Students win big at SPJ banquet

Students had to take turns to accept the many awards announced at the Inland Southern California Society of Professional Journalists 2007 Excellence in Journalism Awards on Saturday.

During the ceremony held at the Riverside Marriott the Campus Times, the La Verne Magazine and LVTV-3 took home a collection of awards and honors in the student categories.

“I think it speaks to the strength of our writers, editors and photographers,” Elizabeth Zwerling, Campus Times chief adviser, said.

The Campus Times took second place for Best Newspaper, while Cal Poly Pomona took first and Riverside Community College took third.

“Personally, I feel like the Campus Times should have been the best newspaper out of the pool of schools that were selected,” Campus Times editor in chief Galo Pesantes said. “I believe we cater not only to the community of students but the faculty and staff of our distinguished institution.”

“For the overall award, we were asked to give issues from specific dates and perhaps they weren’t our strongest issues of the semester but not to diminish the incredible success of many staff members, some of whom won many awards. I am very proud of them,” Zwerling said.

Marilee Lorusso, current sports editor, won first place in the Best News Story category. Second place went to journalism majors Sher Porter and Jonathan Smith.

“I was really happy for being recognized for a story that I worked really hard on and put a lot of time into,” Lorusso said.

In the Best Feature Story category, alumna Jessica Bell won first place.

Michelle Ajemian, a senior communications major, tied with a Cal Poly Pomona student for second place. Third place went to alumna Katherine Hillier.

Current Campus Times arts editor Erin Konrad tied for first place in the Best Column category with alumnus Tom Anderson.

“I was super excited because it’s a pretty prestigious organization,” Konrad, a junior journalism major, said.

Second place under the same category was also a three-way tie between ULV students Konrad, Pesantes and Madison Steff.

In the Best Editorial category, the Campus Times took first and second place, leaving third place for Riverside Community College.

Senior Matt Hill was awarded first and second place for the Best Editorial Cartoon/Illustra­tion category.

Lorusso and Pesantes took second place and third place, respectively, for Best Sports Story.

Third place for Best Page Layout went to Pesantes for his layout of the story “Raising the Bar.”

Anderson and alumna Yelena Ovcharenko took first and second place for Best Magazine Feature.”

Alumna Angie Gangi won several awards for her video segments on LVTV-3, including first place for Best Video News Segment and both second and third place for Best Video Feature Segment.

Chelsea Sherier and Veronica Andrews won first place for Best Video Feature Segment for their piece “Vertical Minds.”

Along with the awards for writing and broadcast, Susan Acker, senior journalism major, was presented with the $500 Ray Griffith Memorial Scholarship.

“It was an honor,” Acker said. “My parents were really proud.”

Andres Rivera can be reached at

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