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Southwestern College Publications Win 100-Plus Journalism Awards

Fueled by talented South Bay students, the school's publications received more than 100 local, state and national awards in the past school year. At the same time they had trouble paying for the paper's final issue.

Southwestern College's The Sun newspaper, theswcsun.com and El Sol Magazine had a good Thursday night at the annual Society of Professional Journalists San Diego Chapter's journalism awards banquet.

The newspaper, magazine and website took home 27 of 44 awards to college media, more than all other publications combined.

Albert Fulcher of Imperial Beach took home four awards:

  • 1st place, Best Multicultural Story
  • 1st place, Best Print or Online Column 
  • 2nd place, Best News or Feature Series 
  • 2nd place, Best News Photo

Nickolas Furr, also a resident of IB, won both first and second place in the in-depth reporting category for his coverage of scandals within the school's administration which by the San Diego County District Attorneys Office. 

But the college news organizations have also won national recognition. In New York City in March, the paper's former editor-in-chief Fulcher won the first ever College Media Association's Apple Award in the Best Student Media Leader category. Fulcher competed with more than 5,000 other student leaders recognized by their respective newsrooms.

The following is an exerpt of a nomination letter written by The Sun editors Amber Sykes, Mary York and Ernesto Rivera.

Albert Fulcher was a dead man walking. Diagnosed with HIV, he was told by his grim-faced doctors to get his affairs in order.

After months and over the course of a year Mr. Fulcher relished his waning life until he realized one day that he was indeed still alive and relatively healthy well past his doctor’s predicted expiration date. The experimental chemical drug cocktail seemed to have worked. Mr. Fulcher was reborn.

There is nothing like a man who has been given a second chance on life and Mr. Fulcher seized his opportunity to pursue his life-long dream of becoming a journalist. He has become a great one. 

When he isn't in class at Southwestern or spending time with family, Fulcher covers City Hall part-time for Imperial Beach Patch.

Dr. Max Branscomb is the newspaper's adviser.

He called a Student Press Freedom award the most meaningful "because that was about defending free speech for our college and other college journalism programs," he said. "Besides press freedom what I'm really proud of is so many students have won this year." 

Branscomb said he's happy judges have recognized the difficulty of writing complex stories and that more than 20 students have received awards for their work.

"There are a lot of college papers where there are three people who do all the work, but this group was good all through the ranks," he said. "And they come out of our high schools here in the South Bay, several from IB and Castle Park and Sweetwater."

Despite prestige, Branscomb said the paper's biggest challenge was being unable to publish some editions because of a lack of finances.

"We got cut back along with every other academic program in the school," he said. "That's an ongoing problem and I don't know what to do."

The paper's final issue published earlier this month was paid for with the help of donations from Southwestern staff and professors.

"I know thats not a sustainable business model, but for that one time it's very nice," he said.

Branscomb said he learns from his students who know not to take themselves too seriously and had a newsroom with "a pretty good culture." 

"We work hard, take seriously what needs to be taken seriously, but we also know how to laugh and blow off steam," he said. "They remind me to enjoy the special moments. That sounds really corny, I know, but its kind of true. Sometimes you have to slow down and giggle at the small things. Those guys are really good at that."

Below is a list of some of the awards the paper received this year.

Society of Professional Journalists San Diego Area Journalism Awards

2nd Place, Best Newspaper in College Media

 

1st Place, In-Depth Reporting Story in print and online

"Former VP hid, dumped millions" by Nickolas Furr

 

2nd Place, In-Depth Reporting Story in print and online 

"Board fires corner lot construction firm" by Nickolas Furr

 

Honorable Mention, Best Feature Story in print and online 

"America’s toughest sheriff’ draws a tough crowd" by Rhett Creel

 

2nd Place, Best Feature Story in print and online

"Students work hard to feed homeless" by Amber Sykes 

 

1st Place, Best Feature Story in print and online

"Seaside Sensation" by Thomas Lord


1st Place, Best Sports Story in print and online

"Geriatric Jaguar, 55, inspires the young pups" by Alexis Dominguez

 

2nd Place, Best Multicultural Story in print and online

"Woman who knows no borders" by Angelica Gonzales

 

1st Place, Best Multicultural Story

"New life after a near-death experience" by Albert Fulcher

 

2nd Place in Arts/Entertainment in print and online

"Child Protege blossoms as musical star" by Cody Yarbro

 

