Students from The University of Texas-Pan American brought home top awards from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) conference held at the Holiday Inn Emerald Beach in Corpus Christi, Texas recently.
"Statewide recognition is a very good thing for our students and program," said Donna Pazdera, communication lecturer and adviser. "These awards speak well of our excellent faculty here at UTPA, all who have diverse backgrounds. Each of us contributes to some aspect of the field, which makes our program strong."
Students competed in various contests including writing, editing, photography, on-air reporting and announcing, public relations crisis management, advertisement and design.
"It's a good experience for our students to meet and compete against their peers from across the state and attend workshops that will, hopefully, inspire them," Pazdera said.
Both Panorama and The Pan American won the overall sweepstakes contest in their divisions, which means the publications won the most points for all of its individual awards.
The Pan American also took home Best of Show for Division II Newspaper. Newspapers are judged on frequency of publication as well as size of student body.
Panorama won first place for overall design and second place for overall excellence in the general magazine category.
"These awards are really rewarding because we work incredibly hard to put out the best student newspaper we can, so it is great to get recognition for that," said Nadia Tamez-Robledo, print journalism major and Arts and Life editor for The Pan American.
Aside from sweepstakes, other awards The Pan American received include first place for news story, in-depth news story, picture story, sports feature photo, single-subject page design, ad design and photo illustration.
One of the events students competed in was covering a simulated terrorist attack set up at Del Mar College. Students had to cover the event live.
"I don't think I will ever cover a terrorist attack, hopefully," said Carlos Jaramillo, broadcast media major and member of the Bronc TV first place team in TV news and runner up in the on-site competition. "The fact that I could be in a staged attack is something I will get nowhere else, making this event a true and unique experience."
Rey Leal, environmental science and print double major and photography editor with The Pan American, took an honorable mention in the two-person photo essay contest held on site.
"We spend a lot of time in the newsroom and working on material, so when you put us against the rest of the state in our division and we are able to compare ourselves, it's not just a comparison of publications but also a comparison of departments and professors who teach us," said Leal. "These awards show that we have a lot of great talent, mentors, teachers and advisers committed to excellence here at UTPA."
For more information, contact Pazdera at (956) 665-3583.