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Journalism students take seven awards in college press contest

Published or Revised April 11, 2005

Paris Junior College journalism students brought home seven awards from the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association conference last weekend.

Journalism instructor and newspaper advisor Sharon Dennehy said staff members of the campus newspaper, The Bat, made a great showing among colleges in their division.

“We submitted work that was published from January 2004 to December 2004, so we have winners who have transferred on, as well as some who are currently on staff,” Dennehy said. “In the seven years I have been here, that is the most awards we have ever won.”

The PJC newspaper staff competed in a division that included Midland College, UT-Tyler, Angelina College, St. Edward’s University, UT-Permian Basin and Houston Baptist University.

The PJC The Bat staff took second place in Overall Excellence. Newspapers were required to submit three consecutive issues of their paper for judging. Dennehy said that the staff didn’t get to submit their “best three” issues. The judges decided that. Judges said: “Both writing and layout very cleanly done. Good effort to bring human elements into stories, not just statistical facts.  Good editorial page pulls it all together.”

Josh Edwards, who has since transferred to the University of North Texas and works weekends at The Paris News, won first place in headline writing for the headline, “PJC wins more than peanuts,” about the drama students winning the contest with their play, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Edwards, who was editor of The Bat last year, also won second place for an editorial about the NRA and gun control.

Rachel Routon won second place for her feature story about a former circus clown turned PJC student. She also received honorable mention for a news story on rising tuition rates. Rachel is now a student at UNT and a member of the North Texan student newspaper staff.

Joey Dean, current editor of the newspaper, won honorable mention for his sports news story covering last year’s basketball regional playoff. Joey has been on the staff for three years. He will transfer in the fall.

Amy Branham received honorable mention for her news feature story that looked at how students are coping with high gas prices. Amy has been a staff member for two semesters and will be back in the fall.

Dean, Branham, and co-editors for next year Deanna Jackson and Mindy Riffle, attended the conference and heard from professional journalists, such as Channel 11’s Tracey Rowlett and James Ragland of The Dallas Morning News.

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