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MCCC's Student Newspaper, The College VOICE,
Earns Multiple Awards


West Windsor, NJ: The College VOICE, Mercer County Community College's student newspaper, came out a big winner in this year's Mark of Excellence Awards competition sponsored by The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

The VOICE won six awards, including being selected as a national finalist in the Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper category. In the regional awards, which encompass two-year schools from New England to the New Jersey tri-state area, The VOICE took first place for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper; plus first, second and third in General News Reporting; and first place in In-Depth Reporting.

At the regional level, Mercer student Matt Williams won first place in General News Reporting for his article "Hate crime hits too close to home." Sara Gatling, The VOICE's editor in chief from fall 2009 to spring 2010, earned second place in the General News Reporting category for her article entitled "Exxxotica draws 18,000 despite mayor's attempts to make it go away." Gatling graduated this past May and will transfer to Columbia University in the fall. The third place award in General News Reporting went to Sarina Prior for her article "Where have all the young men gone?"

MCCC student newspaper staff are pictured with Good Morning America cast members during a College Media Adviser's convention in New York City. From left are 2009 Editor in Chief Sara Gatling, MCCC faculty photography advisor Michael Dalton, Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, MCCC faculty advisor Holly Johnson, Senior Reporter Matt White, current Editor in Chief Dmitry Gurvits, Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, current Managing Editor Kelly Smith, Good Morning America's Juju Chang, and Chief Copy Editor Sarina Prior.

Rounding out the regional awards was a first place win for Ronald Russell III's In-Depth Reporting for the article "More Mercer students have to take remedial courses." In October The VOICE will be honored at the SPJ conference in Las Vegas.

The VOICE has also been recognized for its in-depth reporting on Megan's Law. Work by student reporter Daniela Rocha was featured on NBC News 10 in Philadelphia on the May 25 evening news. The investigative report included excerpts from Rocha's interview with an incarcerated sex offender. The full article "As Megan's Law turns 15, are we any safer?" examined legal and ethical complexities of the law intended to notify citizens when a sex offender moves into the area. The piece included interviews with lawyers, law enforcement officials, and Megan's mother.

After a period of inactivity The College VOICE was reinvigorated when Associate Professor of English Holly Johnson (then Mathews) stepped in as adviser in spring 2008. Work from The VOICE has been honored not only with Mark of Excellence awards, but in 2009 it earned six New Jersey Press Foundation awards including the award for General Excellence.

In February of 2010 The VOICE was ranked one of the top 20 most read college newspapers online in the country, as tracked by College Publisher. The VOICE was the only community college ranked in the top twenty at the time. In a single day (February 28) The VOICE's online edition received more than 11,000 individual page reads. Several of The VOICE's investigative articles have been picked up by national media outlets including The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Huffington Post.

The VOICE is online at www.mcccvoice.org.

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