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Cancelled journalism program wins awards

College of San Mateo’s Journalism program, cancelled this fall for low enrollment, collected an array of honors Saturday at a regional journalism conference in Sacramento.

Students in the program, which produced The San Matean, the campus newspaper and website, collected awards for their work over the last two semesters in enterprise reporting, video reporting, editorial writing, advertising and photography.

The awards were presented during the Northern California conference of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges, a statewide group. About 20 colleges and 200 students attended the event at CSU-Sacramento. Students from JACC member colleges compete in dozens of journalism categories for the awards.

“The awards were an amazing outcome for the students, given the climate the students had while doing their work,” said Ed Remitz, the graduates’ former journalism professor and adviser (and a member of the Press Club’s board of directors). Remitz, who attended the Sacramento event, retired from CSM after the program was terminated. “The students carried on to the end, never abandoning their strong work ethic and dedication to serving their community.”

The award for enterprise reporting is given for in-depth work of great value to the public. It is not ranked, but noted as a Meritorious, or general excellence, award. The staff of The San Matean were cited for their eight-page series last spring about garbage management in the college district. The San Matean has received numerous awards in this category in previous years, among the most prestigious in the contests.

Students Kayla Figard and Alex Pulisci also were awarded second place for Web/Broadcast Journalism for their video about garbage management that accompanied the series. Pulisci and another student, Erasmo Martinez, were awarded Honorable Mention in the Web/Broadcast Journalism category for their video report about a music event at the CSM Theatre.

Student Ryan Patron was awarded third place in the Photo Illustration category for his creation of a surfer riding a wave of plastic trash.

The staff of The San Matean received first place for another ad which parodied TV’s “World’s Most Interesting Man” campaign with a staffer extolling the virtues of The San Matean with such assertions as “If the First Amendment had a mascot, it would be The San Matean.”

Jeffrey Gonzalez, now a journalism major at San Jose State University, collected third place honors in Feature Photo for his shot of students in a hopping contest. Gonzalez also collected third place honors for Student Designed Advertisement for his humorous program promotion — “We Like Puppies — Do you? The San Matean — Do It for the puppies.”

The staff also received an Honorable Mention for Editorial Writing for an article about First Amendment rights on campus.

Student Shaun Carmody collected two Honorable Mentions in sports coverage, one for Sports Game Story, the other for his Sports Feature Photo.

CSM Journalism graduates Margaret Baum and Yasmine Mahmoud, both journalism majors at San Jose State University, and Kayla Figard, a journalism major at San Francisco State University, attended the event to conduct a workshop about First Amendment rights for students. Baum and Figard are recipients of $1,500 Herb Caen Scholarships from the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club.

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