He had one hour to come up with a news story. The best news story.
In a room full of other aspiring journalists at this year's Journalism Association of Community Colleges NorCal conference on Nov. 12, student reporter Bryce Druzin was racing against the clock to produce a news story that would outshine his peers'.
As in the real world, Druzin wasn't coming up with a story out of thin air. Dozens of competitors were covering the same event, a speech from journalist Jon Ortiz who told an inspiring story about getting into journalism at the age of 40.
Druzin ended up with a third-place win—not bad for a first-time reporter who'd spent the last few years running a cleaning business.
"I was kind of surprised I was placed so high," he said. "I was happy."
He wasn't the only one. Leila Forouhi, a freelance reporter with La Voz, got an honorable mention in the same news-writing contest. Michael Mannina, currently managing editor for the paper and former editor in chief, won second place for copy editing. That contest consisted of a 100-question multiple choice test which grilled students on their knowledge of proper style, spelling and current events.
"I was excited because I had won thid place at the same contest at the state competition," Mannina said, referring to the April conference. "It was a cool feeling."
In addition to winning the live contest, Mannina and colleague Israel Gutierrez won first place for front page layout, and the paper won general excellence for its overall online edition. Galen Oback received second place for Illustration.
Adviser Cecilia Deck was proud of the win, but said she hadn't done anything special to prepare them.
“I always think about that kind of thing once we get there," she said. "I should have reminded them to bring their AP style books. Michael brought his.”
With additional reporting from Cupertino Patch Editor Anne Ernst.