Awards Add New Chapter to Student Media Success Story
23 Honors Include Mercury Newspaper’s ‘Best of Show’ Award for Second Year in a Row
Apr. 24, 2012
UT Dallas student media winners included (from left) Advisor Misty Hawley, Shane Damico, Irene Morse, Finny Philip, Becky Aguilar, Ben Hawkins, Anwesha Bhattacharjee, Paul Dang, Lauren Sechrist, Ryan Henry, Cathryn Ploehn, Bobby Karalla, Hector Gutierrez, Jessica Higgins, Jessica Melton, Nieves Reyes, Rex Park, advisor Chad Thomas, and Albert Ramirez. (Photo by Akshay Harsh)
Three UT Dallas student media outlets—A Modest Proposal, The Mercury and UTD-TV—recently took home a combined 23 achievement awards at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) convention. The honors included The Mercury’s second consecutive “best of show” award.
In all, The Mercury captured eight awards and eight honorable mentions at the 102nd annual TIPA convention, held in Corpus Christi last month. UTD-TV earned four awards and an honorable mention, including two firsts in the TV news story and TV news writing categories. A Modest Proposal won two awards, both for illustration.
Chad Thomas, director of student media at the University, said he was excited to see the students’ efforts recognized.
“We have some extremely hard-working and talented folks in student media, and earning awards at the state level while competing against some of the best and brightest in Texas is motivation for our students and staff alike,” Thomas said. “Our media groups are improving every day, and I genuinely believe that they are on the fast track to becoming marquee names in their fields.”
The best of show award went to The Mercury for “outstanding quality and performance in Texas college media” in Division 3. The award recognized the overall excellence of a single edition of the newspaper, which was submitted at the time of the convention.
The paper’s other awards were all in Division 2, including honors in the news story, picture story, ad design, sports writing, sports page design, headline writing and photo illustration categories, as well as in several photo categories.
Thomas said The Mercury competed in Division 2 for the first time this year. Previously the staff had competed in lower divisions, based exclusively on their frequency of publication (biweekly) rather than the size of the university. They competed against several other UT System schools this year and other similarly sized universities.
“For The Mercury to compete two divisions higher than it has in recent memory, if not for the first time ever, and still be very successful is a testament to the quality students we have at UT Dallas,” Thomas said. “They’re constantly raising the bar.”
The Mercury placed second in “overall excellence,” competing against 15 other schools, including UT Tyler, UTEP, UT Brownsville, SFA, Sam Houston, Texas Woman’s University and Lamar University, among others.
UTD-TV competed for just the second time ever at TIPA. Thomas said there were no divisions for television competition—it is simply 16 schools with television programs competing against each other. UTD-TV placed second in the best overall newscast category, competing against large schools including UT Austin, TCU, UNT, Texas State, Texas Wesleyan, UT Brownsville and UT Pan-Am.
Jessica Higgins, news director at UTD-TV and a sophomore psychology major, said TIPA was an extraordinary experience.
“I was glad for the opportunity to bond with my staff as well as the staff of the other media organizations,” Higgins said. “The sessions I attended were very interesting. I learned a lot that I will bring back to UT Dallas to make me a better reporter and a better leader with UTD-TV.
“Winning the awards was a tremendous honor, and I am so incredibly proud of my staff,” Higgins added. “We all work so hard day in and day out, and it’s nice to have your accomplishments recognized. UTD-TV has come so far already, and TIPA has inspired us to work even harder, to be even better.”
Misty Hawley, assistant director of student media and the student broadcast groupadvisor, said the news groups were poised for greatness.
“After last year’s honorable mention, the TV students were determined to place at TIPA. Despite being so young, they shattered expectations. The hard work paid off, and now UTD-TV is focused on that first place award next year.”
Established in 1909, TIPA is the oldest and largest press association of its kind in the United States. The organization works to open channels of communication and cooperation among student media programs at two- and-four-year colleges and universities in Texas.
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