El Vaquero Staff Brings Home Eight Awards From State Competition

Arpee Markarian

El Vaquero staff members won eight awards, including a first place tie, at the 53rd annual Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) State Convention Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Eleven members of the newspaper staff checked into the Wilshire Grand Hotel last Thursday. They arrived with tape recorders, pens, cameras, and AP style books in hand, determined to compete against fellow student journalists from more than 44 community colleges in California.

After checking in their belongings, students and faculty packed the hotel’s Pacific Ballroom and waited for the three-day event to begin. Their focused mind-sets showed through the words “We do it AP style,” printed in yellow cursive on the burgundy T-shirts of two American River College students.

Keynote speaker Russ Stanton, the new editor-in-chief of the L.A. Times, informed the crowd of the new direction of journalism, referring to multi-media, Web-based content. He also highlighted the key element of news writing.

“Don’t change your majors,” Stanton said. “Good story telling will always be in demand. You are the future of journalism.”
This promising message set the tone of the event and kicked off the convention.

Over the following two days, participants attended more than 70 workshops on various topics on journalism, and competed in mail-in, as well as 13 “on-the-spot” competitions, where students were allotted one hour or less to compose a work from information they compiled during an event earlier in the day.

Among the colleges competing in this statewide competition were Pasadena City, Mt. San Antonio, San Francisco, Southwestern, Los Medanos, and Pierce. Along with other schools, they entered contests such as Copy Editing, News Photo, Feature Photo, Critical Review, Editorial Cartoon, News Writing, Feature Writing, and News Judgment/Layout, to name a few.

On the last day of the convention, students and faculty advisors gathered one last time in the Pacific Ballroom – this time for the awards dinner banquet.

GCC tied for first place with five other schools in The Team Feature 2.0, a new on-the-spot, multi-media competition. A team of three students per college were required to find a subject in a specific area of the local community – where they were dropped off by bus – and build a presentation around it using photographs, audio, interviews and captions.

For their work “Olvera Street: Community, Culture and Faith,” El Vaquero staff writer Fabiola Prieto, and photographers Ismael Reyes and Allan Beglarian combined photographs, interviews, captions, music, and still images to tell the tale of the people of Olvera Street.

“It felt really good to win,” Prieto said of the team’s victory. “We did work really hard on it . the whole night, until we finished at 4 a.m. But at the end I was really happy we won. .I think it was really good team work.”

Glendale’s was one of three team feature productions shown during the banquet.
But this wasn’t the only award for El Vaquero.

Photographer Graig Agop won two honorable mentions for his mail-in Photo Story/Essay, and on-the-spot Feature Photo and second place in News Photo; former El Vaquero editor-in-chief Olga Ramaz received an honorable mention for News Story and second place for Critical Review, both mail-in pieces; Prieto took third place for a Bring In Advertisement; and writers Prieto, Claudia Anaya, production manager Jane Pojawa, and Agop were awarded second place for Bring In Infographic.

Michael Moreau, faculty advisor to the El Vaquero staff, smiled as the winners held up their awards and took pictures.

“We have a lot to be happy about,” Moreau said. “There were a lot of things packed in a couple of days but our people held up very well. I am proud of them.”

He said this marks the seventh year that the El Vaquero staff has competed in JACC. In November, at the Southern California conference at Cal State Fullerton, Glendale will again compete for awards.