A suspected gunman, the burden of student debt, and student protests; these are just a few of the stories covered by the California State University, Northridge student newspaper, The Daily Sundial, that helped its staff win more than 20 awards during the 2011-2012 school year.
In total, the Sundial students received six first-place, five second-place, and 11 third-place awards from the California College Media Association and the Society of Professional Journalists this spring.
“Receiving these awards is a high honor,” said Melissa Lalum, journalism professor and publisher of the Daily Sundial. “We go up against really excellent schools throughout the country and state. So, to be honored confirms we’re doing good work and training our students well.”
In two instances, Cal State Northridge shared the top three spots with UC Berkeley and UCLA.
“In the Society of Professional Journalists, we placed second for best website, UCLA was first and Berkeley was third,” said Lalum. “For the general excellence award given by the California College Media Association, Berkeley was first, UCLA was second and CSUN was third. This award goes to school newspapers that show true excellence in every aspect of their paper.”
What really sets the Sundial students apart, continued Lalum, is that “they are really great at balancing life. They are extremely hard working students who come from a variety of backgrounds. Most of them are going to school full time, working at the Sundial and working on jobs outside of school. I often wonder where they find the time to do a really good job. I’m always impressed with their level of commitment to their major.
“They also have one of the hardest jobs as students on campus. Their learning process is very public. Whereas a lot of people never experience that, and at times it can be very joyful, and it can be painful.”
Lalum said receiving this recognition supports the Department of Journalism’s efforts to teach its students how to navigate in digital world while also supporting a print product effectively.
“I hope students at high schools and two-year colleges contemplating coming to CSUN realize they can be part of an award-winning staff,” said Lalum. “I tell them to be prepared to work very hard. But to also enjoy what they do.”
At the California College Media Association’s Excellence in Student Media Awards, the Sundial won first-place honors including Best Breaking News Story for its coverage of the suspected gunman; Best News-Page Design by Abby Jones; Best Features-Page Design by Marianne Tan; Best Headline Portfolio by Alonso Tacanga; and Best Infographic by Tessie Navarro.
The staff also received second-place awards in Best News Series; Best Personal Opinion Column for “Beware! Asian invasion and infiltration” by Hansook Oh; Best Photo Illustration by Tessie Navarro and Abby Jones; and Best Special Section for “new performing arts center.”
They placed third in General Newspaper Excellence; Best Overall Design; Best News Story (non-breaking) by Emily Suhr for her story, “Alumnus challenges military regulations;” Best Sports Story for “Rivals to brothers” by Gilberto Manzano; Best Features Photography by Tessie Navarro; Best Sports-Page Design by Monique Muniz; Best Features-Page Design by Marianne Tan; Best Headline Portfolio by Samantha Tata; Best Use of Social Media by Alonso Tacanga; and Best Online Promotion for the Sundial’s QR code.
The Sundial also received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists: placing first in editorial cartooning for work by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea; second in Best Affiliated Web Site, for the website www.dailysundial.com, and third in Breaking News Photography for “CSU board of trustees vote for tuition increase at meeting turned violent” by Andrew Lopez.