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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2003 News Archive > Journalism awards

ACU JMC Department receives awards

For immediate release
April 11, 2003

The weekend of April 4-6 was a successful one for Abilene Christian University’s JMC Department and Optimist staff. 

Competing in the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) convention in Corpus Christi and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Region 8 convention in Norman, Okla, the students won 64 awards overall, and the student newspaper, the Optimist, and its staff received 33 awards from mail-in as well as live competitions. The Optimist was also honored as the third-best non-daily newspaper by SPJ. 

The Prickly Pear, ACU’s yearbook, won 17 awards.  Both the Prickly Pear and the Optimist received honorable mentions in their Division 1 categories, naming each of them as one of the five best in the state of Texas.

“We received about a third of the awards given at the SPJ convention, and students who placed first there advance to the SPJ National Mark of Excellence Competition,” said Dr. Cheryl M. Bacon, chair and professor of the department of journalism and mass communication.  “That’s the most students we’ve ever had advance to the national competition.  That’s really quite prestigious.”

ACU students compete in TIPA’s Division 1 by choice.  The size of the ACU campus would allow its students to compete in Division 3, but they choose instead to compete with schools such as the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor and North Texas. 

“We choose to compete in Division 1 because we feel the quality of our program and the performance of our students justifies it,” Bacon said.  “Most of all, our students really like going head-to-head with the biggest programs in Texas and doing well.”

Those students qualifying for the national convention will compete Sept. 11-13 in Tampa, Fla.  

“I was just really proud of them,” Bacon said.  “We’ve got great students who are obviously doing very well, and I can’t wait to see what they do after they graduate.”


If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, university news coordinator.

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