Winner, finalists announced for Best Men’s Volleyball Online Coverage of the Year

For the second time in the last three years, The Daily Collegian is the winner of the annual Off the Block Best Men’s Volleyball Online Coverage of the Year award.

Off the Block conducted a season-long analysis of the online coverage for NCAA men’s volleyball on college newspaper websites from around the nation.


Newspapers were judged based on their online articles about men’s volleyball throughout the season, both in terms of quality and quantity. Also factored into this award was a newspaper’s use of online media platforms such as photo galleries, audio slideshows, videos, blogs and social media for men’s volleyball coverage.

The Daily Collegian is the on-campus student newspaper at Penn State University. Men’s volleyball beat reports Darian Somers, Jon Wheel and Aaron Carr led the newspaper in its coverage of the nationally-ranked Nittany Lions this season.

This is the third year of the Off the Block Best Men’s Volleyball Online Coverage of the Year award. The Daily Collegian won the inaugural award in 2011, while The Ball State Daily News won the award last year.

The Ball State Daily News (Ball State University), The Universe (BYU) and the Ka Leo (University of Hawai’i) were selected as finalists for the Off the Block Best Men’s Volleyball Online Coverage of the Year.

Off the Block is the nation’s leading website for NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball news and analysis. Every Sunday throughout the regular season Off the Block also publishes the top five men’s volleyball stories of the week, which recognized the best written stories from around the nation.

Below are the results and judge’s comments for the 2013 Off the Block Best Men’s Volleyball Online Coverage of the Year award winner and finalists.

2013 OFF THE BLOCK BEST ONLINE COVERAGE FOR MEN’S VOLLEYBALL
The Daily Collegian
Penn State University; University Park, Pa.
Previous years:
National winner in 2011; Finalist in 2012
Comments: For the third consecutive year, The Daily Collegian published more men’s volleyball articles than any other college newspaper in the nation. The newspaper would publish about six articles per week about the Nittany Lions ranging from in-depth personality profile stories about players to game stories that went beyond the box score and provided readers with insightful analysis. Beat reporters Darian Somers, Jon Wheel and Aaron Carr spearheaded The Daily Collegian’s in-depth coverage of the team. These three reporters produced several compelling stories that became a source of discussion throughout the volleyball community such as their story about Penn State coach Mark Pavlik criticizing the voting process for the national coaches poll. In addition, The Daily Collegian had at least one story make every Off the Block’s national “Top 5 men’s volleyball stories of week” list this season. The newspaper also provided a strong visual online presence by providing photos from every home match during the regular season. Along with its stories and photos, The Daily Collegian reporters effectively and consistently provided its readers with instant in-match scoring updates of Penn State matches via Twitter. It would be usual for the three reporters combined to Tweet more than 50 times during a Penn State match.


2013 OFF THE BLOCK BEST ONLINE COVERAGE FOR MEN’S VOLLEYBALL FINALISTS
The Ball State Daily News
Ball State University; Muncie, Ind.
Previous years:
National winner in 2012; Finalist in 2011
Comments: The Ball State Daily News was one of the best college newspapers in the nation at using multiple media platforms to effectively report on a college men’s volleyball team this season. The newspaper had multimedia coverage ranging from online video pregame and postgame shows for select home matches to a strong social media presences providing in-match updates and photos. Beat report Evan Barnum-Steggerda also wrote more than 50 stories about the team during the regular season, including personality profiles about Ball State players and news-feature stories examining why the undefeated Cardinals were not ranked in the national coaches poll. In addition, The Ball State Daily News had the best online photo presence of any college newspaper. The newspaper led by Johnathan Miksanek and Corey Ohlenkamp had online photo galleries for almost every home match this season with its best work being its coverage of Ball State upsetting Ohio State in front of more than 2,000 people in attendance at Worthen Arena.

The Universe
BYU; Provo, Utah
Previous years:
Finalist in 2012
Comments: The Universe provided strong story coverage of the BYU men’s volleyball team, which was ranked No. 1 throughout most of the regular season. Beat reporter Trent Christiansen led the newspaper in its volleyball coverage providing a nice balance of game stories that went beyond rehashing the box score and appealing personality profile stories that helped the casual or non-volleyball fan better relate to the team. Among Christiansen’s best stories this season was a personality profile about BYU’s quirky starting setter Ryan Boyce. The Universe added a good visual presence to its online coverage this season, including a well-produced online photo gallery from the Cougars’ home regular-season finale.

Ka Leo
University of Hawai’i at Manoa; Honolulu
Previous years:
First time selected as finalist
Comments: The Ka Leo had the fewest stories of any of the other finalists and award winners, but what it lacked in written content to made up for in online video content. Interim editor-in-chief Marc Arakaki produced online video packages for almost every home match that were published on the newspaper’s website within hours of the match ending. These online video included good game footage from the matches, anchor voiceovers and most importantly postmatch interviews with players and coaches that provided outstanding soundbites. As a result of this coverage, the Ka Leo had the most men’s volleyball online video coverage of any college newspaper in the nation. Along with the video content, the newspaper published numerous preview and game stories throughout the season that did a good job providing the readers with everything they needed to know about the team.