A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

The Oak Leaf awarded best two-year college media outlet in the nation by professional press

Members of The Oak Leaf pose with some of the 29 awards they won at the Fall 2022 Journalism Association of Community Colleges NorCal conference Oct 22 at Las Positas College.

Three professional journalism associations recognized The Oak Leaf with four national awards, including first place for Best Two-Year College Media Outlet of the Year at the College Media Association Pinnacle awards, and 29 Northern California regional awards for articles and photos covering topics, such as Covid-19 vaccinations, sports and student life. 

The College Media Association presented Pinnacle Awards and the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) gave out Best of Show awards at MediaFest 22, the Fall National College Media Awards convention in Washington D.C. The Oak Leaf won two Pinnacle awards and two ACP Best of Show awards.

The Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) awarded The Oak Leaf multiple first-place and general excellence awards for work published during Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters, as well as on-the-spot contest wins in the NorCal conference Fall 2022 at Las Positas College in Livermore Oct. 22. 

“I’m really proud of this team that prevailed through the pandemic and then returned to campus and continued to turn out award-winning journalism,” said Oak Leaf Adviser Anne Belden.

First-year journalism student Peter Morales nearly fell on the floor when he heard his name announced for fourth place in the Copy Editing contest. “I finally achieved something in my life,” Morales said. 

Oak Leaf veteran Nick Vides shone among student journalists at the convention, winning  six awards, including first places for an environmental portrait and on-the-spot feature photo. 

“These awards show how great the program is,” Vides said. “I can’t thank Anne Belden and Brian Antonson enough for all the help they’ve given me.” 

Combined with Spring Awards, the Oak Leaf won a total of 61 awards in 2022.

Veteran Oak Leafer, Nick Vides, celebrates his six awards won at the Fall 2022 Journalism Association of Community Colleges NorCal conference, the most of any student journalist who participated.

College Media Association (national)

Two-Year Best College Media Outlet of the Year, 1st: The Oak Leaf News, Santa Rosa Junior College

Two-Year Website of the Year, Honorable Mention: The Oak Leaf News, Santa Rosa Junior College

Associated Collegiate Press (national) Best of Show Awards

Two-year Magazine, 4th Place: The Oak Leaf Magazine

Website, two-year campus, 7th Place: The Oak Leaf News

The  Journalism Association of Community Colleges (NorCal regional)


Opinion writing, 2nd: Christian Vieyra

Opinion Writing, 4th: Michael Combs

Copy Editing, 2nd: Sean Young

Copy Editing, 4th: Peter Morales

News Writing, 2nd: Sean Young

Social Media, 3rd: Sean Young, Michael Combs, Stephan Howe, Tony Moeckel, Christian Vieyra, Hana Seals, Jaden Burris, Jessica Camberos, Sam Guzman, Nick Vides

Feature Photo, 1st: Nick Vides

Feature Photo, 3rd: Hana Seals

Publication Awards

Online General Excellence: The Oak Leaf, Santa Rosa Junior College

Critical Review, Honorable Mention: Aryk Copley

Editorial, 4th: Oak Leaf Staff

Enterprise News Story/Series, Meritorious: Michael Combs, James Domizio, Alex Fuller and The Oak Leaf Staff

Environmental Portrait, 1st: Nick Vides

Environmental Portrait, 2nd: Aryk Copley

Feature Photo, 1st: Nick Vides

Feature Story, 2nd: Nick Vides

Feature Story, Honorable Mention: Michael Combs

Illustration, 4th: Alex Fuller

News Photo, 3rd: Nick Vides

Online Photo Story/Essay, 2nd: Garret Ashton

Online Photo Story/Essay, 3rd: Ava Domenichelli, Aryk Copley

Opinion Story, 3rd: Noah McSweeney (guest writer)

Profile Feature Story, 2nd: Sean Young

Sports Action Photo, 2nd: Nick Vides

Sports Feature Photo, 2nd: Christian Vieyra (photo #3 in gallery)

Sports Feature Photo, 4th: Christian Vieyra (top photo)

Student Designed Advertisement, 4th: Cass Stewart

Student Designed Advertisement, Honorable Mention: Cass Stewart

Webcast/Broadcast News, 1st: Lauren Spates

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About the Contributor
Michael Combs
Michael Combs, Editor
Michael Combs (he/him) is in his fifth semester writing for The Oak Leaf, and his second as co-Editor-In-Chief. He began taking natural resources management classes at Santa Rosa Junior College to pursue his love of nature and the environment but has shifted toward journalism so he can share those passions with the world. Besides the environment, Michael also likes to write about politics, social justice and mental health. He has a bachelor’s of science in neuroscience and mammalian physiology from the University of California, San Diego, and hopes to get back to his roots with more science journalism as well. In his off time Michael likes to read, write and hike as often as possible in beautiful Sonoma County and beyond.

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