Student journalists break previous year’s awards count.
By Josh Drake
For the fourth year in a row, editors and staff members of The Brookhaven Courier broke their awards record at the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention. Staff earned a total of 66 awards for on-site and canned, or previously published content, contests in newspaper, literary magazine, photography and multimedia projects during the convention in downtown Dallas March 22-24.
“I am truly beyond proud of our students’ work – we have a remarkable editorial staff and continue to be one of the top award-winning, student-run newspapers in the state,” Daniel Rodrigue, student publications adviser, said in a campuswide email.
Sixteen Brookhaven College journalism students attended the three-day convention, which included workshops, critiques, on-site contests and opportunities to network with industry professionals.
Victoria Valdez, sports editor, said she thought it was a great way to meet new people and talk to professionals with experience in journalism. “It’s also a good way to find out what you want to do in journalism,” Valdez said.
During the convention, Brookhaven journalists competed against students from two- and four-year colleges across Texas, including The University of Texas at Arlington, Baylor University, Texas A&M at Commerce, Midwestern State University, Kilgore College and Del Mar College.
The Brookhaven competitors won eight awards for the on-site competitions at the 2018 TIPA convention. First place winners included Jubenal Aguilar, editor-in-chief, for News Photo; Jacqueline Arredondo, managing editor, for Print Advertising; and Monica Mitrovic, copy desk chief, for Critical Review.
Arredondo said she competed in the Yearbook Design contest for the first time this year. “I have done advertising before, but this is the third time I have been to TIPA,” she said. “The first time I went, I had no clue what was happening, and I didn’t place at all.”
Arredondo said the print advertising competition started 30 minutes late, which gave the competitors an hour to finish, but she was still able to finish early.
Second place on-site competition winners included Mitrovic for Headline Writing and Valdez for Radio Sports Writing. Third place winners included Elena Walker, arts and culture and social media editor, for Public Relations Crisis Management and John C. McClanahan, copy editor and editorial proofreader, for Print Sports Writing.
At the TIPA awards breakfast March 24, Aguilar won the Michael Warms Scholarship for 2-Year Students worth $400. Only four community college students received the scholarship.
Valdez said the contests were challenging, but she feels they were a learning experience.
The Courier also received honorable mention for Best of Show in Division 2 for its Feb. 26 issue.
Prior to the convention, The Courier editors submitted articles, photographs and illustrations for The Courier and The Windmill, Brookhaven’s literary magazine, as well as multimedia projects, to be judged in canned competitions. The Courier staff won 58 awards for their entries, leading their division in awards count which included schools such as Eastfield College, Amarillo College, Tyler Junior College and West Texas A&M.
Juan Betancourt, a former Brookhaven student and sports and web editor in fall 2017, won 19 awards for previous projects, including multimedia reporting of local protests and the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. “I was shocked to hear I won 19 awards,” Betancourt said. “I honestly couldn’t have done it without the help of my staff. I’m glad that our hard work was recognized at TIPA.”
Jacob Vaughn, copy editor and fact checker, who worked with Betancourt on the Sutherland Springs coverage, said, “I can now officially call myself an award-winning multimedia journalist.”