The New Jersey Press Foundation (NJPF) awarded The Montclarion with two first-place awards followed by two second-place awards and five third-place awards in the statewide College Newspaper Contest.
College newspapers around New Jersey select their best articles, photographs and videos each year to submit to the contest. Anything published between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, was eligible for nomination, and the winners were announced on March 17.
Thomas Neira, editor-in-chief of The Montclarion, won a third-place award for the arts and entertainment/critical writing category. He acknowledges the commitment of The Montclarion staff through a difficult time period.
“I’m really proud of all the work our team has done,” Neira said. “It’s been a difficult year but the editors and staff we have on our team has really helped us overcome all the challenges posed to us. Winning these awards reflects that, and I really couldn’t ask for a better team than this one.”
Jen Losos, former editor-in-chief of The Montclarion, won a third-place award for her coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage and is proud of the staff’s hard work.
“The Montclarion staff and all of its contributors are truly the most resilient and hard-working group on campus,” Losos said. “Despite the pandemic, they have persevered and have come out on top. The whole staff of The Montclarion should be proud of their strength while working through this pandemic. It hasn’t been easy, and their hard work during this crazy year is being recognized.”
Photo courtesy of Jen Losos
The writing categories that won first-place awards were given to sports and the arts & entertainment/critical writing categories for “Montclair State’s Anniversary Football Season Does Not Come To Be,” and “The Simplicity of ‘If Anything Happens I Love You’ Delivers a Complex Message,” respectively.
Megan Lim is the assistant entertainment editor of The Montclarion and won the first-place award for the arts and entertainment/critical writing category.
“I feel like when it’s your voice you’re putting out there, it’s so much easier to doubt yourself and your writing,” Lim said. “But this win is such a confidence boost and I take it as a blessing and a sign that I succeed in doing what I love.”
Kalya Francione is a staff writer at The Montclarion and won the first-place award for the sports writing category.
“This was the first piece I ever got to write for The Montclarion so I am honored to have it be recognized for this award,” Francione said.
The second-place awards were given to one sports article in the biography/personality profile category and one photo essay in the photography category, for “Two-Sport Athlete Cameryn Martin Motivated to Honor his Mother’s Legacy” and “#FOCUSDEMOCRACY: Photo Essay: Montclair Community Rejoices in the Streets for President-Elect Biden.”
Corey Annan is the sports editor of The Montclarion and won second place for the biography/personality profile category.
“It’s truly an honor to win another state media award,” Annan said. “Ever since my freshman year, it’s been a goal of mine to win an NJPF, but being able to win the award two years in a row is a blessing. This award wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the editorial team and my fellow staff writers.”
John LaRosa, a staff writer/photographer at The Montclarion, won a second-place award for his #FOCUSDEMOCRACY photo essay.
“Thanks to everyone for the opportunities given to me,” LaRosa said.
Third-place awards were given in the online video category for “Student Reactions to COVID-19 Pandemic.” “Top Moments of the Men’s Basketball Season” won third place in the photography category. Third-place awards were also won in coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage category and in editorial writing for “Editorial: Every Crisis Has a Turning Point to Recovery, Let’s Make Sure It’s Now.” “‘The Little Things’ Misses the Mark Big Time” also won third place in arts and entertainment/critical writing.
Mackenzie Robertson, former managing editor of The Montclarion, won a third-place award for her coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage. She is immensely proud of the team for being able to switch so quickly to an online-only publication and reporting completely remotely.
“It was a big challenge, but seeing how hard the editorial staff worked throughout the first semester of COVID-19 proved they were a force to be reckoned with, so I am not surprised they went on to win nine awards this year,” Robertson said. “It is humbling and heartwarming to know even after graduating, last year’s hard work on COVID-19 related articles and photo essays is being recognized by NJPF.”
Jenna Sundel, assistant news editor of The Montclarion, also won the third-place award for her coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage.
“I was so honored to receive this award for my coverage of COVID-19,” Sundel said. “The pandemic has impacted everyone’s life this past year, so it was encouraging to know that we are doing a great job covering this topic.”
Casey Masteron is the feature editor of The Montclarion and also won a third-place award for her coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect to win,” Masterson said. “We had so many wonderful articles that were submitted this year, but I was honored to be considered a part of this.”
Brielle Wyka, video editor of The Montclarion, won a third-place award for her video coverage.
“You know I’ve always dreamt of winning an award for my work but I thought it would come much later in my career,” Wyka said. “I’m so grateful that this is something I can celebrate and that I have something to show for what I contribute to this amazing news organization.”
Annabel Reyes, former video editor of The Montclarion, won a third-place award along with Wyka on their video coverage.
“We published this piece at the start of the pandemic when students were struggling to adjust to the new changes so I am very proud of everyone at The Montclarion for coming together and giving the students a platform to express their concerns during this difficult time,” Reyes said.
Chris Krusberg is a staff writer/photographer for The Montclarion and won a third-place award for the photography category.
“I am very humbled to be recognized by the NJPF for the top moment of the men’s basketball season,” Krusberg said. “Covering sports has always been a passion of mine and to be noticed for my sports work is incredibly gratifying. I’d like to thank Ben Caplan and the rest of The Montclairion team for having the trust in me to cover a variety of different sports as it is always a pleasure.”
Samantha Impaglia is the managing editor of The Montclarion and is proud of the team’s consistent hard work through a pandemic.
“Seeing how this team accomplished so much, especially in a pandemic is the best feeling,” Impaglia said. “I’m so proud of everyone for their consistent hard work, especially seeing my former sports team writers take home multiple awards, it’s paid off.”
Tara George, head of the journalism and television and digital media department in the School of Communication and Media, is also the faculty advisor to The Montclarion. She is proud of the commitment The Montclarion staff contributed throughout coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It’s always really exciting to win awards at NJPF, it really makes me feel proud,” George said. “They’ve really worked hard without stopping through a pandemic, kept each other going and continued coming through with really important stories of what’s been happening at Montclair State through this really interesting period. If I could give an award for running a great organization, I think they would get first prize for that.”
The NJPF award winners were invited to participate in the on-site awards presentation which would have been held in April, but was canceled due to the ongoing pandemic. The winners will expect their award certificates and plaques in the mail.