JMC students won 28 awards at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association in Dallas last weekend.
ACU was the only school to place first in two of the five news journalism contests, and the JMC Network Newscast won first and third place in the pre-submitted published/broadcast contest. The online website won first place in best blog and best interactivity. More awards were given to staff members in the newspaper, radio and online categories.
“To me that says something that we are doing something right in those visual areas,” said Kenneth Pybus, associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and adviser to the Optimist.
TIPA is one of the oldest and largest collegiate press associations in the country with more than 70 universities and colleges around Texas involved.
TIPA began at Baylor University in 1909, and the Optimist was only six-years-old when it became a participant. Contests have grown from three initial competitions to contests in general magazine, radio, television, online, two divisions of yearbook, literary magazine and six divisions of newspaper, plus more than 25 on-site contests during the annual convention.
Every year, Pybus and Cade White, instructor and visuals adviser to the JMC Network, chaperone a group of students who compete in several categories. This year, 14 JMC majors competed in downtown Dallas for two days. Every two years, a new location is chosen. Last year, the event took place in San Antonio.
Savanah Silva, senior convergence journalism major from San Antonio, competed for her first time and won first place in news video for the on-site competition. Silva also won third place in the pre-submitted contest for radio production.
“It’s super stressful but also worth it because you get a chance to get your work looked at by professionals in the workforce, and they can kind of give you feedback on what you need to work on and what is good,” Silva said. “I was super excited; I did not expect to place.”
Although the event was stressful, it shows ACU students stack-up well against some of the top universities in Texas, Silva said.
Jonathan Ward, another first-time student at TIPA, who won first place in PR Crisis Management and second in Press Release Writing.
“I was honored to represent the university, and it felt good to apply what I learned in the PR classes and kind of get that to feel validated by the competition,” said Ward, junior advertising and public relations major from Plano. “It was a good feeling.”
Students competing in the on-site competitions got several hours to go to the destination and either write, shoot video, edit, produce or do all before deadline.
“I think competing in this event made me better equipped for a professional situation,” Ward said. “I wasn’t really nervous, I felt as if the JMC really prepared me for the event.”
Other on-site competition winners include Lydia Lawson for first place in news photo, Daniel Zepeda in second for print sports writing, Rachel Mallary in third for yearbook design, Elijah Evans in third place for radio advertising and Rachel Fritz received honorable mention for headline writing.
TIPA also awards annual scholarships to qualified students, gives recognition to the chosen faculty adviser of the year and has seminars with guest speakers. Pybus taught about Police, Privileges and Flag Desecration: A Media Law Year in Review at TIPA.
As a student, Pybus competed in TIPA and has been attending for the last 12 years. He describes his attendance as “sort of an annual pilgrimage” and said he enjoys the awards because of the facial expressions of those who get recognized.
Pybus said he chooses students who have excelled throughout the year to attend.
“I always wish I could take more people and give everyone the opportunity to get the benefits of competing,” he said.