Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Students honored for pipeline fire coverage

College of San Mateo Journalism students were honored Saturday with prestigious awards for print and video coverage of last fall’s San Bruno Pipeline Fire.

“ … This is awesome,” wrote the judges about the students’ print coverage of the San Bruno catastrophe. “It’s a story that got national coverage. Your staff was there, tackling various angles. You related it to students/campus and showed how students were impacted.”

Judges awarded the students “Generally Excellent” in the Enterprise Story/Series category for the coverage. The category is not ranked otherwise and only cites the most outstanding work. Judges also honored the students’ newspaper, The San Matean, with a General Excellence award and selected students for additional honors in video, photography and advertising.

The Journalism Association of Community Colleges, a statewide organization, presented the awards during a three-day conference last week in Sacramento. JACC enlists journalism professionals to judge the contests. The annual event features an array of workshops, including sessions on reporting, design and photography.

CSM Journalism students also were honored in March for the same fire coverage in competition with four-year colleges hosted by the California College Media Association.

The winning team’s students include Margaret Baum, Roger Boucher, Raymond Cheung, Alex Farr, Jeffrey Gonzalez, Tyler Huffman, Bruno Manrique, Jason Pun and Sylvia Vasquez.

Students also captured third place honors in the Web/Broadcast News category for their video coverage of the fire.

“Timely and informative,” wrote the judges of the video report. “Excellent footage, good cross-section of people, equal to professional news stories.”

The students are Mario Ayala, Jeffrey Gonzalez and Jason Pun.

Students were provided plaques and certificates during the event which counted 567 students and faculty from 47 colleges.

Two other students, Cecile Basnage and Nick Zirbes, were awarded Honorable Mention in the Video Journalism category for their coverage of last year’s student protests over budget cuts.

“ … Captured the energy of the day,” the judges wrote. “The viewer got a feel for different aspects of the protest.”

Basnage also was awarded third place honors in Photo Story/Essay for her print and photo coverage of a campus dance event.

Student Petero Qauqau was awarded Honorable Mention for his photo of a football play.

Another student, Ben Ebrahimzadehgan, was awarded second place for Student-Designed Advertisement for his full-page cartoon of a journalist as superhero. The ad publicized the value of enrolling in journalism studies.

Kayla Figard, editor of The San Matean, was awarded a $100 scholarship as part of the JACC event. She led the team of three attending the conference.

“The CSM Journalism program is under financial pressure and required donations for its students to attend the event,” said Journalism Adviser Ed Remitz. “Even then, unfortunately, the number of students who could participate was reduced from years past.”

“It was a very inspirational experience,” said Figard. “It was amazing to be able to connect with other colleges going through the same financial problems."

“I'm proud of our staff's hard work and achievements despite our budget limitations," she said.

“Our students gained much from the workshops with the awards and judges’ comments a tremendous resource for them,” said Remitz. “It is especially rewarding to see that our students met the demanding challenge of covering a major local event at a level professionals have singled out for honors.”

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