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SPJ honors College of San Mateo's student paper for coverage of San Bruno pipeline explosion

The staff of College of San Mateo’s campus newspaper and website, The San Matean, has been honored with an Excellence in Journalism Award for print and video coverage of last fall’s San Bruno Pipeline Fire.

The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, announced the honors Tuesday for CSM amid an array of journalism professionals cited in their Excellence in Journalism awards program.

The professionals were awarded for work in 38 categories, including Journalist of the Year, Distinguished Service Award, Breaking News, Commentary, Community Journalism, Investigative reporting and Photojournalism.

The CSM Journalism students were honored in the Student Project category for stories and video covering the San Bruno tragedy in fall 2010. The coverage included a special section in The San Matean and video coverage shot and edited by students, then posted to YouTube with links on the newspaper’s website.

“This multimedia package, produced in the midst of a difficult-to-report disaster, demonstrates tenacity, accuracy and fairness,” the SPJ judges wrote about The San Matean’s entries. “The photographs and video captured the impact of the moment, and the reporting was thorough and highly detailed.”

Competition in the Student Project category is open to two-year and four-year colleges.

The students who produced the coverage were Margaret Baum, Alex Farr, Raymond Cheung, Mario Ayala, Tyler Huffman, Sylvia Vasquez, Jeffery Gonzalez, Bruno Manrique, Jason Pun, Roger Boucher, Khiry Crawford, Petero Qauqau and Shine Gao.

Baum, then Executive Editor for The San Matean, is a Journalism major at San Jose State University and an editor for the campus newspaper, The Spartan Daily. She was first to handle coverage of the fire.

Student Video Editor Mario Ayala directed video coverage of the fire.

“Shooting the return of the San Bruno residents to ground zero just one day after the fire and explosion was a mixed feeling,” said Ayala, who was selected this month for a $3,000 broadcasting scholarship from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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