The Ranger wins multiple awards at journalism convention

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Student newspaper earns accolades in on-site contests, previously published categories and best of show. 

By Elena Longoria

Editor Zachary-Taylor Wright accepts his first-place award for TIPA’s on-site editorial writing contest April 1 at the awards banquet in the Crowne Plaza ballroom. Photo by Alison Graef

The Ranger won 23 awards at the 2017 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention March 30-April 1 at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Dallas.

Five students from this college attended TIPA: Ranger editor Zachary-Taylor Wright, news editor Emily Garcia, features editor James Dusek, staff photographer Alison Graef and staff writer Nicole Bautista.

Journalism program Coordinator Marianne Odom said TIPA is not only a great experience for students to test their abilities, but it is a great place to network with students and faculty from two- and four-year journalism programs throughout the state.

“Students get to interact with their counterparts from other colleges,” Odom said. “They are exposed to people from senior colleges with journalism programs, so sometimes it helps making connections where they want to transfer.”

Wright won first place in the on-site editorial writing contest.

Wright says he feels proud of his accomplishment, and it shows how much his journalism education is helping him get better at writing.

Features editor James Dusek, editor Zachary-Taylor Wright, news editor Emily Garcia and staff reporter Nicole Bautista explore Main Street in downtown Dallas after arriving at the Crowne Plaza hotel March 29 for the 2017 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention. Photo by Alison Graef

“I feel really proud; it shows that everything I am learning here is helping me progress as a writer,” Wright said.

For editorial writing, students had 1 1/2 hours to write an editorial based on information they were given. For news writing and news photo contests, a fire was staged at Tarrant County College’s Fire Service Training Center in Fort Worth, and students were bused to the scene to cover it.

Garcia earned an honorable mention in the on-site radio news writing contest.

The convention also included best of show competitions. The Ranger’s March 27 issue won an honorable mention for best of show in newspaper division 2. 

The Ranger also received 20 awards for work published in 2016. 

In newspaper division 2, The Ranger competed against 11 other schools, including the University of North Texas, Lamar University and Tarrant County College. 

“You get to see how you are doing in comparison to … other papers in Texas,” Wright said.

Former managing editor Mandy Derfler won third place in ad design for an ad promoting the journalism program published April 25, 2016. She also received an honorable mention in opinion/editorial page design for the same issue.  

Former Ranger editor Kyle R. Cotton placed second in the news story category for “Controversial policy change expected to return,” published Feb. 1, 2016. Cotton also received honorable mentions for his Feb 8, 2016, editorial, “President needs to plan logically,” and in the general column category for his viewpoint, “Don’t let autism define you,” published April 11, 2016. 

Former Ranger illustrator Alexandra Nelipa won first place for her Feb. 1, 2016, editorial cartoon, “Citizens to be (heard) silenced” and third place in the illustration category for “Six ways grown-ups can celebrate Dr. Seuss,” posted March 2, 2016, on

Wright earned honorable mentions in feature page design for a Halloween spread and for the feature story “Student discovers strength in coming out,” published Oct 10.

Michelle Delgado won third place in the headline category for “Campus cats, caring students: purr-fect match” published Oct. 31. 

Journalism full-time Adjunct Teresa Talerico, editor Zachary-Taylor Wright, staff reporter Nicole Bautista and features editor James Dusek walk their luggage through the Crowne Plaza hotel parking garage to their rooms after arriving in Dallas March 29 for the 2017 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention. Photo by Alison Graef

Former Ranger editor Wally Perez received an honorable mention for in-depth reporting in his Oct. 3 story “Alamo Colleges pricier than counterparts.”

Staff writer Alison Graef won second place for her Nov. 7 feature “Barefoot homeless inspire shoe collection.” 

Brandon A. Edwards earned an honorable mention for his Oct. 26 news photo depicting an anti-abortion event on campus.

Staff photographers Graef, Janell Arnold, Aly Miranda, Edwards, Ryann Palacios, Robert Limon, Perez and Derfler won second place in the picture story category for a photo spread covering the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Feb. 22, 2016.

The Ranger won second place in the special edition/section category for a special edition celebrating The Ranger’s 90th anniversary.

In the online division 1 category, The competed against 15 other colleges and universities such as Tarrant County College and Texas State University. The Ranger’s website placed third in interactive-best use of data and received honorable mention in the interactive-community engagement category and in interactive-best interactivity category. 

News editor Emily Garcia, journalism full-time Adjunct Teresa Talerico, editor Zachary-Taylor Wright, features editor James Dusek and staff reporter Nicole Bautista talk as they walk back to the hotel after dinner March 31 on Elm Street in downtown Dallas. Photo by Alison Graef

Derfler placed third in the interactive–best use of mapping category with her “Where are they now?” map on

Alejandro Diaz earned an honorable mention in the multimedia–best video package contest for covering an April 27 boxing exhibition.

Some of the schools attending TIPA were two-year colleges such as Palo Alto, Brookhaven and Amarillo colleges and four-year institutions such as Texas A&M, Texas State and Baylor universities. 

Students also attended workshops, participated in newspaper critiques and discussed journalism with peers from campuses throughout Texas.

“It’s a great way to network with people that are going through the same thing we are,” Wright said. “It’s a bunch of student journalists who run their own newspaper and have their own frustrations and times they are really proud of. You get to talk about that at round tables, and also it’s a time to test your work.”


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