The Independent Captures First in State
Student journalists take 23 awards, including General Excellence and Publication Sweeps
Clark College’s student news staff of The Independent finished first in Washington this year, capturing 23 awards, including General Excellence and Publication Sweeps titles, at the annual Washington Community College Journalism Association luncheon at Pierce College in Lakewood in May.
The Independent staff members collected eight, first-place; six, second-place; four, third-place and two honorable mention awards, finishing ahead of eight other community colleges.
“I’m proud of my staff and excited for them,” said Kyle Yasumiishi, editor-in-chief. “We worked hard this year and I’m honored by this great recognition.”
The General Excellence award recognizes the best in editorial leadership; in writing, editing and photography; and in content relative to a community college readership, said WCCJA Judge Cynthia Mitchell, who is also a journalism professor at Central Washington University.
The Independent photo editor Aleksi Lepisto took six individuals awards—two, first-place; two, second-place; one, third-place; and one honorable mention. He also finished second in the Individual Sweeps category. Lepisto earned the top awards for his photographs of a Clark College English instructor who plays women’s roller derby and for his portrait of twins who played on Clark’s baseball team.
Presenting at the luncheon were Pacific Lutheran University journalism professor, Doreen Marchionni, whose address was titled “News, Audiences and You: Making Journalism Exceptional in an Age of Uncertainty” and Yasumiishi, who spoke about the “Voices of Clark College” partnership with The Columbian.
Under the partnership, which began in September 2012, The Columbian and The Independent publish a student-produced news story on the same day in both papers’ print and online editions.
Mitchell said the journalism produced by Clark and the other schools this year was of particularly high quality.
“Across the board it was very impressive,” she said. “As a journalist and a journalism professor, it gives me a lot of hope to see this quality of work. The future of journalism is in good hands.”
Other individual award winners included Allison Erskine, Jeff Knapp, Daniel Hampton, Debbie Peters, Jayme Motanic, Dan Ellertson, Leiulf Clausen, Kelli Borchers, Bradley York, Margherita Nicotra, Bradley York and Evan Blatnik. The Independent also won two staff awards for headline writing and staff editorial.
The Independent is published in print and online every other week and is distributed to Clark College’s approximately 16,000 students, plus faculty and staff. All content is student-produced and determined.
The adviser is Dee Anne Finken, a Clark journalism instructor. The writing coach is Jim Camin, a former editor from The Oregonian.