College Voice Student Newspaper
Earns Six State Awards
the student newspaper of Mercer County Community College, has earned
six awards from the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association in its
annual statewide competition judged by news professionals. The awards
include First Place for General Excellence for a two-year college
and Second Place for Layout and Design.
Awards for individual contributions include First Place for Feature
Writing to Editor-in-Chief Susana Sanchez; Second Place for Newswriting
to Managing Editor David Hoyt; First Place for General Photography
to Mike Kay; and Honorable Mention for General Photography to Kendra
According to Voice advisor Holly-Katharine Mathews, an MCCC associate
professor of English, winning the award for overall excellence is
"huge for us. We beat out some really well-established papers."
Mathews notes that the awards reflect an incredible commitment on
the part of her 18-member staff.
An all-day brainstorming session at the beginning of each semester
sets the tone for work that never lets up, as students guide four
issues of The Voice from conception to final product. Mathews
is assisted by Photography Program Coordinator Michael Dalton, who
advises the staff's photojournalists and others interested in taking
photos for The Voice.
editor-in-chief Sanchez, originally from Costa Rica, English is
her second language. "It's challenging to be editor. I don't
know the idioms. But it has really improved my writing," she
recent recipient of a $5,000 Phi Theta Kappa Guistwhite scholarship,
Sanchez is a Liberal Arts major who will graduate this May and plans
to transfer for her bachelor's degree. She predicts that her writing
skills will be a major asset when she eventually returns to Costa
Rica, where most people can speak English, but few can write it.
members include: (seated from left) Mabel Duran-Sanchez, Katrina
Brophy and Kent Watanabe;
(standing from left) Susana Sanchez, Jason Braum,
Matt Williams, Mike Kay, Caroline Fling, David Hoyt,
Brian Edgeworth, Sandy Issac and Eva Surony.
Holly-Katharine Mathews, right, encourages
students to think critically and strive for excellence.
members in a lighter moment.
Editor David Hoyt had never written for a paper before when he joined
the staff last year. "It's a nice change from standard academic essays
- out of the mold and much more creative." The newspaper provides
a tangible goal beyond grades, Hoyt notes. "Here our emphasis is
the product. Plus, lots of people read your work, not just your professor
and classmates. You can have an impact on people's lives."
acknowledges that the paper is a lot of work, but infinitely rewarding.
"It teaches discipline and responsibility and builds self-confidence.
We walk in for an interview and talk to anyone. The staff is really great.
Everyone is friends with everyone. It's an enjoyable, relaxed, fun time."
That's an atmosphere that Mathews strives to create. "I want them
to have a real life experience, to make friends, and to build their resumes.
I want them to be treated like adults and excel at a high level, to collaborate,
and to take on serious issues in an unbiased way. This is a great group
of students. All are busy and all are perfectionists, but I tell them
there is no such thing as perfection in this business. You know it's done
when you hit your deadline."
Voice also has a website, www.mcccvoice.org,
that is maintained by the editors and updated regularly. Unveiled with
the publication of the first fall 2008 issue, it contains top articles,
breaking news, and several interactive features such as photo slideshows
and video clips. "We track which articles receive the most reads,"
Mathews reports. "I like to acknowledge the writers whose articles
generate the most reads and comments. The top reporters vie for that prize."
next goal for The Voice is to earn an award from College Media
Advisers, a national organization dedicated to helping students improve
their media operations. Mathews and nine of her staff members recently
returned from the group's annual convention in New York City, which drew
students from 1,600 schools around the country. "They got excited
about First Amendment law and made friends with students from other schools.
I was so proud of them," Mathews says.
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