Texas Tech University

Student-Run Media Earns 39 Awards from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Named Finalists in Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards

Amanda Castro-Crist

March 9, 2017

Media & Communication

Recognition is for work completed during the 2015-16 school year by the student-run newspaper and website, The Daily Toreador; the yearbook, La Ventana; and the digital news outlet, The Hub@TTU.

College of Media & Communication

Work produced by Texas Tech University's student-operated media continues to be recognized as some of the best in the nation. Staff members of the student-run yearbook, La Ventana; the student-run newspaper, The Daily Toreador; and the student-run multimedia publication, The Hub@TTU, are among the 2017 Gold Circle Award winners, presented by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA). The Hub@TTU operates as part of the College of Media and Communication, while The Daily Toreador and La Ventana operate independent of the college.

The Gold Circle Awards recognize excellence in reporting, writing, video, photography and design for yearbooks and digital media, and are for work completed during the 2015-16 schoolyear. Additional awards for print newspapers and magazines will be announced later this year. The Daily Toreador and The Hub@TTU also were named finalists in the upcoming Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards.

"This is a great showing by both of our publications," said Andrea Watson, Student Media assistant director for The Daily Toreador and La Ventana. "I'm particularly pleased to see the newspaper staff recognized for their online work, since that has definitely been a point of emphasis for them during the last couple of years. These staffs work so hard each year, and it's wonderful to see them get the recognition we feel they deserve."

Sarah Self-Walbrick
Sarah Self-Walbrick

La Ventana received 20 awards, while The Daily Toreador earned 13 digital awards and The Hub@TTU received six awards. Sarah Self-Walbrick, who now serves as graduate external director at The Hub@TTU, said it's always exciting when staff does well in competition.

"Though we've won awards from CSPA in the past, including for overall best college digital news website, it's nice to be recognized for specific stories that the reporters worked so hard on," Self-Walbrick said. "The Gold Circle Awards are a tough competition. It's rewarding to be told we're doing a good job."

Watson said though the newspaper and yearbook staffs have different schedules, they both work under a tremendous amount of pressure to produce their publications.

"The Daily Toreador students face the pressure of accurately reporting the news every day, while the La Ventana staff faces the pressure of fully and accurately documenting the history of Texas Tech for a given year," Watson said. "They both do an excellent job. They are very much professional journalists who also are full-time students."

Self-Walbrick said The Hub@TTU publishes everything from in-depth investigative pieces to Buzzfeed-like polls and quizzes. She said outlets like the publication are important because they offer millennials new and innovative formats that keep students interested in the news, while also providing an open and creative environment for new journalists.

"We try to give our reporters freedom to work on the stories they want and to tell stories how they think they should be told," Walbrick said. "I think this creates a passion for storytelling, which is important for media majors. Winning awards reiterates that quality journalism is important and rewards our students for their hard work."

Watson said student-run publications, like The Daily Toreador, are a vital part of a college environment and important for those just starting their journalism careers.

"It serves as the voice of the students and helps reinforce the value of a free press in a democracy," Watson said. "It provides a critical training ground for young journalism professionals who are facing an ever-changing media landscape."

Below is the full list of awards, including the position each student held when the work was completed:

La Ventana

La Ventana

  • Staff writer Jonna Hewitt, organization/Greek writing, first place for "Define Your Line"
  • Editor-in-chief Davian Hopkins, feature writing, student life, first place for "Discovering Diversity"
  • Contributing writer and Daily Toreador sports reporter Jeremy Krakosky, sports feature writing, first place for "Breaking Barriers"
  • Apprentice Talia Quigley, people spreads without mug photos one spread, first place for "Tim Wilson"
  • Hopkins and Quigley, Student Life spread: multi-page spread, second place for "JAB Fest"
  • Hopkins and student life co-editor Victoria Lainez, Student Life spread: one spread, second place for "Suffering in Silence"
  • La Ventana/Daily Toreador photographer Kirby Crumpler, sports feature photo, third place for "Through the Smoke"
  • Hopkins, feature writing, student life, third place for "Masked with Art"
  • Hopkins, Student Life spread: multi-page spread, third place for "Discovering Diversity"
  • Hopkins, division page design, third place
  • Lainez, Student Life spread: one spread, third place for "Academic Achievers"
  • Photography editor McKenzi Morris, sports spread: one spread, third place for "Serving Justis"
  • Organizations editor Madison Green, organization or Greeks spread: one spread, certificate of merit for "Wrapped in Tradition"
  • Hewitt, organization/Greek writing, certificate of merit for "Ushering in Change"
  • La Ventana/Daily Toreador photographer Justin Rex, feature photo, certificate of merit for "Carol of Lights"
  • La Ventana/Daily Toreador photographer Derrick Spencer, feature photo, certificate of merit for "ROTC Ceremony"
  • Daily Toreador photography editor Duncan Stanley, sports action photo, certificate of merit for "Fournette Forges Ahead"
  • Stanley, sports action photo, certificate of merit for "Gray Skies"
  • Stanley, sports feature photo, certificate of merit for "Tortilla Toss"
  • Greek editor Kaitlin York, organization/Greek writing, certificate of merit for "New Addition"

The Daily Toreador

  • Daily Toreador/La Ventana photographer Elise Bressler, single sports photo, first place for "Hayden Howard pitches"
  • Features reporter and opinions editor Michael Cantu, news feature, first place for "Former Tech president (Cavazos)"
  • Rex, photo slideshow, first place for "WWE Live"
  • Stanley, photo illustration, first place for "Sex issue"
  • Sports reporter Diego Gaytan, sports commentary, second place for "Gaytan: Tubby Smith"
  • Gaytan, sports news, second place for "Close call: Tech closes " "
  • Daily Toreador/La Ventana photographer Makenzie Harrison, single feature photo, second place for "Tour of Gymnastics Champions"
  • Stanley, single sports photo, second place for "Toddrick's toss"
  • Editorial cartoonist Nate Wells, cartoons, second place for "Did you do the homework?"
  • Managing editor Amy Cunningham, breaking news, third place for "Nail resigns"
  • Graphic designer Jericho Rosas, informational graphics, third place for "Hydraulic fracturing"
  • Cantu, personal opinion/off-campus, certificate of merit for "Cantu: Haggard's death"
  • Stanley, single feature photo, certificate of merit for "Stretching with a Buddy"

The Hub@TTU

  • General assignments reporter Breann Robinson, secondary coverage, first place for "#IStandWithNail: Yes or No?"  
  • News director Allison Terry, first person experience, first place for "Surviving a Week on Free Food"
  • Campus reporter Blaine Hill, personality profile, third place for "Photography Gives Sight Opportunities to Student"
  • Hill, photo slideshow, certificate of merit for "Rain or Shine: Selling Newspapers Every Sunday"
  • Robinson, general feature, certificate of merit for "Does Towing Make You Trucking Mad?"  
  • Graduate managing director Sarah Self-Walbrick, first person experience, certificate of merit for "Forever 22"

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