as well as to confront current events without trepidation around uncomfortable topics. Oung also won third place in Best Interactive Infographic for their interactive map on racial diversity across Tennessee’s congressional districts, created in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Tennessee Three

Also in politics, Former Senior Staff Writer Ekta Anand won second place for Best Investigative Story for “VUSM students report decreased efficiency in healthcare delivery and gaps in education post-Roe.” Anand interviewed Vanderbilt Medical School students about changes to healthcare protocol and limitations in OB/GYN education after the overturn of Roe v. Wade (1973). 

Opinion Editor Zoe Abel took home first place for Best Column, receiving recognition for “ABEL Don’t kill me on my morning run,” “ABEL: Why are we preparing to die?” and “ABEL: I hope you dance.” Abel discusses the dangers experienced by women, growing up in the generation of gun violence and valuing the present during the post-pandemic era. 

For the second year in a row, Perrotta, along with Oung and Former Staff Writer Abhinav Krishnan (‘23) won first place for Best Multimedia Breaking News Story. The article, “Record-low 5.6% of applicants admitted to Class of 2027, admission rates continue to decline,” features data visualizations that compare Vanderbilt’s admissions data to past years and other universities.   

The Hustler Sports section, then led by Bryce Smith (‘23) as Sports Editor, won first place for Best Web Sports Section for the second year in a row. The sports section covers all 16 varsity sports, and sends a weekly sports report, which also placed second for Best Sports Email Newsletter. The Vanderbilt Hustler Weekly Digest similarly placed second in Best General News Email Newsletter. Digest is sent to subscribers every Monday and includes articles from the past week. 

Smith won first place for Best Sports Columnist for his columns covering Vanderbilt’s 2022 football season. The column, titled “Commodore Brunch,” received recognition for Weeks 8, 11 and 12. Smith also won third place for Best Sports Feature alongside Assistant Sports Specialist Jonah Barbin for “Modern unicorn: Jordan Wright is the rare fourth-year senior in today’s college basketball.” In this article, Smith and Barbin interview former Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball player Jordan Wright on his experience as a fourth-year senior in the era of NIL, the transfer portal and extra eligibility. 

Assistant Sports Specialist Jayce Pollard won first place for Best Sports Investigative Story for the first edition of his two-part series titled “How data analytics has transformed Vanderbilt Athletics.” In this article, Pollard examines how Vanderbilt Soccer and Bowling utilize data analytics to produce institutional buy-in and to push the teams to compete at the SEC level. 

Deputy Photography Director Sara West earned second place for Best Portrait for a photo of pop-rock artist GUNNAR. The artist was featured in West’s interview with the artist titled “‘All I had left was the music’: Artist GUNNAR on growing with his music.” 

Hustler ACP Pacemakers

The Hustler placed second for Best Website and sixth for Best Email Newsletter for ACP’s Best of Show awards. Oung won third place for Reporter of the Year, and Abel won second place for Best Column with the same package of articles as CMA. Oung, Lele and Graphics Director Lexie Perez won second place for Best Multimedia News Story for “Tennessee gun laws: What you need to know,” also a CMA Pinnacles award winner.  

Hustler SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards

Regionally, The Hustler competes in SPJ’s Region 12, composed of student media outlets in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. 

Perrotta, Oung, Lele, Senior Staff Writer Alison Winters and Former Magazine Editor Charlotte Mauger placed first in SPJ’s General News Reporting competition among schools with more than 10,000 students. They won for a package of stories about investigations into VUMC’s transgender health clinic including “Gov. Lee calls for investigation of VUMC transgender health clinic after accusatory social media posts,” Matt Walsh hosts anti-trans rally headlined by Marsha Blackburn, Tulsi Gabbard” and “Pamphlets left around campus accuse Vanderbilt of ‘fascism’ due to VUMC transgender healthcare.” 

Full list of awards

Hustler CMA Pinnacles national awards

CMA Pinnacles national awards (other VSC organizations)

  • Literary Magazine of the YearSecond place, The Vanderbilt Review 
  • Radio Station of the YearSecond place, VandyRadio 
  • Best Audio Talk/Entertainment ProgramSecond place, Erica Lutz (VandyRadio)
  • Best Audio Promo/PSAThird place, Cameron Lenkov and Terrie Jeon (VandyRadio)
  • Best Audio Newscast Honorable Mention, Jaylan Sims (VandyRadio)
  • Best Video Entertainment ProgramHonorable Mention (1/2): “Love or Cookie” by Noah Weitzel, Devin Laye and Stephan Bellamy (VVP)

Hustler ACP Best of Show awards

  • Best WebsiteSecond place: The Vanderbilt Hustler 
  • Best Email NewsletterSixth place: The Vanderbilt Hustler 

Hustler ACP Pacemakers national awards

Hustler SPJ Mark of Excellence national awards

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About the Contributors
Jorie Fawcett
Jorie Fawcett, Senior Advisor
Jorie Fawcett ('25) is from Tiffin, Ohio, and studies secondary education and sociology in Peabody College. She previously served as Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and Life Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her teaching, reading or pretending to study at Local Java or Suzie's. You can reach her at [email protected].
Alysa Suleiman
Alysa Suleiman, Social Media Editor
Alysa Suleiman (‘26) is from Cupertino, Calif., and is majoring in political science and communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. As a amateur cook, she also enjoys testing out dorm recipes as often as possible. You can reach her at [email protected].
Barrie Barto
Barrie Barto, Editor-in-Chief
Barrie Barto ('25) is majoring in medicine, health & society with neuroscience and communication of science & technology minors in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as Photography Director. When she's not strolling around campus with her camera, you can find Barrie cheering on the St. Louis Blues or tracking down the best gluten-free food in Nashville. She can be reached at [email protected].
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