Courier scores big at TIPA convention


Rory Moore

Jubenal Aguilar (left), student media adviser; Maria Elena Franco; Sheree Peart; Leonardo Rosas; Daniel Rodrigue, faculty advisor; Andrea Olan; Trennt Rhea and Emmy Hardy hold individual and group awards.

Emmy Hardy, Copy Desk Chief

The Brookhaven Courier editors and staff earned 40 awards at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s annual convention.

The convention took place March 23-25 and was held at the Hilton Hotel at downtown Fort Worth. Approximately 285 student journalists and 65 advisers attended this year’s convention.

Students competed in live contest categories ranging from news, editorial and public relations writing to photography, design and broadcast.

One of the contests was Copy Editing, where contestants competed in copy editing sentences and a news story.

With 24 entries submitted, the News Writing competition was one of the most competitive contests. Contestants were packed into buses and shuttled off to Joe Pool Lake, where they were tasked with reporting on a staged drowning.

Other contests that comprised the News Event included Spanish, TV and radio writing, as well as photo and live video news production.

Other students had the opportunity to critique or photograph a live concert in the Critical Review and Two-Person Photo Essay contests. Contestants attended Tulips FTW, a music venue in Fort Worth, for a concert headlined by Rosegarden Funeral Party, and preceded by openers Ester Shank and Overshare.

Andrea Olan, managing editor with the Courier and a contestant in the Two-Person Essay, said, “Being my first year attending TIPA, it has been an important learning opportunity for me. The live news event taught me about breaking news reporting, and how to react in those situations.”

Olan was proud of the effort The Courier staff put into the live competitions. She said, “Events like TIPA give us students a chance to network and create connections that will help us throughout our personal and professional lives.”

In the Best of Show categories, The Courier earned third place in Division 3 for newspaper and second place in website. The Courier earned over 25 awards in the previously published categories.

The Courier staff also earned first place for both newspaper and website in the Overall Excellence category, along with third place in general magazine for the second edition of the Texana Magizine.

Brandon Donner, former photographer and managing editor with The Courier, earned an honorable mention in Individual Overall Excellence for Photojournalist of the Year for Two- and Four-Year Schools.

Workshops included Lawsuit-Proofing Your Newsroom, hosted by Frank LoMonte, a CNN legal counsel, and Finding Sources and Stories with Diverse Voices, hosted by Rebecca Aguilar, a freelance reporter and former president of the Society of Professional Journalists, and many more.

On March 24, a career and trade fair took place. The event hosted several Texas colleges and media outlets, which advertised job opportunities for students.

This TIPA convention marked a special promotion. Julie Reed, outgoing TIPA president, was elected as the new executive director. When asked what she hoped students learned from TIPA, Reed said, “I hope the biggest thing they take away is encouragement/inspiration.”

A luncheon was held, where LoMonte gave the keynote speech.

Eddye Gallagher, a longtime adviser with Tarrant County College, was inducted into the TIPA Hall of Fame. Gallagher previously received the 2014 College Media Association Distinguished Adviser award, as well as the 2005 TIPA Adviser of the Year award.

In a conversation later in the day, LoMonte, in reference to student journalists, said: “I think it’s important to recognize that you may very well be the most reliable and trusted news organization in your entire community. The law is a very powerful tool that is very often on your side.”

The convention was funded in part by Diamond Sponsor Baylor University, Gold Sponsor Sony and others. Van Nguyen, senior pro imaging support for Sony, said, “This is a big part of Sony’s push to support schools and student journalism.”