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In-depth series wins award for college paper

A report about the sentencing of a Skyline College student’s killer and an in-depth series about budget woes captured top writing honors Saturday for student journalists at College of San Mateo.

John Servatius, a senior staff writer for The San Matean, campus newspaper at College of San Mateo, wrote the account about the sentencing in March of a man for the 2006 slaying of Boris Albinder, 19, of Skyline College.

Albinder was slain in an off-campus brawl over a parking space. The defendant, Sarith Soun, 27, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter after conviction in February, Servatius wrote.

“Very strong quotes,” the judges wrote. “Good understanding of the legal system.”
Servatius was awarded first place in Newswriting among 50 entries during the Northern California conference of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges.

The JACC represents nearly every community college journalism program in the state. About 300 students and advisers from 21 colleges attended the all-day conference, which was hosted by the journalism program at San Jose State University and featured workshops and on-the-spot writing and photography contests.

A group of CSM journalism students were among only three colleges honored by the JACC with awards for enterprise or series reporting.

The CSM group received a “Generally Excellent” award for eight stories analyzing economic difficulties impacting the college and college district.

“Solid report — good sourcing,” the judges wrote.

The students working on the months’-long coverage of the budget crisis included Laura Babbitt, Margaret Baum, Erin Browner, Alexa Hemken, Courtney Jamieson, Christine Karavas, Dylan Lewman and John Servatius.

The CSM coverage was selected from among 21 entries submitted in the category by member colleges.

Erin Browner, another CSM journalism student, also garnered an Honorable Mention among 37 entries for her photo of students marching last March in Sacramento to protest budget cuts.

“Professionals handle the judging so these awards, which include comments, are especially relevant for beginning journalists,” said Ed Remitz, CSM journalism adviser. “We are proud of the students and their accomplishments.”

“Awards are great but we remain focused on producing the best work possible for our newspaper and web site,” said Margaret Baum, Editor of The San Matean.

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