Western’s student newspaper was first published Nov. 5, 1923, under the masthead The
Breeze. Early editors envisioned the paper as “an organ of expression for all the students” and a
way to improve the school, urging fellow students to subscribe so the paper could become a
self-sustaining, student-led enterprise. That goal was reached in March 1924, when the
associated students of then-Oregon Normal School assumed responsibility for the paper and
adopted a new name: The Lamron (“normal” spelled backward).
Since then, the student paper has been published almost continuously, morphing from the
ONS Lamron to the Western Oregon Journal, The Journal and, most recently, the Western
This spring, the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association (ONPA) honored the Western
Howl with 17 awards in the category for four-year colleges and universities with non-daily
newspapers. And although the awards recognize a job well done, the desire to write for the
students and community at WOU is still the paper’s guiding principle, said sophomore Cora
McClain, the 2019-20 editor-in-chief.
“When we write our stories and plan our issues, we don’t have the awards in mind,” she said.
“What we are most concerned about is creating a dynamic small community weekly paper that
informs as well as entertains. The awards are a physical representation of how much work and
passion we put into the paper.”
Going into the 2019-20 academic year, McClain took the helm of a mostly inexperienced
newsroom but said she was optimistic about her colleagues’ ability to maintain the paper’s high
“There is a lot of potential to live up to, but I have full confidence,” she said. “They all have the
same drive and energy that our previous staff had, and I’m really excited to work with them, to
do the same high level of work.”
The 2019 ONPA awards for stories published in 2018-
• First place, Best News Story. Sam Dunaway. She took first place honors for a feature on
WOU’s Fostering Success initiative, which supports students who have been part of the foster
• First place, Best Sports Story. Simson Garcia. His feature was about softball player Tyler
• First place, Best Editorial. Stephanie Blair. Her piece urged organizers of a campus
Holocaust awareness event to reconsider their use of a derogatory term for
• First place, Best Review. Caity Healy. Healy’s insightful analysis of the 2018 Spring
Dance Concert won accolades from judges. Healy also received a third place award for Best
• First, second and third place, Best Cartooning. Rachel Hetzel. She swept the awards for her
• First place, Best Headline Writing. Lake Larsen. His deft way with words helped him
win recognition for his story-toppers. He also took second place in the Best Columnist
category and received a nod for Best Sports Story, taking second place with
colleague Cora McClain.
• First place, Best Sports Photo. Paul F. Davis. He also earned second place in three
categories: Best Editorial, Best Photography and Best Sports Photo.
• First place, Best House Ad. Darien Campo and Elissa Sorenson. The pair were
honored for their layout.
• Second place, Best News Story. Bailey Thompson.