By Nathan Driskell, Student Reporter
Students from the Journalism and Mass Communication Department won 42 awards at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s annual convention in San Antonio on April 6-8.
The Optimist won an honorable mention for overall excellence, placing fifth at the competition behind University of Texas Arlington, Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin and University of North Texas.
The Optimist is the only non-daily newspaper to compete in the Newspaper Division 1 category, said Kenneth Pybus, assistant professor of journalism and mass communication and adviser of the newspaper.
“We’re the only non-daily that competes in that category, which makes it hard to win,” Pybus said. “But it makes the things that we do win that much more rewarding.”
Among the more notable award winners was Jonathan Smith, editor in chief of the Optimist and senior journalism major from Tyler, who placed first in on-site TV sportswriting and second in on-site print newswriting.
Mallory Sherwood, managing editor of the Optimist and junior journalism major from Orrville, Ohio, was awarded a Frank W. Buckley Scholarship, as well as being named student president of TIPA. She also placed second in in-depth reporting.
Also, Brian Schmidt, chief photographer for the Optimist and junior journalism major from Austin, won numerous awards, including first place in on-site sports action photography and second place in sports feature photography. Missy Perkins, junior electronic media major from Grapevine, placed first in radio public affairs, and Casey Cooper, senior electronic media major from Mission, won first place in the category of TV spot commercial, public service announcement and promo.
Pybus said these awards are notable achievements.
“Any time you compete against the biggest student newspapers in the state and the schools with the biggest radio stations and schools with bigger TV stations and come back with awards, then that’s something to be proud of,” Pybus said.
In the spring of 2004, The Optimist won first place in overall excellence at TIPA, the only time in its history it has won the award.