Campus: San Francisco State University -- April 19, 2004

Student Journalists Among Best in Southwest

The Golden Gate [X]press, San Francisco State University's student-run newspaper, magazine and news Web site, recently won seven awards in the Society of Professional Journalists' (SPJ) regional collegiate competition.

Competing with 360 submissions by college journalists from California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in as many as 45 categories, Golden Gate [X]press student journalists won four first-place awards, including best non-daily newspaper, and best all around magazine published more than once a year.

"The Society of Professional Journalists is one of the most prestigious journalism organizations in the country," said Venise Wagner, assistant professor in the department of journalism. "We're very proud of the recognition students in this department got for these awards."

SPJ judges evaluate entries based on accuracy and completeness, writing style, enterprise and ingenuity, adherence to journalistic standards, effectiveness, creative use of the medium's capabilities and adherence to the SPJ Code of Ethics.

"This magazine was by far the best of the bunch," said one SPJ judge after reading [X]press magazine. "Great editing. Great writing. Great design. Great photos. The students at San Francisco State are doing an amazing job."

Another judge noted a winning aspect of the [X]press newspaper, "Diversity is this paper's edge," wrote the judge. "In reading this newspaper you learn about many different cultures -- all through elegant writing, bolstered with research."

Added Jamie Gonzales, SPJ’s Region 11 director: "What I saw while judging entries was that the winners all had a grasp of journalism. It's clips like these that would make me hire these students. I would hope that employers all over the country take notice when job candidates have won these awards."

Stephanie Lim, online managing editor for 2003, with the [X]press online staff, and Jack Bland of the [X]press newspaper also won first-place awards for their entries.

Lim and the online staff won for best online general news reporting for their slick collection of photos and profiles of last year's nine San Francisco mayoral candidates.

"I think we're one of the few schools that is truly taking advantage of all the things you can do with online journalism. Winning this award means we're doing something right," said Lim.

Bland, now working as a photojournalist for the Merced Sun Times since graduating last May, won best spot news photo for his photograph called "Spraying the Cameraman."

Bland made the photo while covering a large anti-war demonstration in downtown San Francisco. A smaller group broke away. "So I followed them," said Bland. "And they happened to spray black paint over a (KTVU) Channel 2 cameraman's camera in protest of corporate media."

Several other SFSU students won awards in the regional SPJ competition.

  • Senior Zachary Kaufman placed second in the best general news photography category for his photo titled "Sax player in the shadow."
  • Graduate student Jorgen Gulliksen placed third in the same category for his photo titled "Whose Streets."
  • Senior Nathaniel Tishman received an honorable mention in the online spot news reporting category for his article called "Student struggles with tragedy in Southern California Wildfires."

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