By Jamil Oakford/managing editor
TCC’s student newspaper, The Collegian, took home 30 awards from a statewide college media convention March 24 in Dallas.
Student designer Suzann Clay earned one of the top awards as Two-Year Designer of the Year at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s annual convention. She said she has received praise from friends and family since the convention.
“I appreciate people saying that. It means a lot,” she said. “But I think it’s important for you to be proud of yourself, too. And I sure was. I definitely am.”
While the news was delayed a day due to technical difficulties at the awards ceremony, the excitement was still palpable for her.
“I was ebullient,” Clay said. “The whole rest of the day I had a giant smile on my face.”
Student publications director Chris Whitley was elated to hear Clay won such a big award and couldn’t stop smiling either.
“She is one of the most talented designers I’ve ever worked with in student journalism, and I’ve worked with many great designers,” he said.
While it isn’t easy to pick one award he wanted to see the most, he was more than thrilled Clay was recognized by TIPA.
On top of Clay’s award, Collegian staff members received awards for work done during the convention. Live contests are held to challenge student journalists to use their experience and talent to write a story, capture a moment or create a design that fit within the prompt or theme given.
“The live contests are hard,” said The Collegian’s editor-in-chief Kathryn Kelman, who won an honorable mention in sports writing. “Prep time is very limited. We don’t really have the resources or the chance to do research beforehand. It’s just really intense.”
The competition can leave one confused and unsure of the quality of their entry, she said.
Clay, who won an honorable mention in the magazine design live contest, said her preparation for these contests is always the same.
“I go in thinking I won’t win anything,” she said. “It’s a lot like the first day of school all over again.”
Both students agreed that TIPA’s live contests serve as a great place to learn and grow their writing and designing skills. Neither of them won any awards at their first TIPA convention, but now they’ve each earned awards in both live contests and previously published work.
Meanwhile, Collegian photo editor Lacey Phillips, who attended TIPA for the first time, placed second in a contest she didn’t think she would — sports photo.
“I learned to not limit myself in certain photo categories,” she said. “I really did not think I would place in sports at all.”
The Collegian took home 30 awards total, including both live and previously published work, which makes Whitley happy.
“They [students] put their souls into this newspaper, and it pays off,” he said. “It pays off to see someone in the hallway stop because they see something in the paper that’s caught their attention. It’s satisfying the judges had the same reaction.”
Kelman, who won first place in breaking news for her coverage of the murder of NE student Molly Matheson, was happy her hard work was recognized.
But the staff awards are more gratifying, she said.
“The staff awards show a lot more of what I’m doing as editor-in-chief,” Kelman said. “It feels good to know I’m not running the program into the ground.”