Student Media Take Top Honors at Convention

UT Dallas student media staff members were honored with several first-place awards at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention April 4-6 in Fort Worth.

UT Dallas Mercury Staff

The Mercury took home seven first-place awards. The newspaper’s editorial board includes (from left, back): Nada Alasmi, Anwesha Bhattacharjee, Cathryn Ploehn and Lauren Featherstone; and (front, from left): Shawn Cho, Editor in Chief Bobby Karalla and Christopher Wang.

The student newspaper, The Mercury, won first place for overall excellence in its division, opinion page design, editorial cartoon and sports feature story. Staff members also won first place in on-site competitions in editorial writing, magazine design and PR crisis management.

UTD TV took home second-place awards for television news feature story and television documentary. The station’s competition included students from UT Austin, UT Brownsville and UT Pan American.

Rebecca Aguilar of A Modest Proposal earned first place in an on-site editorial cartoon competition.

Chad Thomas, director of student media at UT Dallas, was a judge for several of the contests and said this year’s intercollegiate competition was especially challenging.

UTD TV staff

The student staff of UTD TV earned several awards at the convention. Staff members include (back row, from left): Ian Pirich, Raabia Ansari and Hector Gutierrez; and (front, from left): Nieves Reyes and Blair Collum.

“There were so many great works of student journalism on display at this year’s TIPA convention. I was impressed at every turn,” Thomas said. “It’s exciting that UT Dallas students continue to see their work awarded among so many high-quality student productions.”

This is the first time The Mercury has earned the top newspaper spot since it moved into Division 2 last year. Other division participants included UT Tyler, UT El Paso and UT Pan American.

Editor in Chief Bobby Karalla said the award is a testament to the quality of The Mercury throughout the year.

“Winning the award demands consistency and quality across a long period of time. I'm proud of everyone involved," Karalla said.

Misty Hawley, assistant director of student media, also said she was “extremely proud” of the students who work with UTD TV.

“This is a group of tremendous students who consistently put in the time and effort so others have a better sense of what’s happening on campus. It’s rewarding to see what they accomplish, especially against stations at larger universities,” Hawley said.

With her top award, Cathryn Ploehn, graphics editor for The Mercury, has now placed first in editorial cartoon at the state and national contests for pieces she did in the past year. Her winning editorial cartoon satirized Paul Ryan’s stance on immigration and women’s rights, and was published Aug. 27, 2012.

Karalla said he was particularly pleased with the strong showings for UT Dallas student media staff in the on-site competitions.

“Earning an on-site award is a huge challenge,” Karalla said. “The Mercury, A Modest Proposal and UTD TV all took home at least one, which shows that staff members at each outlet are capable of competing with students from the best journalism schools around the state.”

The UTD Mercury

First Place:

Overall ExcellenceOpinion/Editorial Page DesignEditorial Cartoon – Cathryn PloehnSports Feature Story – Bobby KarallaEditorial Writing – Bobby Karalla (on-site)Magazine Design – Cathryn Ploehn (on-site)PR Crisis Management – Anwesha Bhattacharjee (on-site)

Second Place:

Illustration (non-photo) – Matthew Adamez

Third Place:

Feature Story – Joseph MancusoSports Page Design – Shawn ChoFeature Photo – Yang Xi

Honorable Mention:

EditorialSingle Subject Design – Matthew Adamez, Josh Carter, Preet Dalal, Alison Kwong, Lina Moon, Cathryn Ploehn, Lillian RaemschGeneral Column – Paul DangNews Feature Story – Sarah LarsonNews Photography – Yang Xi (on-site)Sports Writing – Shawn Cho (on-site) 


Second Place:

Television News Feature Story – UTD TV (Layvette Johnson)Television Documentary – UTD TV (Moe Alam, Melissa Blackman, Blair Collum, Hector Gutierrez, Jenn Lim, Ian Owen, Ian Pirich, Nieves Reyes, Christine Varghese)

Honorable Mention:

Television Production – UTD TV (Raabia Ansari, Melissa Blackman, Blair Collum, Jenn Lim, Chukwudi Omobare, John Thottungal, Eddie Yzaguire)Online Division 1 Best Breaking News – UTD TV (Blair Collum, Hector Gutierrez, John Thottungal)Online Division 1 Best Video – UTD TV (Moe Alam, Blair Collum)TV News Writing – Ian Pirich (on-site) 

A Modest Proposal

First Place:

Editorial Cartoon – Rebecca Aguilar (on-site) 

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].