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TJC DrumBeat student media wins top honors at Texas Intercollegiate Press Association

TJC’s student media, The DrumBeat, has proved to be among the top in the state with its recent winnings at the 2020 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s (TIPA) awards presentation.

TIPA is the oldest state collegiate press association in the nation.

TJC students were awarded more than 40 honors for their digital and print work during the spring and fall 2019 semesters. 

The DrumBeat’s TV broadcast and website,, placed third in overall excellence while its radio program placed second in its division. Through the broadcast, students aspiring to work in TV journalism gain hands-on experience by working in the TJC Mass Communication Department’s newly renovated studio. 

Students also excelled in electronic reporting, sweeping various categories such as in-depth multimedia reporting and audio program production with first-, second- and third-place wins. Several students were recognized for their audio and video productions, including podcasts, visual storytelling and photography.

“Our department and student media really exemplify the ideas of a convergent newsroom, where students learn to report using the same tools as media professionals,” said Derik Gray, mass communication program coordinator and professor. 

Their award-winning coverage featured a documentary focused on early college high school students at TJC, entertaining podcasts about pop culture, video stories about TJC athletes and campus organizations, and more.

Rachel Jennische, mass communication professor and student media co-advisor, explained creating the documentary was a first for students and bringing home an award means “students are headed in the right direction.” 

“The DrumBeat staff works so hard all year, so these awards are validation of their hard work,” Jennische said. “They put out a professional product and can use what they create for The DrumBeat as a way to get jobs and scholarships.”

For their printed work, students placed in several categories including breaking news, critical reviews, editorial writing, page design, photo illustration, graphics and more. 

Students were recognized for their coverage of important campus issues such as mental health and climate change as well as articles showcasing the many campus and community events. 

“The DrumBeat really is the voice of the TJC student body, and staff members take this responsibility seriously. They work so hard to bring the campus important and entertaining stories while perfecting their journalism skills,” said Kasi Dickerson, mass communication professor and student media co-advisor. “I’m so proud of the students for their work and dedication to this organization.”

Student media comprises a printed newspaper, an online edition with multimedia content and a news broadcast. It is one of the oldest student organizations at TJC. 

Students, listed by hometown, include: 

Big Sandy: Michael Bald
Bullard: Isaac Belota, Serin Showers
Canton: Trey Martin
Cedar Hill: Sydni Cunningham
Center: Celeste Gibson
Flint: Andrew Lent
Fort Worth: Jaylynn Gray
Grand Prairie: Viviana Faz
Longview: Austin Newell
Mesquite: Jordan-Marie Guillory
Mineola: Leyton Williams
Sulphur Springs: Ashlen Court
Teneha: Shannon James
Trinidad: Chris Daniel
Tyler: Stephen Anderson Kathryn Bogle, Rebekah Flanders, Sonya Johnson, Cecilia Kohl, McKenna Mirsky, Gerardo Morales, Michael Murphy, Robert Naylor, Emily Niebuhr, Adam Palacios, Lucas Shepherd, Zhaekyra White
Van: Brandon Whatley

Previously submitted entries (Division 4):

Overall Excellence
Second place, radio program - Gerardo Morales and Michael Murphy 

Third place, TV program - Gerardo Morales, The Drumbeat Staff
Third place, Website - The DrumBeat Staff

Narrative Reporting
Second place, headline writing - Robert Naylor and Celeste Gibson
Second place, sports game story - Sydni Cunningham 

Third place, critical review - Michael Bald 

Honorable mention, editorial - Robert Naylor and Cecilia Kohl
Honorable mention, feature story - McKenna Mirsky 
Honorable mention, breaking news - Robert Naylor

Drumbeat broadcast

TJC DrumBeat anchors, from left, Andrea Valdez, Tradavion Spencer and Yasmeli Alonso, work to bring news to the campus community in their bi-weekly broadcasts. The DrumBeat’s TV program was awarded third place for overall excellence at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. 

Electronic Reporting
First place, sportscast video - Shannon James
First place, in-depth multimedia story - Kathryn Bogle

Second place, documentary - Adam Palacios, Gerardo Morales, DrumBeat Staff
Second place, sportscast video - Robert Naylor
Second place, feature news reporting (video) - Gerardo Morales
Second place, feature news reporting (audio) - Gerardo Morales
Second place, in-depth multimedia story - Zhaekyra White

Third place, feature news reporting (audio) - Chris Daniel
Third place, general news audio story - Trey Martin
Third place, general news multimedia story  - Gerardo Morales
Third place, in-depth multimedia story - Adam Palacios
Third place, sportscast audio - Zhaekyra White

Honorable mention, general news video story - Gerardo Morales
Honorable mention, multimedia slideshow - Serin Showers
Honorable mention, feature news reporting (audio) - Austin Newell
Honorable mention, feature news reporting (video) - Serin Showers

Visual Reporting
First place, illustration - Cecilia Kohl

Second place, illustration - Ashlen Court

Third place, general news photo - Viviana Faz

Honorable mention, photo illustration - Jaylynn Gray
Honorable mention, photo story - Celeste Gibson 
Honorable mention, breaking news photo - Robert Naylor
Honorable mention, editorial cartoon - Leyton Williams
Honorable mention, environmental portrait, vaping - Cecilia Kohl

First place, advertising/PSA/promo (video) - Isaac Belota, Sonya Johnson, Viviana Faz, Jordan-Marie Guillory
First place, op/editorial page/spread design (newspaper) - Cecilia Kohl and Robert Naylor
First place, program production (audio) - Jordan-Marie Guillory
First place, program production (video)  - Adam Palacios, Gerardo Morales, DrumBeat Staff
First place, sports page/spread design (newspaper)  - Zhaekyra White

Second place, cover design (newspaper)- Cecilia Kohl, Robert Naylor, Kathryn Bogle
Second place, program production (audio) - Austin Newell and Chris Daniel
Second place, sports page/spread design (newspaper) - Zhaekyra White
Second place, program production (video) - Rebecca Flanders

Third place, program production (audio) - Brandon Whatley and Stephen Anderson
Third place, use of data - Robert Naylor

Honorable mention, sports page/spread design (newspaper) - Zhaekyra White
Honorable mention, advertising, PSA/promo (audio) - Austin Newell
Honorable mention, program production (video) - Andrew Lent, Lucas Shepherd 
Honorable mention, use of data - Robert Naylor

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