El Vaquero Wins Big at Journalism Conference

OLGA RAMAZ
El Vaquero Editor in Chief

El Vaquero shone at the regional Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) conference held at Cal State Fullerton, receiving 22 awards on Nov. 4 and setting a new GCC record of most wins at a regional conference.

The staff competed against more than 300 students, each representing 29 community colleges in Southern California.
El Vaquero surpassed their 20-award mark set at Fullerton last fall.

Prior to the conference, entries for the mail-in portion were sent out for judging. Ten awards were presented to the staff in this category, one of which included a meritorious plaque for news editor Pauline Guiuan for her investigative piece on college student suicides.

Mail-in entries are clippings of published stories from the past year which are judged by fellow journalism instructors and professionals. These awards, along with bring-in and on-the-spot categories, were awarded the same evening.

Bring-in awards were given for feature photo, infographic, photo illustration and advertisement.

Photo editor Jane Pojawa was a big winner at JACC, taking home seven awards and dominating in the bring-in categories.

“It was really quite thrilling,” said Pojawa. “I didn’t expect to win anything like that and it was quite an honor to compete.”
On-the-spot competitions included critical review, opinion, sports, news and feature stories. Awards in all these categories include honorable mention and placement recognition.

Guiuan took home first place for feature story.

“Winning feels great,” she said. “The whole experience was just very educational – I enjoyed it tremendously.”

Guiuan also competed in two other categories: broadcast news writing and copy editing. She received an honorable mention in broadcast and third place for the latter.

On-the-spot competitions are intended to give students an opportunity to experience the real life pressure of professional journalists. While meeting tight deadlines, students are also honing their skill in reporting and/or photography.

In addition to competing, students also attend workshops and lectures that gave insight into professional journalism.

First time JACC attendee and Vaquero photographer Graig Agop budgeted his time between competitions and workshops.

“It was an amazing and inspiring experience,” said Agop. “It motivated me to become a better photographer.”

Adviser Liane Enkelis agrees that the workshops, lectures and competitions at JACC are relevant to a student’s journalistic development.

“The whole JACC experience is invaluable for students,” said Enkelis. “I think that this is the closest a student can come to an actual working experience before their internship. [Students also] have the opportunity to attend seminars that are conducted by professionals in the field.”

El Vaquero will travel to Sacramento in the spring for the annual state convention. There, the staff will compete against 50 colleges, representing both Southern and Northern California.
“We have very polished journalists who have many semesters of experience in El Vaquero,” said Enkelis. “Every year we get better.”