The Channels crew wins 16 awards at JACC conference in Long Beach


From top left clockwise, Melissa Garcia, Bianca Ascencio, Rodrigo Hernandez, Ryan Painter, Luke Fipps, Eric Evelhoch, Sunny Silverstein and August Lawrence display the awards won at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges conference on Saturday, March 5 at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach, Calif. The Channels won 16 awards overall in mail-in and on-the-spot competitions. (Photo by Darleen Principe)

Rodrigo Hernandez, Editor-in-Chief

The Channels staff earned 16 awards at the 2022 conference for the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach. 

Eight students, accompanied by Adviser and Department Chair Darleen Principe and Lab Teaching Assistant John Rose, had the opportunity to network with fellow up-and-coming journalists, learn from a myriad of seminars and engage in on-the-spot competitions. 

“I’m incredibly proud of the staff,” Principe said. “They worked so hard throughout the competition, attending the workshops as well as participating in the contests.” 

JACC partnered with the Associated Collegiate Press, College Media Association and other collegiate-media programs to offer the first in-person convention since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. More than 500 student journalists and teachers attended overall, with City College competing against 24 schools from JACC colleges.

Among the seminars available, a highlight was a keynote presentation from award-winning Los Angeles Times journalists Tom Curwen and Francine Orr for their work on the South Los Angeles homeless project. Former editor of The Washington Post Bill Elsen was also available to meet with student journalists as the editor-in-residence.

New York Times’ Theodore Kim and Carla Correa, the director of career programs and deputy director of early career programs, respectively, introduced the “New York Times Corps” — a program which provides journalism students career guidance from Times reporters over a multiyear period, focusing on assisting students from underrepresented groups or socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“It was wonderful to have workshops with national speakers and reporters. That kind of networking was a great opportunity for everyone,” the department chair said.

The Channels won eight awards for mail-in competitions and eight more for on-the-spot contests held at the conference. For the submitted contests, the crew won awards for editorial, opinion story, critical review, column writing, sports feature photo, online photo story/essay and environmental portrait.

Editor-in-Chief Rodrigo Hernandez collected three awards, placing first in sports photo, second in feature writing and received an honorable mention for feature photo. Photo Editor August Lawrence earned third place for feature photo, and Sports Editor Eric Evelhoch placed second for sports writing and won third place for opinion writing. 

Staffer Sunny Silverstein received third place for social media, and staffers Luke Fipps and Ryan Painter placed third for their video project. 

“It gave me a swell of pride for how well our delegation did in the on-the-spot contests,” Rose said.

The teaching assistant presented his “Video from the Ground Up” workshop for the third year in a row. Rose said that “although there is always room for improvement, it went as well as it has ever been” with about 40 attendees participating.

While the conference provides an environment for networking and awards, the takeaway at the end of the three-day trip from March 3-5 was team bonding and collective growth. 

“A personal highlight was sitting on the whoopee cushion,” Rose said.