The New Jersey Press Foundation (NJPF) awarded The Montclarion with seven first place awards followed by one second place award and two third place awards in the statewide college newspaper contest.
The best articles, photography, videos and layout designs are selected once a year from submissions by college newspapers all across New Jersey that were published between March 1, 2019 and Feb. 28, 2020.
Heather Berzak, editor-in-chief of The Montclarion, acknowledged that the newspaper beat their record of nine awards from last year.
“I am so proud of our team,” Berzak said. “We made it a goal this year to try and break the record of overall awards and first place awards last year and it is so exciting to see that goal come into fruition. Despite all of the craziness going on around us, time stopped when I received the news and it gave everyone a big reason to smile.”
The writing categories that won first place awards were given to sports and editorial writing for “#FocusImmigration Student-Athlete Profile: Lazaro Valdes,” “Administrators Get a Raise While Tuition Continued to Rise” and “#FocusImmigration: Taking the Focus Off the Immigration Stigma.”
The Arts & Entertainment/Critical Writing category won first place with “‘Late Night’ Nails the Punchline” and “Robert Eggers ‘The Lighthouse’ is a Fully Immersive Nautical Nightmare” and photography won “Trinity Corney Breaks Boundaries With Cerebral Palsy.”
“Vape Crisis Takes Darker Turn Into Black Market” also won first place for the best web project category and “Student Artist Profile: Austin Halls” won best online video. The Montclarion Website also took the first place award for best overall website and it is credited to Web Editor Adrian Maldonado and the Montclarion staff.
The second place award was given to the best online video category for “LGBTQ+ Lieutenant Giuliano Aims to Encourage Campus Community.” The two third place awards were given to best layout and design for the “#FocusImmigration Special Edition” and to photography for “New Citizens Get a Photo Finish to Their Naturalization Process.”
Mackenzie Robertson, managing editor for The Montclarion, felt that the awards were well deserved.
“This is such a big accomplishment for our paper,” Robertson said. “Ever since our big wins at NJPF last year, our team has worked even harder to keep the streak going, and we have. I am so proud of our editors, writers and reporters for the hard work they put into this publication day in and day out. It has truly paid off and I could not be more excited to celebrate the 10 overall awards and seven first place awards. Our team works so hard and really deserves this.”
The staff members who have been credited for the wins are Editor-in-Chief Heather Berzak, Managing Editor Mackenzie Robertson, Video Editor Annabel Reyes, Assistant Sports Editor Corey Annan, Assistant Video Editor Kristoffer Fernandes and former Opinion Editors Rebecca Serviss and Sunah Choudhry.
Non-editorial staff who have contributed to these awards are Charlee Reiff, Kristen Milburn and Amarisa Torres.
Tara George, head of the journalism and television and digital media department in the School of Communication and Media is also the advisor of The Montclarion. She is proud of the commitment The Montclarion staff contributes and the accomplishments of winning awards through multiple categories.
“[Winning the awards] is fantastic news and I’m so proud of The Montclarion students,” George said. “They swept the awards in multiple categories, so it means they are strong on all platforms which is the name of the game in journalism these days. Winning awards for specific stories is wonderful.”
George also shared how proud she is of the Montclarion staff during an ever-changing uncertain time.
“For me as their advisor, the real victory comes in the fact that these students independently are putting together a multi-platform news operation day in and day out and have shown their commitment to what they do by continuing to publish through the coronavirus crisis using digital tools available to them,” George said.
The Montclarion staff members were invited to attend the New Jersey Collegiate Press Spring Awards luncheon on Saturday, April 18, but it has been canceled due to the new coronavirus outbreak and awards will be mailed out individually.