ACU journalism students dominate state convention
By Floyd Miller
Abilene Christian University students from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication have once again proven their quality. The JMC students returned from the 100th Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention with 51 awards, including first place in overall excellence among newspapers for The Optimist, the student-run newspaper, and first in radio competition sweepstakes and overall radio newscast. “Texas has several excellent JMC programs,” said Cheryl Bacon, chair of ACU’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. “TIPA is the oldest and largest regional student media organization in the U.S. That makes these victories even more significant.”The convention pitted ACU’s student media against the largest universities in the state, including Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University, University of North Texas, The University of Texas-Arlington and The University of Texas at Austin.Against these schools, The Optimist, won first in overall excellence. In all, JMC students won 21 awards in the newspaper category. First-place winners of individual awards include:• Daniel Johnson-Kim, senior journalism major from Abilene, in editorial writing, • Michael Freeman, senior journalism major from Houston, in news writing, • Colter Hettich, junior journalism major from Abilene, in feature writing, and • Katie Gager, senior journalism major from San Antonio, in photo illustration. In the radio category, KACU’s News before Noon won first in overall newscast, and KACU won the sweepstakes award by amassing more contest points than any other radio station. Network staff members won nine total awards in this category, with Joshua Jones, senior theatre major from Ranchita, Calif., taking first in spot news and Daley Anderson, recent ACU graduate from Cross Plains, Texas, winning first in feature story.Sommerly Simser, a senior journalism major from Las Vegas, won first place in feature story in the television category. The JMC Network staff won eight other awards in that category. In the yearbook category, students won 12 awards, including three first place honors. Those students winning awards include:• Laura Acuff, junior journalism major from College Station, won in feature photo, • Megan Lowe, recent ACU graduate from Abilene, in photo story• Matt Newhouser, senior marketing from Cypress, Texas, in photo story • Katie Gager, senior journalism major from San Antonio, in photo story and photo essay • Emily Smith, recent ACU graduate from Helena, Mont., in photo essay.“The real credit for a great year goes to the students and student media advisers,” said Bacon. “We have long believed that we have some of the best JMC students in the country, and this kind of success is evidence of that.”ACU’s student media took third overall in the newspaper competition sweepstakes and third in the television sweepstakes. Optimist editor Johnson-Kim won nine individual awards in the newspaper and yearbook categories. In addition to these awards, ACU students participated in a live competition and won four awards, with Acuff won first place in editorial writing.
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