News Releases

For Immediate Release

June 14, 2016 

 Clark College'sThe Independent receives top honors at annual competition

The student-produced newspaper captured 12 awards at the Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators competition 

VANCOUVER, Wash.–For the second consecutive year, Clark College’s The Independent (The Indy) news staff captured first place in General Excellence at the annual Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators competition. The student news staff also captured eleven individual awards. 

The Clark student staff also finished second, behind Shoreline Community College, in the competition’s Publications Sweeps, a tally of the number of points a school accrues based on individual first-, second- and third-place awards. The student staff publishes a print magazine-style edition every three weeks and an online edition that is updated several times a week.

Michael Ceron, Editor-In-Chief of The Independent, said he was particularly impressed by the Indy staff’s capture of the General Excellence award. He noted judges base the award on writing, images, design, theme and general newsy-ness of a complete print edition.

“This general excellence award signals a news staff works well as members of a team,” Ceron said. “The reality of putting a paper together – the reporting, the writing, the editing, the judging of what’s newsworthy, and the designing – all involves several people putting their egos aside for the common goal of producing good work.  This award says the Indy staff does just that – and that the students do that time and again.” 

Michael Parks, president of Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators, said the competition featured more than 400 individual entries from 13 community colleges and a small, private four-year school. Entries were evaluated by 18 judges, which included professional journalists from the Seattle Times, The Longview Daily News, the News Tribune, and the Wenatchee World, and faculty from Western Washington University, Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Washington.

“It’s fantastic that we have this venue by which hard work, dedication, and tenacity is acknowledged by industry professionals,” Parks said.

The Indy’s four first-place individual awards were for the staff’s extended coverage of the nearly $2 million budget cuts the college made earlier this year; a staff editorial opposing the construction of a student recreation center; a portrait of former Clark women’s basketball coach Al Aldridge by photo editor Ryan Robbins; and a photo illustration by visuals editor Diana Aristizabal that details skyrocketing cost of rent in Clark County.

The Clark student journalists also captured four second-place awards.  They went to former sports editor Becca Robbins for “Back to the NWAC – Penguins Shoot to Repeat as Champs” about the men’s basketball team’s playoff hopes earlier this year; former editor-in-chief and sports editor Tyler Urke for a feature on a visually impaired student golfer; reporter Dustin Kogler for a review of “The Revenant” featuring Leonard DiCaprio; and incoming editor-in-chief Emily Hancock for her photo essay of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ rally in March at Hudson’s Bay High School. 

The news team captured three third-place awards. They went to multimedia editor Jacob Granneman for his video on retiring Clark faculty; former reporter Danny Tomko for his report on the Penguin athletic teams’ move to a new division in the NWAC; and managing editor Cameron Wright for a photograph that accompanied a story about the college’s new yoga club. 

Kogler won a second award, an honorable mention, for his review of the superhero film “Deadpool.” Incoming managing editor Ieva Braciulyte won an honorable mention for her news feature titled “Lost in Translation – International Students Face Cultural Adversity,” which was concurrently published in The Columbian as part of the Independent’s partnership with the local daily.

Ceron also won an honorable mention for his news feature titled “From Boots to Books” about nursing professor Susan Nieman.  Former staffers Karina Sagaydak and Colt Boyle also picked up honorable mentions; Boyle for a news article titled “Umpqua Tragedy Reopens Armed Security Debate,” and Sagaydak for an Indy Lens photograph.

Journalism faculty member Dee Anne Finken advises the staff.  The writing coach is Jim Camin, a former editor for the Oregonian. The Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators serves colleges in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho. Contest results were announced June 1.

About Clark College
Located in Vancouver’s Central Park and serving up to 14,000 students per quarter, Clark College is Washington State’s second largest single-campus, for-credit community college. The college currently offers classes at two satellite locations: one on the Washington State University Vancouver campus and one in the Columbia Tech Center in East Vancouver. Additionally, its Corporate & Continuing Education program is housed in the Columbia Bank building in downtown Vancouver.