Experience staff honored at Norcal Conference with 12 awards

The Los Medanos College Experience won 12 awards in the annual Northern Regional Publications and On-the-Spot contests of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, awarded at the regional journalism conference Nov. 7 at California State University-Sacramento.

Experience Co-Editor in Chief Cassie Dickman won second place in Enterprise News for a series of 11 news stories published during the 2014-15 academic year on questions raised by citizens, representatives of BART, and a member of the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board about the site selected for the new Brentwood Center satellite campus.

“It was exciting to win second place because I put a lot of hard work into those stories, but I was more enthusiastic to win honorable mention in an On-the-Spot competition. Because it was more of a real-world journalistic news situation, which is a harder feat,” said Dickman.

Photo Editor Cathie Lawrence took home three awards for photography. She won both second and third place honors in Online Photo Essay for two multimedia photo presentations in the online edition of the Experience, and second place in Photo Essay for a package of photos in the print edition of the Experience.

“It’s always nice hearing that you have taken an award for the work you have produced,” said Lawrence. “I was elated, taken back and surprised to hear that I took three awards at this semesters JACC NorCal Conference … I guess you could say I feel three times happier with this semesters wins.”

Two members of the staff also won awards for their work designing pages for the print edition of the Experience: Managing Editor Joseph Delano won Honorable Mention in Front Page Layout done during his tenure last year as editor in chief Sports Editor Brendan Cross won Honorable Mention in Inside Page Layout.

“It felt nice to have my work recognized. Although I don’t do it for the awards, I do it for the experience,” said Delano.

The work last year of several former staff members was also honored. Former Experience cartoonist Joey Fajardo won both second and third place in the Editorial Cartoon category for two cartoons published last year on the Perspectives Page. Former staff writer and photographer Suzzanne Sperry won second place in Video Journalism for an online video feature about a guitarist on campus. And former staff writer Stacy Kaupanger won second place in Profile Feature Story for an article focusing on biology instructor James Madden.

Students attending the annual regional conference also had the opportunity to compete in On-the-Spot Contests based on a presentation by keynote speaker Cristi Hegranes, founder of the Global Press Institute, on her work to train women in developing countries to report on important issues and spark change in their communities. Two members of the Los Medanos College delegation were honored for their onsite work covering that speech:

  • Joseph Delano won fourth place honors in On-The-Spot Editorial Cartoon for his illustrative interpretations of the speaker’s comments.
  • Cassie Dickman won honorable mention in On-The-Spot News Writing for her written interpretations of the speaker’s comments.

Experience adviser Cindy McGrath praised the work of the LMC student journalists who won awards at the conference, and emphasized that their pursuit and achievement of excellence continues.

“The staff is filled with dedicated and creative students, and I am proud of the work they do every week,” said McGrath. “Awards are a nice acknowledgment of their efforts, but the real prize is the experience that will prepare them for transfer to four-year schools, or for jobs as print, online or broadcast journalists when they leave LMC.”