La Voz Weekly, the student newspaper of Cupertino’s De Anza College, competed against student papers from 24 community colleges north of Fresno and won awards in photography, layout and copy editing as well as news and opinion writing at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ Northern California conference in Sacramento Sept. 22.
In addition to taking home the first and third places in column writing, better known as opinion writing, for articles chastising the Susan G. Komen Foundation for product promotion over cancer prevention and De Anza’s own secretive habits regarding preferential treatment of athletes and the fully funded but missing electric chargers on their parking lots, La Voz also took home the second place award for copy editing.
“I honestly didn't think any of my articles could win an award,” said Alicia Rivera, third place column writing winner and current San Jose State University public relations major. “At the time I wrote those articles I was only a few months into the journalism field. I felt like, ‘Do I really know what I'm doing?’ I just wanted to tell a story accurately and hoped that it would all turn out well.”
Beating out 24 other schools hasn’t gone to her head.
“It reminds me that I can produce quality work and motivates me to continue working in the media field,” Rivera said.
The paper was also given several honorable mentions related to coverage of the March in March demonstration in Sacramento.
The march is part of a yearly tradition of student activism to support the state’s community college system. With budget cuts across all three of the state’s higher education systems the 2012 march was attended by additional students from both California State Universities as well as students from various Universities of California campuses.
Sara Gobets, the paper’s current editor-in-chief, and Andrew Puckett, former editor-in-chief, received honorable mentions for page layout of the paper’s March on March photo-spread.
A photo by Gobets used in a news article was also honorably mentioned, as was an article written by Patch’s Bryce Druzin critiquing the demonstrator’s protest strategy.
“[March in March] was a little overwhelming but I loved it since I was I was photographing for most of it,” Gobets said. “I was running along the procession along with other photographers from big-named newspapers with big, laminated press badges and everything.”
Running with the big-dogs didn’t deter her, instead it motivated her.
“It was all about, ‘What can I get?’” Gobets said. “At one point I looked up and realized there was a parking garage, and I checked the door and it was unlocked and I sprinted up the stairs to the third floor to get that shot.”
As for the recognition, both of her own work and that of the paper she now commands, “It was kinda a surprise” she said.
“It makes you more conscious about what you are putting together, not just to fill space or for your personal clips,” Gobets said.
Gobets again received an honorable mention for a news-feature story, and Christopher Wu was honored for a sports action-photo.
“I am proud of our De Anza students and their contribution to student journalism,” Cecilia Deck, La Voz advisor and journalism instructor at De Anza, wrote in an email.
La Voz previously took home awards in copy-editing, page layout, story writing and general excellence during last year’s competition last November and awards in broadcast news writing, copy editing, sports writing and photography during a state-wide competition March 22.
In all La Voz and De Anza’s journalism students have received nearly hundreds awards of excellence and recognition since the paper’s founding in 1967.