Oak Leaf Retains General Excellence, Wins State Awards

Oak Leaf Staff

The Oak Leaf accrued a dozen state awards from two different journalism organizations last month.

Oak Leaf News Editor William Rohrs and Managinf Editor Keshia Knight won a second-place California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) award for “Best Writing” for an article on SRJC veteran police officer Jeffrey Holzworth. Knight also won two finalist certificates for best sports story and best sports photo.

The Oak Leaf staff brought home eight additional awards, including the coveted General Excellence, from the state Journalism Association of Community Colleges convention in Sacramento in April.

The Oak Leaf was one of only eight community college newspapers statewide to win General Excellence this year. Students also won publication awards for column writing, critical review and photo illustration.

A record 19 SRJC students attended workshops and participated in on-the-spot contests. These contests were not easy. The sports writing contest lasted 10 hours; students were taken to a Sac State double-header softball game. After 15 innings, the second game was finally called for darkness. Then the sunburned, hungry and exhausted students had to return and write their stories within an hour. Surmounting the elements, Assistant Sports Editor Jimmy Merrill took third place.

The Oak Leaf’s video journalists were dropped off at the Capitol and told to find a story. Oak Leaf reporter Francisco Mendez and Sports Editor Jenna Burkman did so and then stayed up editing their entry until 3 a.m. Burkman is taking the first ever Jour. 55: Multimedia Reporting class, taught by Brian Antonson. The duo won one of three meritorious awards; their video is posted on the SRJC Oak Leaf Facebook page.

Oak Leaf Reporter Anna Hecht and Copy Editor Darcy Fracolli also won on-the-spot writing awards in broadcast writing and opinion respectively.

In mail-in awards, former Oak Leaf Co-Editor-in-Chief Isabel Baskerville took third-place statewide for column writing. Oak Leaf Designer Daniel Barba-Almeida took third in photo illustration and feature writer Cassidy Mila won fourth place for critical review.

“I’m really proud of all of these awards because they represent the hard work and long hours the students devote to the Oak Leaf,” said Oak Leaf Adviser Anne Belden. “I’m especially happy with the General Excellence award because it belongs to the entire staff.”