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The Pan American takes top journalism award in region
Posted: 03/25/2009
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The University of Texas-Pan American's student newspaper, The Pan American, took home two awards at the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Region 8 Mark of Excellence Awards ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas March 21.

The Pan American received first place for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper, a category for newspapers published less than four times a week. Anthony Salinas, UTPA senior marketing major, received third place for Editorial Cartooning.

Dr. Gregory Selber, associate professor of communication and adviser to The Pan American, said the award reflects on the hard work and leadership of the staff, particularly that of the newspaper's Editor in Chief J.R. Ortega, who has been able to keep the winning tradition alive.

"They (staff) have made a lot of positive changes, put in the hours, and I think the awards won so far are an indication of the quality of the program overall," Selber said. "The newspaper is a nice combination of news and feature stories. The new leadership has done more investigative journalism than we have had in recent years."

Selber said the newspaper, which has a calculated circulation of approximately 15,000, has been among the fastest to report on several key issues and administrative changes within the UTPA community.

"The staff at The Pan American has continually done the legwork and spent the time developing these difficult types of stories and I think the awards committee recognized the effort," he said. "The paper is clean, balanced and has improved its use of graphic information and photos."

SPJ Region 8 includes submissions from Texas and Oklahoma. This year, collegiate journalists submitted more than 3,700 entries in 39 categories across SPJ's 12 regions. First place regional champions advanced to the national competition which is ongoing. National winners will be announced later this year.

For more information about The Pan American, call 956/381-2541.

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Pictured are both past and current members of The Pan American staff.