SAC journalism students also win top honors
in digital media categories in Columbia University competition
(Santa Ana, CA) - Santa Ana College’s (SAC ) student newspaper, el Don, has been named a finalist for the best hybrid (online and print) college newspaper in the nation by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), a program of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Open to community colleges and four-year universities from Canada and the United States, the Crown Award is the highest recognition given by the CSPA.
As the only community college and the only California school named as a finalist for the best hybrid college newspaper in the nation, Santa Ana College will compete against Baylor University, University of Pennsylvania, Colorado State University, Iowa State University, and other schools when the winner is announced March 13, 2015 in New York, New York. Entries, judged by educators and professionals in journalism, are judged for content, design, presentation, coverage, photography, writing and editing.
“The Columbia Scholastic awards are extra special for Santa Ana College this year,” says Interim Dean of SAC’s Fine and Performing Arts Division Eve Kikawa. “Santa Ana College celebrates its centennial and the awards demonstrate and confirm our journalism program’s competitiveness and ability to deliver news.”
Santa Ana College journalism students named as finalists for the best hybrid college newspaper include el Don editors Daniel Lim of Orange; Chelsea Ybanez of Rancho Cucamonga; Jorge Campos, Nashe Harley, Jamie Leeds, Jovanay Leon, Joanna Meza, and Liz Monroy of Santa Ana; and Alessandra Gonzalez, Harold Pierce, and Katie Porter of Yorba Linda. In addition to being named Crown Award finalists, SAC students also won three Gold Circle Awards in digital media for superior work by student journalists. Students Liz Monroy of Santa Ana and Harold Pierce of Yorba Linda won first place in the news feature category for their Former Student Fatally Shot feature. Students Liz Monroy of Santa Ana and Jocelyn Poblador of Fullerton earned a certificate of merit in the video feature package for Dancers Become Elevated. In the news online design website category, el Don digital editor Alessandra Gonzalez and former el Don editor-in-chief Harold Pierce, both of Yorba Linda, not only earned first place honors, but were also the only entry to be recognized in a category; judges have the discretion to give one award when they believe only one school deserves to win in that category. This year’s 32nd Gold Circle Awards attracted over 4,600 entries in 204 categories. In recent years, more than 15,000 entries have been submitted for the annual competition and about 1,200 awards were given in various categories.
Each year, Santa Ana College communications and media studies students consistently win state and national awards. “Our motto is that hard work pays off,” says SAC Chair, Communications and Media Studies Department and Faculty Advisor for el Don Charles Little. In his 29th year leading the department, he should know. “I am most proud of the commitment that each student makes to helping each other, and the effort they make to report on our community.” In 2014, SAC journalism students won more than 200 state and national individual honors, including The Pinnacle Awards as America’s Best Two-Year College Newspaper. Considering that entry fees can force the Department to select which competitions to enter, SAC is one of only a handful of community colleges to compete in these national contests.
The timing of being named a finalist for the country’s best hybrid college newspaper coincides with Santa Ana College’s centennial year as the college turns 100 years old in 2015. The community college’s award-winning journalism program is just one of many examples of programs that give the college reason to highlight its celebrated past and boundless future.
“What I like best about this competition as opposed to others,” says Little, “is that Santa Ana College students compete against four-year universities in the United States and Canada. Competing against the best collegiate programs motivates our students to prove their academic mettle, and instills confidence, which helps them to excel when they transfer to four-year institutions.” What Little has seen through nearly three decades of teaching at SAC is how the journalism training serves to build students’ confidence to extend their reach and aim for excellence in their lives.
Alums of Santa Ana College’s journalism program have gone on to work at media outlets such as USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Disney, and KNX News Radio. Notable graduates include KTLA meteorologist Vera Jimenez, Redbeard Media owner and director of photography Roger Denman, National Retail Hardware Association publisher Dan Tratensek, Orange County Register senior designer Anthony Mendoza, and Concordia University English professor Thea Gavin.
About Columbia Scholastic Press Association
About Santa Ana College
Founded in 1925, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) unites student editors and faculty advisors working with them to produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks, and online media. Students come from public, private, and faith-based schools and universities throughout the United States and Canada. The Association is owned by Columbia University and operated as a program affiliated with its Graduate School of Journalism.
Santa Ana College (SAC), which is turning 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit www.sac.edu to learn more. For information about Santa Ana College’s Centennial, please visit www.sac.edu/100.
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