Students Learn & Win at SEJC & GPI

Posted On February 20, 2018
Categories Uncategorized

Georgia State University’s school newspaper won the day at two separate conventions this past weekend. The Signal ranked #1 in key general categories in both the Best of the South and Georgia College Press Association’s Better Newspapers contests, recognizing student work from 2017.

The Best of the South awards were presented at Harding University in Searcy, Ar., site of the 2018 Southeast Journalism Conference (Georgia State hosted in 2015). The Better Newspaper awards were presented at The Classic Center in Athens, Ga., host of the Georgia Press Institute.

Between the two conventions, The Signal ranked in 11 general categories (seven at GPI, four at SEJC) including victories in both contests’ general excellence categories. In Best of the South, the paper ranked 1st in the categories of Best Newspaper, Best Website and Best Magazine (for summer Urbanite edition) and 3rd in public service journalism. At GPI, it topped the General Excellence, Layout/Design and Advertising Excellence classifications for Division A (Georgia schools with enrollments of 8,000 or more). It also ranked 2nd in the Community Service categories of Photography, Sports, Features and Editorials.

It is the second year in a row the paper has ranked 1st in the SEJC’s Best Newspaper category and the fifth time in the past eight years it has claimed GPI’s General Excellence honors. Christina Maxouris, Editor-in-Chief, says that the awards provide a great sense of gratification.

It’s very rewarding. Our team puts in endless hours of work every single day, prioritizing our newspaper over sometimes everything else. We are here weekdays, we are here weekends and I’m always amazed at the ideas this staff comes up with and executes. This honors this amazing staff and their tremendous talent and hard work.

~ Christina Maxouris, Editor-in-Chief, The Signal

The Better Newspapers contest recognizes print journalism work from colleges in the state of Georgia, including University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia Southern University, among others. The Best of the South contest recognizes student journalism from 2017 in print, video and audio form. 30 universities provided 412 entries to the competition, including University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Austin Peay State University, Belmont University, among others.

There were several individual honors at each event for Georgia State students as well.

In Best of the South, Khoa Tran and Salinna Phon each came away with top rankings in design categories- Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer and Best News Graphic Designer respectively. Phon also tied fellow Georgia State student Tammy Huynh for a 3rd place ranking in Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer. Other Signal contributors ranking were Alex Graham (3rd, Best Arts & Entertainment Writer), Wesley Dunkirk (5th, Best Opinion-Editorial Writer), Syrina Merilan (6th, Best News Writer), Vanessa Johnson (6th, Best Press Photographer) and Erik Reid (7th, Best News-Editorial Artist-Illustrator).

GSTV work was also recognized with Celeste Garcia ranking 2nd as Best TV News Feature Reporter. LaDarrius Heath ranked 3rd in the category of Best Hard News Reporter and Mikayla Newton 6th in Best TV Journalist.

In total, nine Georgia State students learned from various media professionals and also competed in onsite contests at SEJC. Two students walked away with onsite honors: Khoa Tran ranked 1st in the Page Design, Devin Phillips ranked 3rd in Media Ethics/History/Law. It is the second straight year Tran has ranked 1st in this competition. In addition to learning from professionals at conventions, he believes onsite competitions are a great way to sharpen skills and network with fellow students.

It is a great experience to not only compete but to get to know other students and share ideas. I am very happy to share tips with fellow designers after these onsite contests.

~ Khoa Tran, Production Editor, The Signal

The GPI ceremony saw Georgia State students come away with rankings in seven individual categories. Victor Sledge, Vanessa Johnson, Khoa Tran, Julian Pineda and Salinna Phon ranked 1st in the Group I Entertainment Feature category. In addition, Tran ranked 3rd in Editorial/Feature Photograph (Group II) and Pineda ranked 3rd in Sports Photographs (Group I)

Sophia Marchese, Camille Bolos and Karen Kosasi ranked 2nd in the Group II Entertainment Feature category. Marchese and Phon ranked 3rd place in Group II Entertainment Feature for a story pitched by Halen Adair in the “Reader’s Issue.” Wesley Dunkirk ranked 3rd in the Group I Editorial contest and Maxouris and Merlian teamed to rank 3rd in the Group II News/Objective area. Group I refers to work wholly or predominantly from students who were freshmen or sophomores at the time and Group II from juniors or seniors.

Breana Albizu, GSTV’s News Director, has been a part of Student Media for over three years and has also attended SEJC from 2016-2018 on Georgia State’s behalf. As much as awards excite her, she also feels she has come away with a greater experience at the conventions themselves, which feature highly-regarded journalists such as this year’s SEJC keynote, Sonia Nazario.

I’ve looked forward to attending every year. I realize now that it wasn’t all about competing or winning: it was about sharing our love for journalism and how we can positively change the world.

~ Breana Albizu, GSTV News Director