MontclairSCM Wins Award For #FocusImmigration Collaboration

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Published January 29, 2020
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The Montclarion
The SCM students and faculty participate in the #FocusImmigration project. Photo Courtesy of Steve McCarthy

This past October, The Montclarion editorial board made their way to Washington, D.C. to participate at the National College Media Convention, not knowing that the school’s #FocusImmigration project had been turning heads.

The convention, put on by the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP), brought together students from all across the country for four days of workshops, keynote speakers and discussion groups.

The ACP is a division of the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA). The NSPA is a nonprofit organization that provides journalism education services to students, teachers and media advisors across the country.

Montclair State University went on to win the second place Multimedia Story of the Year Award for their #FocusImmigration series.

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Editor-in-Chief Heather Berzak (left) and Managing Editor Mackenzie Robertson (right) holding the plaque given by the ACP for the award.
Olivia Kearns | The Montclarion

The #FocusImmigration project was a series of articles, radio broadcasts, video projects and a live show focusing on issues surrounding immigration, as well as the stories of student immigrants. The project was a collaboration between the School of Communication and Media with The Montclarion, WMSC, Montclair News Lab, Carpe Diem and student work from journalism and TV production classes.

Tara George, an associate professor of journalism and the faculty advisor of The Montclarion, discussed what the goal of the project was.

“All that work was part of an experimental project,” George said. “The idea we were experimenting with was: Could we collectively work together [and] use that quantity of work to have an impact? What if we tried to publish all of that work the same day to create that impact?”

The goal of #FocusImmigration was to show the immigration stories of the student body and to show how this important topic is so prevalent in New Jersey and on campus in a big way.

#FocusImmigration not only focused on student immigrants, the children of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants, but the cultures brought to the United States and how they’ve kept them alive while being surrounded by so many other cultures and outside influences.

Mackenzie Robertson, a senior television and digital media major and the managing editor of The Montclarion, expressed her excitement for winning this award and being a part of the multimedia project.

“Winning the award was a huge accomplishment for me and everyone on our staff,” Robertson said. “This was the School of Communication’s first time trying out a schoolwide focus project and it was a huge success. It was inspiring to read everyone’s personal experiences and history surrounding immigration and to participate in creating a student artist video for it.”

To see work from #focusimmigration go to focusimmigration.org

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