Experience staff win awards


Graphic from Weston Hopkins

Roya Mohammad, Staff Writer

The Los Medanos College Experience staff attended an online journalism conference Nov. 6-8 and were honored with 18 awards for work published during the 2019-20 academic year in addition to the contests held during the conference. 

The annual Journalism Association of Community Colleges’s state convention is a three-day event that brings together faculty and students from colleges throughout California for workshops, speakers, contests, meetings and more. Due to COVID-19, the convention could not be held in person; however, for the first time ever the convention occurred virtually. 

The JACC convened its 2020 fall conference on Friday, Nov. 6 through Sunday, Nov. 8 with a total of 217 faculty, staff, and students from 30 community colleges throughout the state. Here, they recognized the achievements of student publications in a variety of categories for newspaper, video and broadcast, magazine, illustration and photography. Student publications from the academic year 2019-2020 were evaluated by professionals in the field based on set criteria. 

The former Experience Editor-in-Chief Krys Shahin got second place for the Experience’s front page layout, third place in Feature Photo for a photograph of the Mamava pod on Level 3 of the Main College Complex, and honorable mention in Feature Story for an article about the Food Pantry.

Shahin believes her journey for winning those awards was made up by learning as much as she could from Experience Advisor Cindy McGrath and never backing down from a learning opportunity. Additionally, Shahin was motivated by producing products in the Experience that she would be proud of while she was Editor-in-Chief.

“For the layout award, Jordyn Toscano and I worked on the front page every week and bounced ideas off together before finding something we both liked. Cindy always came in handy with fine tuning and making sure we had something that wasn’t breaking too many page layout rules. I’m super glad we got second place because I was really proud of the designs we made as a team,” said Shahin. “For the photo, before last semester, I didn’t know how to work a camera. I understood the rule of thirds, how to take a decent photo and how to edit a picture to make it look better, but I didn’t grasp actual photography. I purchased my camera for Curtis Corlew’s class and everything I know about photography is 100% because of him. He’s the only reason I was able to get that photo and eventually that award.” 

Overall, Shahin feels great about all the awards that the Experience won and is happy with the products the Experience submitted for the awards. 

“There’s something so surreal about seeing your name next to the announcement of an award. I couldn’t be happier with myself and all the hard work the Experience staff as a whole put in for the spring 2020 semester.” said Shahin. 

The former Experience staff writer Katie Loughran won third place in News Photo for a picture taken during a campus evacuation last fall, and an honorable mention in Photo Illustration for a piece of artwork accompanying a story on Friday the 13th.

When asked about Katie’s preparation and journey for the awards, Loughran said: 

“Well for starters, in terms of preparation, I’m incredibly grateful for the new staff I got to work with because both photography and illustrations were never my strong suits prior to my time at the LMC Experience. Getting to take part in such a creative and diverse newsroom opened my eyes to venturing outside of the article-writing box that I’d inadvertently placed myself in. I’m incredibly appreciative and proud of how the JACC has celebrated my work, but the real prize for me was having had the opportunity to work alongside our amazing editor-in-chief and news staff.”

The current Experience Editor-in-Chief Weston Hopkins won third place honors in On-the-Spot News Writing, and staff writer Elizabeth McLaurin won honorable mention in On-the-Spot Opinion Writing.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when I submitted the story, I had been on Zoom all day and was ready to sleep. Getting third was cool, but having been a part of the staff during the spring semester I was thrilled with how well the Experience did overall,” said Hopkins.

Full list of awards won by the Experience staff, besides the On-the-Spot portion.