The Optimist won first place in overall excellence among Texas newspapers participating in the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association this weekend at the TIPA convention. It also won Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper in Texas and Oklahoma in the Society of Professional Journalists regional competition. The publication is now eligible for the SPJ national competition. The JMC Network won first place in Best All-Around Television Newscast and KACU won second place in Best All-Around Radio Newscast in the SPJ competition.
Twelve students in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication competed in live contests at the convention in Fort Worth. The students were competing against publications of Division I schools in the state and won nine awards in live competition, including two first places, three second places, one third place and three honorable mentions.
Dr. Cheryl Bacon, professor and chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, said the results of the competition “validates what we do in our curriculum and demonstrates that our students are successful and comparative against other and much larger programs in our region.”
Students also placed in dozens of contests for pre-submitted work from the 2012 calender year.
In the pre-submitted categories, members of the Optimist staff won 19 awards in writing, design and photojournalism. These awards included three first places, four second places, three third places and nine honorable mentions.
KACU won overall excellence in the ratio category for “News and Noon” and the radio sweepstakes award. KACU staff members won five first places, a second place, a third place and an honorable mention.
The JMC Network won first place in General Website Excellence for acuoptimist.com in the Division 2 online category. The network also won the sweepstakes award with three first places, a second place and one honorable mention.
Students won two two first places, a second place, two third places and two honorable mentions in the television news category, including second place for best newscast.
Bacon said ACU has been entered in TIPA as a Division 1 school for the past 25 years.
“We chose to compete against the largest universities because we think it’s good for our students to compete against schools of that caliber,” she said.
Julie Coppedge, senior Ad/PR major from Amarillo received a $400 Frank Buckley Scholarship during the awards breakfast for her academic performance at ACU. Coppedge said the convention was a fun way to connect with professors and other JMC students.
Mark Smith, senior convergence journalism major from Powhatan, Va., is the Editor in Chief for the Optimist and the JMC Network Director. He said he was thrilled to see the publication receive that recognition.
“I am extremely proud of everyone on the Optimist staff to have produced this publication that, throughout the entire year, was the best overall student newspaper in Texas,” Smith said. “It says a lot about our department and our staff and the students who contribute to it. I’m very proud, very thankful and grateful for all their work.”