Students competed in live NASA contest at TCCJA.
By J. Del Valle
This college’s newspaper won 18 awards at the Texas Community College Journalism Association’s annual convention Oct. 14 in Houston.
Five Ranger editors competed in live contests at NASA’S Johnson Space Center, where journalism and photography students from two-year colleges throughout Texas covered a news conference about NASA’S future missions and got a behind-the-scenes look at its robotics engineering program. The live competitions also included editorial writing and news design.
First-year Ranger staff member Zachary-Taylor Wright, production assistant, placed second for layout and design, and visuals editor Brandon A. Edwards received honorable mention for feature photo in the live competition at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
After the NASA trip, students and faculty were shuttled to the University of Houston-Clear Lake to write stories, process photos, lay out pages and attend the remainder of the convention.
The convention’s award ceremony included recognition in canned contests that judged students’ print and broadcast submissions from the past academic year.
Current and former Ranger staff members won in 13 of 18 canned newspaper categories. The Ranger also received an award for video news. This college’s newspaper finished with a total of 16 canned awards.
Ranger editor Wally Perez attended the conference for the first time. He enjoyed the conference and gained experience.
“(We) got to meet people from different colleges and they talked about their experiences on their college newspapers. The overall experience was cool,” Perez said.
Managing editor Kyle R. Cotton won five awards at the TCCJA conference.
Two of Cotton’s awards were in one category, in-depth or investigative reporting. He received first place for a story on former Northeast Lakeview College President Craig Follins, who was terminated Oct. 29, 2015, for “a pattern of unacceptable behavior,” according to a memorandum by Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie. The Ranger and the San Antonio Express-News filed a Texas Public Information Act Request to release the complaints against Follins. A Travis County district judge on Sept. 14 approved a summary judgment motion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who ruled in favor of the newspapers. Follins had 30 days to appeal.
Cotton also received third place in investigative reporting for a story on crime spikes at Tobin Lofts.
“I put a lot of heart and soul into these two stories because the public needs to be aware of this information,” he said. “It took me an entire semester to compile those two stories; it’s nice to be recognized on them.”
Perez said the convention also offered an opportunity to spend time outside of the newsroom with Ranger staffers.
“My best part of the trip was bonding with the staff; it’s nice to get to know your staff writers,” Perez said.
Hayley Fick, public affairs specialist at the Johnson Space Center, was the keynote speaker.
Next year, TCCJA will be held at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The Ranger won awards in the following categories. All were in Division 1, except for Broadcast-Video News, which was an open division.
- Newspaper — In-depth or Investigative- Kyle R. Cotton – First place, third place
- Newspaper — Feature Writing- Kyle R. Cotton -Third place
- Newspaper — Sports (News)- Alejandro Diaz – Third place
- Newspaper – Sports (Feature)- Matthew Cuevas – Second place
- Newspaper – News Photo- Kyle R. Cotton – Third place
- Newspaper- Feature Photo- Brandon A. Edwards – First place
- Newspaper – Sports Photo- David Guel – First place
- Newspaper – Sports Action Photo- David Guel – Second place, Brandon A. Edwards – Third place
- Newspaper – Picture Page or Panel- Daniel Carde – First place
- Newspaper – Headline Writing- Ranger Staff – Third place
- Newspaper – Advertising- Mandy Derfler – Second place
- Newspaper – Website- The Ranger – Second place
- Newspaper – Overall General Excellence- The Ranger – Second honorable mention
- Broadcast – Video News – Kyle R. Cotton – First place