WT Students Win Statewide Journalism Awards – The PRAIRIE

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West Texas A&M University media students recently won eight awards at the 2022 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention. Pictured, L-R, Adam Jiwa, Jacob Toon, Kara Villarreal, Isiah Tanner, Skylerr Patterson, Sophia Britto, Advisor Dr. Michael McFarland, Hannah Valencia, Dylan Green, Victoria Fatiregun, Johnny Lawhon and Advisor Kim Bruce.

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Contact: Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]

CANYON, Texas — Students at West Texas A&M University won eight awards at the 2022 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in late March.

Students from the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities won five live competition awards and three awards for previously published/streamed material at the convention, held March 23-26 in Fort Worth.

The students represented three Department of Communications organizations: The Prairie News, the student-run news organization; Eternal Flame, the official magazine of WT and the WT chapter of the National Electronic Media Association.

TIPA is the nation’s oldest state collegiate press association and is now one of the largest and most respected collegiate groups.

The organization hosts an annual convention, consisting of live competitions, workshops, meetings and an awards ceremony, to encourage professional development, networking and recognition of excellence in journalism. The 2022 convention was the first in-person convention since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 300 students and counsellors, representing 35 schools, attended this year’s convention.

Kara Villarreal, a junior digital communications and media student from El Paso and an Eternal Flame staff member, won first place in the Live TV Advertising competition.

“Winning in TV advertising was very exciting,” Villarreal said. “It was something new and different, and I’m glad I was able to not only compete, but learn at the same time.”

Sophia Britto, an Amarillo Digital Communications and Media major and NEMA Chapter President, won third place in the Print Advertising Live competition.

“It’s kind of intimidating to walk into a room full of people you don’t know and compete with them,” Britto said. “You don’t know someone else’s skill set or what they’re going to come up with, especially people coming from big enough universities.”

Isaiah Tanner, a digital communications and media specialist from Perryton and a member of NEMA, won an honorable mention in the Radio Sports Writing Live competition.

“Winning this award made me feel really on the right track,” Tanner said. “Good grades are great, but seeing how you stack up against people in the same jobs as you shows you’re just as qualified as them.”

Dylan Green, a junior graphic design student at Dumas and a member of NEMA, won first place in the Editorial Cartoon Live competition.

“At the convention, I think I enjoyed the work of the journalists a lot more and the way the media works together with the designers to create a professional, cohesive, and informative end product,” Green said.

Hannah Valencia, a communications grad from Santa Rosa, Calif., and editor of The Prairie News, won third place in the Live Editorial Writing Contest, second place in the previously published General News Story contest for Division 4 , and third place in the previously published General Column contest for Division 4.

“I think the whole convention experience made me think outside the box at WT to see what other college news outlets are doing,” Valencia said. “It’s easy to get stuck in your own university bubble, but looking for inspiration outside your community is a big motivator to keep innovating.”

Buffalo Advertising won first place in the previously released ad campaign contest for “Pak-A-Sak Has Your Back.” This is the second prize won by this advertising campaign.

The promotion of quality, both in teaching and in student work, is a cornerstone of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From begging to the world.

This plan is fueled by the historic amount of $125 million one west huge fundraising campaign.

Here is a list of TIPA awards won by WT students:

Live Contest Rewards:

  • TV commercial, first place: Kara Villarreal
  • Print Ad, Third Place: Sophia Britto
  • Radio Sports Writing, Honorable Mention: Isaiah Tanner
  • Editorial cartoon, first place: Dylan Green
  • Editorial Writing, Third Place: Hannah Valencia

Previously Posted/Streamed Awards:

  • Ad Campaign, First Place (Division, Open): Buffalo Advertising
  • General News Story, second place (Division 4): Hannah Valencia
  • Overall column, third place (Division 4): Hannah Valencia

About the WTAMU Communications Department

The Communication Department at WTAMU is home to two undergraduate programs: Communication Studies and Media Communication, with three areas of focus in each program as well as the option to seek certification as a speech or journalism teacher. The master’s program offers two areas of focus: one in communication and the other in media management. Both can be completed online. For more information about the department, visit wtamu.edu/academics/college-fine-arts-humanities/department-communication/index.html.

About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas on a 342-acre residential campus. Founded in 1910, the university has been part of the Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, an institution serving Hispanics since 2016, has approximately 10,000 enrollment and offers 59 undergraduate, 39 master’s, and two doctoral programs. The university is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and one of the finest art collections in the Southwest. The Buffaloes are members of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offer 14 men’s and women’s athletic programs.

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