Award-winning Gargoyle sets sights on new academic year

Gargoyle Panel at Com Week 2024
June 28, 2024
By Anna Boone
With recent student journalism awards fresh on their minds, incoming co-editors to The Flagler College Gargoyle are eager to continue the student newspaper’s successful track-record and expand the publication’s impact.

Check out episode 13 of Flagler's Breaking Eggs podcast: "A Chat with the Gargoyle, Student-Run Publication"

“Looking ahead to my leadership role this year, I really want to highlight the diverse opportunities at the Gargoyle,” Chloe Smith, incoming co-editor, said. “It’s not just writing; there are opportunities in graphic design, photography, videography, editing, social media, marketing, and more.” 

Smith, who’s entering her third year at Flagler as a Digital Media Production & Journalism major, began writing for The Gargoyle during her first year on campus.  

Students from The Gargoyle with Brian Thompson during Com Week 2024

Front row (left to right): Megan Churchill '24, Chloe Smith, Gabby Alfveby '24, Sara Orr, & Hannah Duffey '24; In back (left to right): Brian Thompson '95 & Nicholas Leo '24

“I'll never forget the excitement of seeing my first article published—it was a thrilling experience then and continues to be every time,” Smith said. “The friendships I’ve formed, the mentors I've gained, and the people I've met have all been incredibly rewarding.” 

Above all, she said it’s been an “invaluable” opportunity to explore topics she’s passionate about or that she believes deserve attention.  

Fellow incoming co-editor, Sara Orr, said she sees immense value in the Gargoyle’s ability to fill gaps in local news coverage. 

“Student journalism at Flagler College empowers us to engage with our community in meaningful ways... with the stories we tell about the community that we exist in,” Orr said.

Former co-editor and recent graduate, Gabby Alfveby, sees The Gargoyle as a tight-knit and rewarding environment that has a great capacity to grow students’ skills. 

“[This student newspaper] has given us so much confidence in ourselves and our writing,” Alfveby said. “There is nothing like the group of people and the community that we have created here at Flagler with The Gargoyle.” 

Gargoyle students with Bob Woodward

'23-'24 Gargoyle staff members with renowned journalist, Bob Woodward

Alfveby’s peer and predecessor, Smith, pointed to hard-earned student journalism awards as a “great reminder to the staff that The Gargoyle receives visibility and that our work resonates with readers.” 

Most recently, the publication was notified of five finalists spots in the Society of Professional Journalists’ (SPJ) Sunshine State Awards; winners will be announced in August. 

Earlier this year, The Gargoyle was recognized in six categories of SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards. Despite fierce competition against larger schools in the region like The University of Florida and The University of Miami, The Flagler College Gargoyle maintained its track record of excellence.  

Homepage of The Gargoyle

The now online-only publication landed a finalist place in the collegiate competition’s “Best Independent Online Student Publication,” and five Gargoyle staff members, including both incoming editors, earned awards category in addition to earning five staff awards. 

Smith was awarded a finalist title in the “Feature Writing” category for her reporting on local food insecurity, and Orr in the “Arts/ Entertainment/ Fashion” category for her article “‘Teach Me a Song:’ Indigenous music and art installation at Crisp Ellert.” 

She said her food insecurity reporting, a project she started a couple of semesters ago, holds a special significance.  

“The series began as a spontaneous idea but evolved into one of the first pieces I felt truly mattered in my journalism career,” Smith said. “I pursued this topic passionately, and seeing such a crucial but overlooked issue gain recognition through an award reaffirmed its importance.” 

Gargoyle first edition CTA

Orr said her recent SPJ award serves as a reminder of a story that was meaningful to her because of the knowledge she gained in covering it, an element of journalism she finds “incredibly rewarding.” 

“Journalism is about curiosity,” Orr said. 

Alfveby (‘24) also placed as a finalist in the Mark of Excellence “Feature Writing” category for her piece, “No regrets: Elizabeth Montavon pro water skier learns to live with an autoimmune disease.” 

“I am not only proud to have won another SPJ award but that so many of my fellow staff members also won awards for [coverage of] important and meaningful issues,” Alfveby said. “We are a small publication, but our writers have so much drive and have been committed to producing strong writing.” 

Since 2007, the student newspaper has racked up more than 140 collegiate journalism awards.  

“Maybe we will cross the 150 milestone this year,” Gargoyle’s faculty advisor, Brian Thompson said.  

One thing that Orr believes sets The Gargoyle apart as a collegiate student news organization is its focus on authenticity and centering of student voices. As she and Smith look forward to this Fall’s next edition of the newspaper, there’s only excitement for what’s to come. 

“We aim to elevate our team by embracing the use of social media platforms, multimedia journalism, and engaging content that resonates with our diverse readership,” Orr said. 

Newspaper header on first edition, front page

Vol. 1, No. 1 of The Gargoyle was published in print on Feb. 5, 1971. Check out the very first edition on the Flagler College Digital Archives