The Courier staff sweeps live news competition

Mykel Hilliard, Arts & Culture Editor

The Brookhaven Courier staff continued its winning streak at the 2019 Texas Community College Journalism Association Convention Oct. 17-18 in Waco, Texas. Current and former editors, staff and photographers took home a combined total of 26 awards in Division 2, including first place in Overall Excellence for both their newspaper and website.
The TCCJA convention hosts community college journalism programs from across the state, including Del Mar and Kilgore colleges, as well as DCCCD’s Richland, Eastfield and Brookhaven colleges.
Baylor University hosted this year’s convention. Courier staff competed in a live multimedia competition at McLennan Community College Emergency Services Education Center covering a staged domestic disturbance and house fire. “We don’t get to cover and execute a story as a team often, so it was awesome to be able to put those skills to the test,” Jacob Vaughn, editor-in-chief, said.
Editors won seven awards in the live competitions. The team won first place for Best Cohesive Story Package covering the staged event. Layout/web editor, Matthew Brown and managing/sports editor Malen Blackmon won first place in headline writing. Multimedia staffer Vinay George, contributing writer KT Reid and Jacob Vaughn took second place for Best Multimedia Package. Blackmon, contributing photographer Xochitl Gonzalez and distribution manager Josh Drake won third place for Best Photo Series. Blackmon also took third place for BestDominant Photo. Blackmon also took third place for dominant photo.
“The pressure of the timed writing competitions melts all distractions away, and I think the techniques I used to cope can help me write faster outside of them, too,” Brown said. He also won first place in the live copy editing competition.
Daniel Rodrigue, student publications adviser, said, “[I’m] very proud of the performance of The Brookhaven Courier’s editors, staff and photographers because several different panels of judges agreed my current and former students did exceptionally well.”
The Courier also won 19 awards in canned contests from the 2018-2019 school year.
Vaughn took home first place for in-depth reporting for a fall 2018 three-part series about water leaks on campus. But he said he did not win all the awards he wanted to. “I didn’t place in the [front page] design contest, but now I know what I need to work on for the next convention, so I can hopefully come out on top,” he said. “But receiving the awards that we did is just confirmation for me that we are doing something right.”
Schools were allowed to submit up to two entries for each category. The Courier won first and second place for editorial writing, in-depth reporting and newspaper design.
While at Baylor, The Courier’s staff explored the university, toured the Baylor Lariat newsroom and attended seminars from guest speakers such as Danny Gallagher of the Dallas Observer and Cassandra Jaramillo from The Dallas Morning News. The Courier staff will return to compete at TCCJA in Spring 2020