JMC students win big at TIPA

Posted April 17, 2014

Dozens of ACU students and recent graduates from the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication (JMC) received recognition in online, radio, print, photo and video categories at the annual Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) convention in San Antonio. JMC students and graduates also took part in the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) convention in Houston.

At TIPA, students earned 18 awards in newspaper categories, nine awards in radio, seven awards in television/video categories and five awards for online submissions. KACU-FM won first place awards in sweepstakes and overall excellence to the producers of News at Noon.

In addition, students placed in six live contests at the competition. Madeline Orr, 2014-15 Optimist editor, was elected parliamentarian of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

At the Society of Professional Journalists convention, four students earned recognition for their work on student media, including first place honors to graduate Taylor Langston (’13) in Breaking News Reporting. Langston now goes on to compete against other regional winners in the national SPJ competition. Langston is a reporter at KCBD News Channel 11 in Lubbock.

The JMC Department has been competing at the Division 1 level of TIPA for almost 30 years. The field of competition includes ACU, Baylor University, Texas Tech University, Texas State University, the University of Houston, Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Arlington.

The Society of Professional Journalists Region 8 Large Schools (enrollments over 10,000) includes the schools listed above and several other large Texas universities, as well as the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

Texas Intercollegiate Press Association 2014 ACU awards:


  • Gabi Powell – 1st Place, Feature Story, “Second Chance Student” 
  • Gabi Powell and Mandy Lambright – 1st Place, Picture Story, “Pledge” 
  • Gabi Powell – 1st Place, Feature Page Design, “What’s in a name?” 
  • Gabi Powell – 2nd Place, Single Subject Presentation Design , “Les Miserables” 
  • Mark Smith – 2nd Place, News Feature Story , “Fatal accidents" 
  • Mandy Lambright – 3rd Place, News Photo, “Wreck 2" 
  • Paige Otway – 3rd Place, Feature Photo, “Pool" 
  • Mandy Lambright – 3rd Place, Sports Feature Photo, “Volleyball” 
  • Melany Cox – 3rd Place, Opinion/Editorial Page Design, “Pledging activities” 
  • Mark Smith – Honorable Mention, News Feature Story, “Out of the Box” 
  • Gabi Powell – Honorable Mention, Headline, “Kiss or Diss” 
  • Marissa Jones – Honorable Mention, Headline, “Something phishy” 
  • Marissa Jones – Honorable Mention, Page One Design, “Those who served” 
  • Mandy Lambright – Honorable Mention, Sports Action Photo, “Basketball” 
  • Mandy Lambright – Honorable Mention, Sports Action Photo, “Football” 
  • Ben Todd – Honorable Mention, Illustration, “To Hire?” 
  • Mandy Lambright – Honorable Mention, Photo Illustration, “Blessed” 
  • The Optimist – Honorable Mention, Overall Excellence


  • KACU – 1st Place, Sweepstakes 
  • Lydia Miranda, Brady Cox and Caleb Robinson – 1st Place, Overall Excellence, “News at Noon” 
  • Kaitlin Sacco – 1st Place, Spot News, “Suicide” 
  • Daniel Zepeda – 1st Place, Sportscast, “Chargers” 
  • Breylin Becton – 1st Place, Single Public Affairs Program, “Animal Abuse” 
  • Breylin Becton – 1st Place, Feature Story, “Martin Tribute” 
  • Breylin Becton – 2nd Place, Feature Story, “Dream Center” 
  • Lydia Miranda – 2nd Place, Spot Commercial, Public Service Announcement, “Abilene Public Radio” 
  • Breylin Becton – 3rd Place, Single Public Affairs Program, “Veteran’s docket"


  • Taylor Langston – 1st Place (tie with TCU), News Non-Feature Story, “Student killed” 
  • ACU-TV – Honorable Mention, Public Affairs Reporting, “McCaleb & Co." (June) 
  • Matt Sloan, Kara Stutesman, Rachel Smith, Kyle Knapp – Honorable Mention, Production, “The Ken Collums Show” 
  • Will Rogers III – 1st Place (Tie with UNT), Commercial, Public Service Announcement, “Game Day” 
  • Lucius Patenaude – Honorable Mention, Commercial, Public Service Announcement, “Frontier Texas” 
  • Matt Sloan, Shera Niemiroski, JP Festa – Honorable Mention, Sportscast, “JMC Network Sportscast 11-22” 
  • Elizabeth Weiss, Kara Stutesman, JP Festa – Honorable Mention, Best Overall Newscast, (JMC Network Newscast, Feb. 1, 2013”

Online (Division 2)

  • JMC Network staff – 1st Place, Best Web Site Navigation 
  • Mark Smith, Mandy Lambright, Taylor Langston, David Singer, 
  • Madeline Orr – 1st Place (tie), Best Breaking News Package, “Car crash” 
  • JP Festa – 1st Place, Best Video Package, “Freshmen” 
  • Taylor Langston – 2nd Place, Best Breaking News Video, “Car crash” 
  • JMC Network staff – 2nd Place, Best Blog, “Panoramics”

Live Contests

  • Gabi Powell – 3rd Place, Feature Writing 
  • Brittany Jackson – 3rd Place, Spanish News Writing 
  • Matt Sloan – 3rd Place, Print Advertising 
  • Austin Kilcullen – Honorable Mention, News Photo 
  • Shera Niemirowski – Honorable Mention, TV Announcing 
  • Shera Niemirowski – Honorable Mention, TV Advertising

Society of Professional Journalists, Region 8, 2014 ACU awards:

  • Taylor Langston – Winner, Breaking News Reporting (Large), “ACU student killed in accident” 
  • Gabi Powell – Finalist, Feature Writing (Small), “Second Chance Student” 
  • Julie Coppedge – Finalist, Feature Writing (Small), “Tappin’ Jack” 
  • Rachel Fritz – Finalist, General News Reporting (Small), “ACU drops spring break campaigns”

Learn more about the ACU Department of Journalism & Mass Communication

Read the ACU Optimist here








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