The Texas Intercollegiate Press Association recognized Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Jaguar Student Media for work published or broadcast in 2020 with 40 awards March 26 at a virtual convention.
“Tonight what I want you to remember is that sweat and hard work really pay off, and so does rest,” Jenny Moore, clinical professor and director of Student Media, said in a message acknowledging Jaguar Student Media members after the awards were announced. “So continue to strike a balance during this very challenging year. Take some time to breathe in these awards.”
TIPA is the nation’s oldest collegiate press association. The association annually awards nine scholarships to students at two- and four-year institutions, and recognizes students within the state.
Contests include television, radio, general magazine, online, two divisions of yearbook, literary magazine, six divisions of newspaper and more than 25 contests at the annual convention.
The majority of A&M-San Antonio’s awards were in Division 5, competing against schools such as South Plains College, the University of the Incarnate Word and Northeast Texas Community College. However, communication students competed against larger schools in several categories.
Editor’s Note: Click on each news outlet’s respective heading to view a complete list of their awards.
The 2020 teams led by Brigid Cooley, former editor-in-chief, won 23 awards including six first-place awards, five second-place awards, eight third-place awards and four honorable mentions.
“I would have been proud of The Mesquite and our team whether or not we won,” Cooley said. “I know what everyone went through, I saw them crying and I listened to their hardships.”
Photo editor Maegan Mendoza won eight awards in feature, sports action, sports feature, environmental portrait and general news photo categories. Her first-place award was in the general news photo category.
Although seven of her awards were for photography, Mendoza also received praise for third-place editorial writing.
Cooley won both first place and honorable mention in the breaking news category. She also received honorable mention in general news.
“Enormous congratulations should go to former Editor Brigid Cooley for her mission-driven editorial direction and all members of the team who worked together in a truly impressive way under duress,” Moore said.
Cooley shares the awards with Mesquite faculty adviser Teresa Talerico.
“We would be wrong to not give quite a lot of the credit of our good work to Teresa,” Cooley said. “She may be in the background but she keeps the whole team together.”
Other first-place awards include managing editor Clarissa Martinez in the general news category; social media editor Gabrielle Tellez and communication senior Kimberly Vera in the general news multimedia story category; Chris McCullough in the podcast category; and former photo editor Victoria Martinez in the photo story category.
Cooley hopes the recognition will allow the journalism program to expand.
“We need journalists, we need student reporters,” Cooley said. “People say it’s a dying field. I don’t think it’s dying. I think the next generation of journalists, including myself, are keeping it very much alive.”
The student news team has been working remotely since March 2020.
Enlace Newscast won four first-place awards and six second-place awards including second place in the “Television Program” category. For this award, the student newscast competed against universities in all five TIPA divisions, including Baylor University, the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Armando Villareal, multimedia journalist, won both first- and second-place awards for the in-depth news reporting and spanish multimedia news reporting categories. He placed second in feature reporting.
Producer Alejandro Diaz and Robby Chavez placed first and second place in the sportscast-video category. Diaz and Chavez competed against Division 2, 3, 4 and 5 schools.
“Enlace took on tough assignments with grit, and truly delivered the sights and sounds that put the audience in the heart of the story,” a TIPA judge said.
Enlace is in its second year of production and partners with KWEX 41 Univision San Antonio. Senior-level students work alongside Univision journalists to gain experience in broadcasting, advertisement and media.
However, the student newscast has been operating without a studio since March 2020, Moore said.
To follow Enlace on YouTube click here.
El Espejo won seven TIPA awards including third place in Overall Excellence for General Magazine in the state of Texas. First place was awarded to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and second place went to Amarillo College, “which both offer very competitive and impressive magazine programs,” Moore said.
Annabella Vega, former co-editor-in-chief, received honorable mention for Designer of The Year.
The magazine, in its third year of production, also won a first-place award in headline writing, two second-place awards and two honorable mentions.
Solomon Wilson, current co-editor-in-chief and former social media editor, said the team released the first virtual edition of the magazine in fall 2020.
“I’m super, super proud of the fall 2020 team,” Wilson said. “That was a really rough semester for everybody…Everybody got the opportunity to do something that they didn’t sign up to do and I think that’s the best part about it.”
Wilson won first place in headline writing for Division 5.
For more on El Espejo click here.
Clarissa Martinez contributed to this story.