1st Place in in Arts/Entertainment in print and online

"Rushing to the top" by Amber Sykes

 

1st Place, Review/Criticism in print and online

"Brilliant pianist rolls over Beethoven" by Thomas Lord

 

2nd Place, Opinion/Editorial in print and online

"Dear Dr. Melinda Nish, we have big plans and high hopes for you" by Mary York

 

Honorable Mention, Column in print and online

Sex and the Sun by Amanda Abad

 

Honorable Mention, Column in print and online

"The quick slant" by Anthony Dacong

 

2nd Place, Columns in print and online

"The spinning wheel" by Angela Van Ostran


1st Place, Columns in print and online

"The Human Chord" by Albert Fulcher

 

2nd Place, News or Feature Series in print and online

"Runner detained by INS, freed/Dream act is pathway to success/Winning race of her life" by Mary York, Ernesto Rivera, Albert Fulcher, Serina Duarte and Ayded Reyes


2nd Place, Original Illustration or Cartoon in print and online

"Veterans deserve our respect" by Rashid Hasirbaf

 

1st Place, Original Illustration or Cartoon in print and online

"Women’s History Month" by Diana Inocencio

 

2nd Place, News photo for print and online

"Remembering Eli" by Albert Fulcher 

 

1st Place, News photo for print and online

"Holding back the throng" by Diana Inocencio

 

2nd Place, Feature Photo for print and online

"From detention to elation" by Marshall Murphy


2nd Place, Sports Photo

"Agony of Defeat" by Jiamay Austria

 

1st Place, Sports Photo for print and online

"Getting it off his chest" by Serina Duarte

1st Place, Layout and Design for print and online

Operation Accreditation by Diana Inocencio

 

1st Place, Arts & Entertainment for Television

"SWC Racket Room- Jessica Lerner" by Thomas Lord, Christopher Soto and Walter Graham

 

Society of Professional Journalists 2011 Region 11 Awards

Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper among two-year and community colleges

 

2nd Place, In-depth reporting

"Former VP hid, dumped millions" by Nicholas Furr

 

3rd Place, In-depth reporting

"Board fires corner lot construction firm; Union seeks corner lot PLA" by Nicholas Furr

 

1st Place, Feature Writing

"Faces of Immigration series" by Albert Fulcher, Ernesto Rivera, Serina Duarte and Angelica Gonzales

 

1st Place, Sports Writing
Winning the race of her life" by Albert Fulcher, Ernesto Rivera and Serina Duarte

 

2nd Place, Editorial Writing  

Sun Editorial Staff

 

1st Place, General Column Writing

 Albert Fulcher

 

2nd Place, General Column Writing

Amanda Abad

 

3rd Place, General Column Writing

Angela Van Ostran 

 

1st Place, Best Affiliated Web Site

The Sun Online (www.theswcsun.com)

 

2nd Place, Sports Photography

"Getting it off his chest" by Serina Duarte

 

3rd Place, Sports Photography

"Full court depress" by Jiamay Austria

 

2nd Place, Editorial Cartooning

Rashid Hasirbaf and Carlos Magana

 

Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards

National Winner, Best All-Around Non-Daily Student NewspaperThe Sun

 

National Winner, Best Affiliated Website, Two-Year College/Community College

theswcsun.com

 

National Finalist, General Column Writing, Two-Year College/Community College

Albert Fulcher

 

National Finalist, Sports Writing at Two-Year College/Community College

"Winning the race of her life" by Albert Fulcher, Ernesto Rivera and Serina Duarte

 

1st Place, Best Student Media Leader 

Albert Fulcher

 

Southwestern College Students of Distinction Awards

Spring Editor-in-Chief Amber Sykes

Arts Editors Ana Bahena and Denyse Tontz


Student Press Law Center

College Press Freedom Award

 

Columbia University Scholastic Press Association

2012 Gold Medal to theswcsun.com

 

2012 Journalism Association of Community Colleges awards

2nd place in column writing, 

Angela Van Ostran, Southwestern College

 

1st place, Editoral Writing 

"Veterans deserve our respect" by Southwestern Sun Staff

 

1st place, Editorials

"Dear Dr. Melinda Nish, we have big plans and high hopes for you" by Southwestern Sun Staff

 

2011 American Scholastic Press Association 

1st Place with Merits, Top Scoring Magazines for 2011

El Sol Magazine

 

