State Hornet brings home nine awards from national college media convention
March 30, 2023
Sacramento State’s student publication, The State Hornet, has been named the second-best college news website in the nation, one of nine awards earned at the recent Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Spring College Media Conference.
The wins come a few months after the Hornet received the prestigious Online Pacemaker award at the ACP’s fall convention, and less than four years after it ended its print edition to focus on digital.
"One of our biggest initiatives is to be transformative with our approach and marketing ourselves on social media and our digital footprint,” said Tony Rodriguez, the publication’s editor-in-chief.
"To win alongside some of my friends and peers and editors, it felt really good to see their work be recognized and for them to get something so cool that they can put on their resume."
In addition to second place for Best Website for a four-year college with more than 15,000 students, the Hornet received awards in the Best Podcast, Best Broadcast News Program, Best Blog, Best Social Justice Reporting, and Best Broadcast News Story categories.
The publication this year has 67 editors and staff members, many of whom plan to become professional journalists. Rodriguez said he hopes to be one of them, and characterized working for the Hornet as perfect preparation.
“The State Hornet gives me an actual opportunity to tell stories and have a platform to share them,” he said. “For any student that is looking to become a journalist or go into any communications field, it gives them the opportunity to have hands-on work, and opportunity to be creative.”
The ACP convention was March 9-11 in San Francisco. The event rotates locations throughout the country, and its proximity to Sacramento this spring allowed more Sac State students than usual to attend and learn from professional journalists and network with their peers.
“The State Hornet gives me an actual opportunity to tell stories and have a platform to share them. For any student that is looking to become a journalist or go into any communications field, it gives them the opportunity to have hands-on work, and opportunity to be creative.” -- State Hornet Editor-in-Chief Tony Rodriguez
Senior Communication Studies major Lawrence Charles, who joined the Hornet last fall to hone his skills with audio production, attended. Aiming for a career in radio – he also is station manager for student-run KSSU, where he hosts an hourlong show – Charles launched the “Collector’s Cave” podcast in October, featuring interviews with people who collect items such as dice, vinyl records, and puzzles.
His Halloween-themed episode featuring a friend who collects masks similar to the one worn by horror-movie villain Michael Myers took second place at the convention.
“That I was nationally recognized, especially that episode … it made me really happy to see that,” he said. “Seeing that my work in audio was also favored by an organization like ACP really gave me a confidence boost."
Faculty adviser Fernando Gallo said he is especially proud of the Hornet’s Social Justice Reporting award, noting that the staff has focused on the topic.
“It’s very trendy to talk about diversity and social justice in academic and journalistic spaces, but the Hornet has a proven track record of success on these topics,” he said. “We don’t just talk about these issues. We actually follow through and cover them, and will continue to do so.”
Journalism faculty, he said, are all professional journalists who strive to prepare students for the expectations of a newsroom.
“Our Journalism program really prioritizes student success and professional development,” Gallo said. “All of the skills we teach our students are applicable in the professional world.”
Rodriguez said that, in addition to a strong Journalism program and the support of advisers and professors, The State Hornet’s camaraderie as a staff is a major reason for their success.
“We come together when it’s time to break news or when we're telling a large story that needs in-depth coverage or treatment,” he said. “We have a strong team, from the managing editors to our adviser, to our staffers. Everyone is involved.”
For the full list of awards, visit The State Hornet website.
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