The Optimist and its staff earned 36 awards, including second place in overall excellence, at the annual convention of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association on March 25-27 in Kerrville.
TIPA is nationally recognized as the largest and oldest statewide collegiate press organization in the country; it promotes high journalistic standards by coordinating annual seminars and contests. The two-day event includes workshops and competitions that encompass all areas of journalism, including photography, public relations, videography and print journalism.
Dr. Kenneth Pybus, president of TIPA and assistant professor of journalism and mass communication, chose 12 students from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication based on their work, talent and experience in each field.
The students competed against many of the largest journalism programs in the state, including Baylor University, University of Texas at Arlington, Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University.
“We do not compete against schools our size; we choose larger schools because we know that we are one of the best programs in the state,” Pybus said. “We value quality, not size.”
One of the workshop speakers at TIPA was ACU alumnus David Leeson. Leeson won a Pulitzer Prize for his photographic coverage of the war in Iraq while working for the Dallas Morning News and was inducted into the TIPA Hall of Fame during this year’s conference.
Linda Bailey, future editor in chief of the Optimist and junior journalism major from Borger, placed third in Opinion/Editorial Page Design. She said she enjoyed getting to know editors from the different competing schools.
“It was really interesting to see what other schools struggled with that we didn’t have to,” Bailey said. “We have a lot of advantages and a really good paper and program.”
Colter Hettich, senior journalism major and current editor in chief, said he is proud of the group’s hard work.
“We did really well on both the on-site and prepublished competitions,” said Hettich, who placed in three categories.
He also enjoyed getting to know his coworkers on a more personal level.
“Because journalism is such an everyday kind of thing, we are not together unless it has to do with work,” Hettich said. “I haven’t just been working with these people. I have been building friendships and relationships.”
For a complete list of awards, visit www.acuoptimist.com/competitions/tipa/tipa-2010/.