As previous co-chair in chief and design editor for the student magazine, El Espejo Magazine, Solomon Wilson ’21 is honored the publication was recognized by the most prestigious and competitive collegiate journalism association in Texas, the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA). In fact, the magazine, only in its fourth year, earned First Place for General Excellence in the State of Texas, finishing ahead of student magazines for Southern Methodist and Lamar universities (second and third respectively).
“I am so proud of this award and it truly leaves a legacy from times that may have been seen as trying or challenging that ended up being rewarding and memorable,” said Wilson, who serves as the inaugural Marjorie Welch Fitts Louis Fellow for KERA News. “We produced it remotely and it had encapsulated a lot of experiences we as a staff were all going through.”
“We wanted to be true to our title being named a ‘reflection’ of the student body we served and the city we live in. As co-editor in chief and design editor, I was super excited to curate this issue and bring in our readers to real perspectives of students and people that were all going through similar situations as us,” he continued.
In addition, Texas A&M University-San Antonio Jaguar Student Media earned a total of 40 awards granted by TIPA. Student media organizations from institutions across Texas competed in three media outlet categories – Student Magazine, Online Student News, and Broadcast Outlet – along with Live contests at the annual competition in Fort Worth, March 24-26, 2022.
The magazine’s staff also received seven awards in the category of Previously Published (work submitted and published in the print publication during 2021). El Espejo’s student team and faculty adviser tackled issues of social justice and political awareness, using available funding resources, including external grants, to reach their audience.
“Winning this and other awards says a lot about the caliber of our students and the diversity of skills taught by our faculty,” said El Espejo Faculty Advisor Donna Pazdera. “We are part of a small, yet growing program where students get so many opportunities to work for one of our three media outlets. As a faculty member and adviser, watching my students win awards is very rewarding.”
The student news site, The Mesquite, garnered 23 awards, including nine first place awards. The Mesquite, which was launched in 2010, is one of the state’s first collegiate online-only news sites with student media teams reporting on campus and community issues.
Members of the campus’ broadcast outlet, Enlace, also competed in the on-site live contests, securing a First-Place award in Spanish Radio Announcing, and Second Place in Live Video News. For the broadcast outlet, students report and produce independently of any editorial guidance, selecting and reporting on topics that impact the Texas A&M-San Antonio student body and surrounding community. Enlace students also receive professional coaching and mentorship in news production from Univision-41, as part of an educational collaboration between KWEX and Texas A&M-San Antonio. Student media also earned seven additional awards in live contests.
“The awards are recognition that our students are receiving top-notch instruction, support, and mentorship from highly skilled clinical faculty,” said Jenny Moore, Clinical Professor of Communication and Director of Jaguar Student Media. “Our instructors are very talented at preparing students for competition, and later for jobs. The prestigious awards also signify that our students are ready to compete for jobs against any other recent graduate in the State of Texas. The awards are icing on the cake, but honestly, our students are most excited about the impact their reports have on the campus community.”