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OC newspaper is ‘generally excellent’

Olympic College student journalists (from left) Jon Miller, Alex Vincent, Sophie Siemion, Chris Carter and Kathy Bray at the Washington Community College Journalism Association’s 2009 Awards Luncheon. - Michael Prince courtesy photo
Olympic College student journalists (from left) Jon Miller, Alex Vincent, Sophie Siemion, Chris Carter and Kathy Bray at the Washington Community College Journalism Association’s 2009 Awards Luncheon.
— image credit: Michael Prince courtesy photo

Olympic College’s student journalists have taken their newspaper, The Olympian, into the state spotlight with a first-place win in the Washington Community College Journalism Association (WCCJA) contest.

The student newspaper took top honors in the General Excellence category. The contest was judged by a committee of professional journalists who evaluated student newspapers from 15 schools throughout the state. The winning schools attended an awards luncheon at Shoreline Community College May 16 where they received their prizes.

Chris Carter, current managing editor and editor-in-chief for the three editions submitted in the General Excellence competition, accepted the award on behalf of the newspaper staff.

“We had high hopes,” Carter said. “But I didn’t expect to win that. It made the whole year come back into perspective and made this all worth it again. This reaffirms that we are doing a good job.”

In addition to the General Excellence award, three OC student journalists also won individual honors in the WCCJA competition that included 402 entries in 22 categories.

Alex Vincent, current editor-in-chief of The Olympian, won second place in General News Reporting as a staff writer; Sophie Siemion, former photo editor/managing editor, won second place in Feature Photo; and Jon Miller, communications/marketing director, won second place in Stand-Alone Photo.

“It is hard to feel validated for what you do,” Vincent said. “We are in here sacrificing our time, sometimes until 11 p.m. on Saturdays, so when we found out, we were definitely excited. We were screaming it out the door.”

Miller said the award he received for his photo was simply a matter of diligence.

“It was a moment that I think most newspaper people drop the ball on a lot,” he said. “It was one of those moments where most people would say ‘Yeah, that would be a nice picture. I should go get the camera, but it’s late so I’m going to go home instead.’ I just knew we needed that picture at the time, so I went back and got the camera.”

The Olympian also took third place in Publication Sweeps, which is determined by the total number of awards taken by each publication.

“We’ve come a long way,” Carter said. “We’re proud of where we are now and the next step is to take it national.”

Michael Prince, OC journalism professor and The Olympian adviser, is excited for the team.

“I am very proud of them,” Prince said. “They are so dedicated to what they do, serving the community and conducting themselves in a professional way. It is great to see the progress they have made in just the three years I have been here.”

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