El Vaquero brought home a total of 14 awards from the annual Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) conference that took place in downtown Los Angeles at the Wilshire Grand Hotel March 30 through April 2.
The staff managed to hold its own among more than the 50 plus California community colleges that competed at the convention.
El Vaquero received accolades in mail-in categories as well as in the bring-in and on-the-spot competitions.
The mail-in entries were sent out prior to the conference and awarded Friday night while the bring-in and on-the-spot awards were handed out Saturday night.
On-the-spot competitions are intended to give journalism students an opportunity to experience the pressure of deadline as well as an opportunity to polish their reporting and or photographic skills.
For the team feature event, a reporter and a photographer were sent out to Chinatown and asked to come up with a story and an accompanying photo to go along with the article. Writer Pauline Guiuan and photographer Sumaya Mehai received an honorable mention for their piece on bargain shopping in Chinatown.
“Coming up with the story was a real struggle because hardly any of the shop owners understood English,” said Guiuan. “It was a real challenge doing that feature, which made winning and beating Citrus College all the more worthwile.”
Guiuan entered four on-the-spot competitions and was able to take home an award in every category. Guiuan took home second place for broadcast news writing and honorable mentions in the feature story and copy editing contests.
“It’s an unexpected honor, considering how many contenders there were,” she said. “Actually, the whole competition was a winning experience in itself.”
Also winning big at the statewide convention was Editor in Chief Jane Pojawa who snagged seven awards for front page layout, student designed advertisement, bring-in photo illustration and photo info graphic, and team feature.
“Obviously, I’m thrilled to have won so many awards; two years ago, I barely knew what Photoshop was and these are skills I acquired at GCC,” said Pojawa. “But what I am most proud of is my staff; they’ve become more than just talented writers and photographers they truly are a news team.”
The staff also received a general excellence award for the newspaper’s Web site.
Aside from competitions, the students who attended the conference were presented with an array of workshops geared to help and encourage them in their future journalism endeavors. Tours of the KABC studios and the Los Angeles Times were also offered.
The JACC state conference is held every year in the spring and alternates between Los Angeles and Sacramento. The Southern California convention is held in the fall at Cal State Fullerton, competition which involves only community colleges from Southern California.
El Vaquero received 20 awards at the Fullerton convention, an all time high for the staff. Some of the winning categories included copy editing, opinion writing and feature photo.