The News is Good for Student Media at Awards Event

The Mercury and UTD TV Bring Home Honors, Including Best of Show

May 3, 2011

The Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) has recognized several UT Dallas student-run media outlets for their achievements, including a “best of show” award for the University’s student newspaper, The UTD Mercury.

The Mercury captured 12 awards and several honorable mentions at the 101st annual TIPA convention, held in Fort Worth last month.  UTD TV, one of the newest outlets added to student media, took home an honorable mention in the category Best Overall Newscast. 

The best of show award went to The Mercury for “outstanding quality and performance in Texas college media,” 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 included honors in the in-depth reporting, feature photo, information graphic and photo illustration categories.  

Chad Thomas, director of student media at the University, said the TIPA experience was both educational and validating for the student journalists.

“This was a great experience for our staff to come together, bond as a team, see what other student publications were doing well – or not so well – and learn how they could improve their work,” Thomas said. “Taking home the awards they did, especially best of show, proved to them that they can do great work and motivated them to up their game so that next year, they’ll do even better.”

Fifteen members of student media staff attended presentations by professional journalists during the three-day TIPA convention, and several students participated in live competitions against other collegiate journalists from across the state.

Student media are operated through the Office of Student Affairs. UTD TV broadcasts news, entertainment programming and other programming produced by students, staff and faculty. The Internet-based channel was launched in 2009. The Mercury is published on Mondays at two-week intervals during the school year, except during holidays and exam periods, and once every three weeks during the summer.

Students also operate UTD Radio and an alternative print publication, A Modest Proposal.

Thomas joined UT Dallas in November after working elsewhere in Texas as a business editor for the Tyler Morning Telegraph. He has worked as a writer/reporter for two papers in the Austin area and freelanced for The Dallas Morning News. He graduated from UT Austin and completed his master’s work in journalism at Ohio University.

“Coming to a university without a traditional journalism or mass communications program, I knew it would be an exciting challenge to work with students to grow and develop a strong media presence,” he said. “In the short time I’ve been here, we’ve made outstanding progress in improving our media groups and providing a more consistent, reliable source of news and entertainment that targets our students. We’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m optimistic about the progress our talented staff has made and will continue to make 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.

Media Contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2244, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]
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The Mercury

The Texas Intercollegiate Press Association presented its best of show award to the staff of The Mercury for “outstanding quality and performance in Texas college media.”  Complete UT Dallas student media awards were as follows:


The UTD Mercury


Best of Show, Division 3: “For outstanding quality and performance in Texas college media competition.”
In-Depth Reporting:
Anwesha Bhattacharjee
Feature Photo: Brandon Higgins
Information Graphic:
Laura-Jane Cunningham
Photo Illustration:
Brandon Higgins & Albert Ramirez


Sports Column: Bobby Karalla
News Photo:
Albert Ramirez
Sports Photography:
Ben Hawkins (onsite award)
Picture Story: Brandon Higgins


Sports Action Photo: Duc Cao
Single Subject Presentation:
Shane Damico
Sports Writing: Bobby Karalla (onsite award)


Honorable Mention

Feature Story: Laura-Jane Cunningham
Sports Page Design:
Bobby Karalla
Page One Design:
Shane Damico
  Michelle Ngyuen


Honorable Mention

Best Overall Newscast

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June 19, 2019