College of San Mateo Journalism students captured the highest honors Saturday for their newspaper and website, along with individual awards, at a regional conference in Sacramento, just days before presentation of another honor for their coverage of the San Bruno Pipeline Fire.
The first awards were presented during the annual Northern California conference for the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, a statewide group serving community college journalism programs.
The college’s newspaper and website, The San Matean, were honored with General Excellence, the highest awards possible. The awards result from detailed assessments of the newspaper and website in numerous categories, including writing, editing, photography and graphics. The newspaper also was honored last spring for General Excellence by the JACC at its state conference.
Staff writer Jeffrey Gonzalez captured the first place award in the individual, on-the-spot contest for Opinion writing for his coverage of the event’s keynote speaker. Kayla Figard, Editor of The San Matean, also captured second place in the on-the-spot News category for her report on the keynote.
Gonzalez also garnered a second place for Photo Illustration. Yasmine Mahmoud, Managing Editor for The San Matean, received an Honorable Mention in the on-the-spot Copy Editing contest.
“It was excellent to meet other aspiring journalists, participate in workshops with professionals and compete with our future colleagues,” Figard said about the conference. "Our staff walked out of there inspired with ideas they could bring back to the newsroom."
JACC hosts northern and southern conferences each fall and a statewide conference each spring. Nearly 250 students and advisers from 18 colleges attended the event Saturday at Sacramento State University that featured a range of workshops and competitions. The event includes mail-in contests, for which work over the last year is sent in advance for judging, and on-the-spot contests that run during the conference under deadline pressure.
“This kind of honor helps students develop strong portfolios that help them in their four-year studies and in reaching their career goals,” said Ed Remitz, Journalism Professor and Adviser for The San Matean. “It is wonderful that our students were able to react quickly to this devastating event with diligence and compassion, and that professional’s chose to recognize their work.”
CSM Journalism students attended another event Tuesday night in San Francisco when the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, presented them an Excellence in Journalism award for their coverage of last year’s San Bruno Pipeline Fire coverage. The award was announced on Oct. 18.
“This multimedia package, produced in the midst of a difficult-to-report disaster, demonstrates tenacity, accuracy and fairness,” the SPJ judges wrote about The San Matean’s entries. “The photographs and video captured the impact of the moment, and the reporting was thorough and highly detailed.”
The students who produced the coverage are Margaret Baum, Alex Farr, Raymond Cheung, Mario Ayala, Tyler Huffman, Sylvia Vasquez, Jeffery Gonzalez, Bruno Manrique, Jason Pun, Roger Boucher, Khiry Crawford, Petero Qauqau and Shine Gao.
The SPJ is a respected organization for journalism professionals providing a range of resources, including an ethics code considered fundamental to proper practices within the field. SPJ’S awards are for professionals, but CSM Journalism students collected top honors in its college journalism category — Student Project. About 200 Bay Area print and broadcast professionals attended the event Tuesday night.
The JACC and California College Media Association and Journalism Association of Community Colleges have honored CSM Journalism students in the past year for their San Bruno Pipeline Fire coverage.