By Lolie Mahe
The Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) held its annual state convention from Thursday, March 9 to Saturday, March 11 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in San Francisco near the Embarcadero for yet another year of, “various parts of the state bring[ing] together students and faculty from member schools across the state for speakers, workshops, contests, meeting and more” as JACC shares on its website. The event is co-sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press and the California College Media Association.
Current and former staff of The Guardsman attended, enabling some to leave with awards in the on-the-spot or publication contests. JACC Awards were distributed on March 11 at the hotel and five were awarded to staff of the Guardsman.
For the mail-in contest, in which advisors would send in contents of a publication for competition prior to the date of convention, Sarah Clayson placed both first and third for the Editorial Cartoon, Tyler Lyn Sorrow placed third for the Illustration and Janna Velasquez placed fourth in a tie with Pierce College’s Nancy Corona in the Environmental Portrait.
City College’s second-year Sarah Clayson began working for the Guardsman after taking an Illustration class. In the class, Clayson met Juan Gonzales— chair of the Journalism department— where he encouraged students to support the school paper with their gifts in illustration. Clayson has then been a service for the Guardsman, and attended the conference for the first time ever this year at the invitation of Gonzales.
At the convention, competing live on-the-spot, Franchon Smith won third place in Creative Portrait, in addition to placing third with Casey Michie for the Team Feature.
Awarded for their performance, both Michie and Smith roamed the Ferry Building for the on-the-spot contest. They chatted with various merchants about their business of selling goods and how the pandemic has affected the foot traffic surrounding their establishment.
“There were speakers from very prestigious papers that gave some incredible seminars and talks,” says Michie, “It was great to network and meet people from across the country, both professionals and administrators and of course, other student journalists as well.”
Michie has been a part of City College’s Journalism program for a total of two years. His first time attending the conference was during the pandemic where the event was held remotely, and his second time this past March.
He shares, “The program at City College has been an extremely, extremely helpful program, everything is about journalism. The foundation and the skills to be able to compete in an on-the-spot contest had much to do with Juan and Alex and staff and City Colleges’ mentorship, teaching and guidance… That being said, I will say that anyone in the Journalism program who has an opportunity to go to the JACC, I couldn’t recommend it enough.”
Smith has been to the convention a number of times and has grown familiar with the nature of its existence, mentioning how the conference occurs, “…to recognize [us] students and further [us] in our path…they are a supportive organization training [us] to be better journalists.”
She knows the setting is perfect for acting the part of being a journalist. Goers have to treat an assignment (in the contest) as if it were their real work in the field of Journalism– learn how to talk to people for getting quotes, take advantage of opportunities, think outside the box, and know it is not simply about winning, but gaining experience.
With education from City College, the Academy of Arts, and SF State, Smith continues at City College today in full support of the Journalism program.
The photojournalist of the Guardsman highlights the enduring efforts of department chair, Juan Gonzales. “Journalism is a small world. You may not know everybody, but somebody always knows somebody. Juan is the OG in Journalism. He is as authentic as they come; whatever he says, DO IT! He points you in the right direction.”