El Vaquero Garners Awards in Statewide Journalism Contest

El Vaquero Staff Writer

The El Vaquero staff brought home six awards from the annual Journalism Association of Community College convention in Sacramento.

In the mail-in competitions, El Vaquero won for: Front Page Design, Tabloid: Third Place, El Vaquero staff; Advertisement: Honorable Mention, Sarkis Nazaryan; Online Journalism: General Excellence; Headlines: General Excellence; and Profile Feature Story: Honorable Mention, Beverly Irwin.

And El Vaquero photography editor Ani Asatryan won honorable mention in sports photography in the on-the-spot competitions.

In addition to these awards, El Vaquero staff writer Eddie Alvarez was selected as president of JACC’s Southern California region.

The new title will allow Alvarez to make decisions about the future of JACC.

JACC is an association of both California and Arizona community college journalism programs.

The convention was “designed to provide continual education for journalism instructors and extended educational opportunities for journalism students,” as noted on the organization’s Web site.

The event was designed to give those individuals interested in journalism a better understanding of the process and allowed school groups, such as GCC, to work better as a team.

El Vaquero editor Tania Chatila, assitant editors Michael J. Arvizu and Asatryan and staff writers Alvarez, Byron Blocker, Bret Gutierrez, Nane Jamkotchian, Ofelya Martirosyan, Jammie Salagubang, Bonnie Schindler and Talynn Soghomonians competed in the April 3-6 convention and were among hundreds of students from 13 California community colleges that competed in 13 different competitions.

Competitions and workshops covered copy editing, critical review, design layout, editorial cartoon, editorial writing, feature writing, headlines, feature photo, news writing, news photography, sports photography, sports writing and team feature.

The convention not only gave students the chance to quiz professionals in journalism fields, but also allowed them to experience firsthand the stress of deadlines and real-world journalism.

Most of the competitions had a story deadline turn-around of only a few short hours.

This meant that an hour after the critical review writers watched a movie, in the heart of Sacramento, they were in the lab typing out a critique.

The same went for the sports writers. They attended a night baseball game, and by midnight (the same night), they were typing out stories for the judges to review.

The hard-news writers and the editorial cartoonists also felt the pressure of a daily newspaper deadline: They covered an abortion debate in the grand ballroom of the event host, the Double Tree Hotel.

Only two short hours after the emotional debate, competitors were using their best skills in the writing lab.

Given a little more leeway was the feature writers and the team feature participants; in both contests, stories were due the next day. In the team feature event, a writer and photographer worked together to produce a cohesive and attractive story package.

GCC also participated in on-the-spot competitions, mail-in competitions (made up of ads and informational graphics) and an opinion essay competition (To read one of the essay submissions, see Page 2.)

The entire event was a possible steppingstone between education learned in school and real-life experiences.

With tough competitions and deadlines, aspiring journalists around the state took one more step closer to their careers.