July 18, 2018

July 18, 2018


UT Dallas Student Media Accrue Several National Honors

Student media award winners

Members of student media show off their most recent awards. From left, front row: Carolina Alvarez, Antonio Diaz and Saher Aqeel. Back row: Maisha Razzaque, Hannah Popal, Miriam Percival, Ariana Hadden and Summer LeBel.

Student media groups at The University of Texas at Dallas recently earned awards from three national college journalism associations.

UT Dallas students took home the awards at two fall conventions — the National College Media Convention in Dallas and the National Student Electronic Media Convention in San Antonio.

For the fourth consecutive year, the student newspaper, The Mercury, was a finalist for the Associated Collegiate Press’ Newspaper Pacemaker Award, considered the highest honor in college journalism. The paper won the award in 2015 and 2016.

Meanwhile, the University’s budding campus magazine and TV station received their first national honors.

AMP, the student opinion publication that began its magazine format in 2014, placed third in the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards for Best Four-Year Feature Magazine.

Our media groups in many ways mirror our university — young, gifted and rapidly rising on the national stage. The awards are an indication of the exceptional talent and dedication of our students.

Chad Thomas,
director of student media

UTD TV, the campus television station founded in 2009, received an honorable mention from CMA for Best Four-Year TV Station.

“It’s remarkable to see such fast growth and improvement,” said Chad Thomas, director of student media. “Our media groups in many ways mirror our university — young, gifted and rapidly rising on the national stage. The awards are an indication of the exceptional talent and dedication of our students.”

UTD TV also received first-place awards from College Broadcasters Inc. in the Comedy Video and Feature Video categories. The awards recognized two of the station’s 2016-17 productions: “Taste of Dallas,” a program showcasing North Texas dining hotspots, and “Paz and Chico Take Student Government,” a comedy series in which a young woman teams up with the campus’ competitive eating champion to win the race for student government president.

Stanley Joseph BS’16, MS’17 worked as a video editor and producer at UTD TV as an undergraduate and graduate accounting student. Joseph led the screenwriting, casting, directing and post-production efforts for “Paz and Chico.” He said the idea for the show came from observing campus and national elections in recent years.

“I wanted to explore what a sincere candidate would need to do in order to capture students’ attention,” Joseph said. “The 2016 presidential election was also a big influence. During development, the behaviors and promises of some presidential candidates gave us a lot of material to work with.”

The Importance of People

More than 50 students played a part in the production of “Paz and Chico,” including six recurring actors, 15 crew members and 30 extras. Joseph said one of the major takeaways from the show was the willingness of UT Dallas students to take on new projects and assume leadership roles.

“I've learned that the most important part of any production is the people,” Joseph said. “Having an expensive camera is nice, but it’s ultimately useless if you don't have people on your team who are willing to help make your vision a reality.”

Two former staff members from The Mercury also received CMA Pinnacle Awards for their writing. Esteban Bustillos BA’16 earned a second-place award for Best Column. Nidhi Gotgi, an accounting senior, snagged an honorable mention for Best Investigative Story for her 2016 article exploring Hispanic representation in the student body.

The Mercury also took home first place in the ACP Best of Show contest for less-than-weekly newspapers from four-year institutions. Miriam Percival, a psychological sciences graduate student and editor of The Mercury, said she and her staff are energized by the fall accolades.

“These awards motivate our staff to continue producing quality work and covering campus news,” Percival said. “It demonstrates we are achieving and improving upon a standard we have worked to make an integral part of The Mercury over the past several years.”

Media Contact: Robin Russell, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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