1st Place, Scholastic Newspaper Award

The Sun

 

Journalism Association of Community Colleges

Magazine General Excellence

El Sol Magazine

 

Maggie Awards

Finalist, Best Student Magazine 

El Sol Magazine

 

 

California College Media Association 2011-12 Excellence in Student Media 

3rd Place, General Newspaper Election Division CThe Sun

 

2nd Place, General Magazine Excellence

El Sol

 

1st Place, Best News Service Division C

 

2nd place, Best Feature Story Division C

"Winning the race for her life" by Albert Fulcher, Ernesto Rivera and Serina Duarte

 

1st place, Best Editorial Division C

"Dear Dr. Nish…" by Southwestern College Staff

 

2nd Place, Best Editorial

"Vets deserve respect" by Southwestern College Staff

 

1st Place, Best Sports Story

"Winning the Race of Her Life" by Albert Fulcher

 

2nd Place, Best News Photography Division CDiana Inocencio 

 

3rd Place, Best News Photography Division CAlbert Fulcher

 

2nd Place, Best Sports PhotographyJiamay Austria 

 

2nd Place, Best Photo Series Division CDiana Inocencio

 

3rd Place, Best Sports Page Design Division CSerina Duarte

3rd Place, Best CartoonCarlos Magana

 

2nd Place, Best Special Section

"Another Change" by Southwestern College Staff

 

3rd Place, Best Special Section

"Accreditation" by Southwestern College Staff

 

 

San Diego Press Club

1st Place, College Newspapers Front Page Design

"Special Edition: Election 2010" by Southwestern College Sun

 

3rd Place, College Newspapers Front Page Design

"Volume 54, Issue 9" by Southwestern College Sun

 

1st Place, College Papers General News

"Former VP Hid, Dumped Millions" by Nickolas Furr

1st Place, College Paper News Series

"Accreditation Series" by Amber Sykes, Albert Fulcher, Sean Campbell and Lyndsay Winkley

 

3rd Place, College Paper General News

"The Sun Also Rises, Printing Will Continue” by Southwestern College Sun

 


2nd Place, College Paper News Series

"Budget series" by Sean Campbell, Cydney Goodwin, Albert Fulcher and Titan Dawn

 

3rd Place, College Paper News Series

"Election Series" by Lyndsay Winkley, Amber Sykes, Marcela Appelhanz, Alyssa Simental and Albert Fulcher

 

2nd Place, College Paper Feature Photo

Diana Inocencio

 

3rd Place, College Paper Feature Photo

Diana Inocencio

2nd Place, Illustration 

“Operation Accreditation” by Diana Inocencio, Lyndsay Winkley, Albert Fulcher and Joseph Young

 

3rd Place, Illustration

"Construction Timeline" by Amanda Abad

 

1st Place, College Paper Column

"Sex and the Sun" by Amanda Abad

 

2nd Place, College Paper Column

"The Sun Will Not Go Silently, Polite Society, Accepting the 'Other'” by Soutthwestern College Sun staff

 

1st Place, Drawing

"Chopra Resigns"  by Gabrial Orendain-Nechochea

 

2nd Place, Drawing

"Melting Pot" by Southwestern College Sun staff

 

2nd Place, Editorial Cartoon

"Pay to Play" by Rashid Hasirbaf

 

3rd Place, Essay/Commentary/Opinion

"Lost Decade" by John Carter

 

2nd place, Feature

"Batman Can Do Anything, Including Teach" by Serina Duarte

 

1st Place, College Paper Feature Layout Design

"Hot Times at Tent City" by Diana Inocencio

 

3rd Place, College Paper Feature Layout Design

"Secret Garden" by Amanda Abad

 

1st Place, College Paper Sports Photography

"High Flyer" by Tiffany Ayala

 

3rd Place, College Paper Sports Photography

"Agony of Defeat" by Jiamay Austria

 

3rd Place, College Paper Arts & Entertainment Review

"Roll Over Beethoven" by Thomas Lord

 

1st Place, College Paper Sports Report

"Samoan Warriors" by Amanda Abad

 

2nd Place, College Paper Sports Report

"Water Polo Team Drowns their Sorrows" by Samantha Tellez

 

3rd Place, College Paper Sports Report

"Track Team Running for State Title" by Samantha Mendoza

 

Associated Collegiate Press 

1st Place, two-year broadsheet newspaper

Southwestern Sun

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