Campus: San Francisco State University -- December 04, 2002

SFSU Students Recognized for Outstanding Journalism

For the second year in a row, the [X]press received the prestigious Newspaper Pacemaker award from the Associated Collegiate Press, a national association of college journalists.

As a Newspaper Pacemaker, the Golden Gate [X]press was recognized with 16 other college newspapers nationwide, including those at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A total of 190 student newspapers were considered, and SFSU was the only California university on the winners’ list. Announced in November at the annual conference of the Associated Collegiate Press, the award is based on quality and scope of reporting, visual presentation, and editorial leadership in the 2001-02 academic year.

“We have made a special effort to promote diversity in our program, in our sources and in our subject matter,” said Yvonne Daley, SFSU associate professor of journalism and faculty adviser to the [X]press. “This makes for a more interesting newsroom as well as an interesting mix of stories and perspectives.”

Outstanding Student Journalist Awards
Recently three students on the [X]press also received special honors from the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a 9,000-member national association that promotes freedom and ethics in journalism.

Adam Ashton, Nada Behziz and Greg Kozocas earned the SPJ’s Outstanding Student Journalist award. The award recognized Behziz, a journalism senior, and Kozocas, who finished his bachelor of arts in journalism in the spring, for their in-depth research and reporting at the [X]press. Kozocas, who lives in Sunnyvale, said the winning article on faculty promotions came out of “absolutely a team effort” and took months to investigate and write.

“Many of the Journalism Department advisers worked closely with us to ensure that our story was impartial and even-handed to all sides,” said Behziz, who grew up in Sacramento.

“My two years on the [X]press taught me how to dig up information for a tense investigation, how to build good relationships with reliable sources, and how to encourage my colleagues to do the same,” said Ashton, chosen for his coverage of student government in the spring and his work on the [X]press throughout the year. Ashton, who worked on his high school newspaper in Livermore, wrote about student elections, University health-care fees and a dispute over restaurants on campus.

“I hope my stories reflected a campus with a sense of community,” Ashton said.

A geography and English literature major, Ashton was [X]press editor in fall 2001 when the paper ran its award-winning coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That coverage earned the national Best of Show prize at the 2001 Associated Collegiate Press convention.

On Nov. 19, the three SFSU students took their place beside leading Bay Area professional journalists at the SPJ’s annual awards banquet.

Daley noted that both the national and regional awards “are quite significant because the contests are judged by representatives from the media and the other journalism programs around the country or in the region. They are looking for basic journalistic excellence but also something more—something that distinguishes this particular story or newspaper from the others in the same league.”

San Francisco State University’s Journalism Department is nationally recognized and one of the largest in the Bay Area. With more than 300 students enrolled each year, the department sponsors a wide range of student publications including the nationally acclaimed Golden Gate [X]press newspaper, magazine and Web edition. The department also is home to the Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism (CIIJ), a coaching and advocacy service working with college and high school students to promote ethnic diversity and balanced news coverage.

Contact: Matt Itelson (415) 338-1743; (415) 338-1665;

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