CHULA VISTA The Southwestern College student newspaper, The Sun, has been named America’s top community college newspaper by the National Newspaper Association (NNA). The NNA also ranked The Sun #3 in the nation among all college and university publications.
The awards from the NNA are some of the latest in an impressive array of awards and commendations The Sun has received for its coverage during the 2003-2004 academic year. Just last Friday, The Sun received several awards from the San Diego Press Club, including three first places for College Feature, College Reviews, and College Drawing, Illustration, or Cartoon.
Last November, The Sun won its first Pacemaker Awardthe Pulitzer Prize of College Mediafrom the Associated Collegiate Press. At the ACP’s awards presentation in Dallas, The Sun also earned Best of Show for community college newspapers in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Additionally, journalism students at The Sun earned the prestigious Gold Medal for Excellence in Journalism from the Columbia University Collegiate Press Association and the Multicultural Heritage Award from the San Diego Business Journal for its contributions to a free and tolerant society. Student journalists from The Sun received nearly 150 awards last academic year, including several from the Society of Professional Journalists, California Chicano News Media Association, Journalism Association of Community Colleges, and the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
The Sun’s accomplishments are even more impressive considering it is one of the lowest-funded community college newspapers in California.
“What we lack in funding, we make up for in creativity and hard work,” said Shannon Pagano, Editor-in-Chief for The Sun. “We have a very dedicated staff that loves journalism and loves The Sun. We demand excellence from ourselves.”
The Sun is published by the Newspaper Production class at Southwestern College. Staff members work 10-40 hours per week, juggling other classes, jobs, and families.
“It takes a great deal of commitment to be a member of The Sun,” said news editor Viridiana Pacheco-Isaac. “But it is fun and we’re learning a lot, not just about journalism but about leadership and how to be professionals. It’s been a great experience.”
The SWC campus newspaper was founded in 1963 under the name Southwesterner. It changed its name first to the Athapascan and then to the Sun in the early 1980s. It is published 14 times per year, budget permitting, and has a circulation of 5,000.
“We are very proud of The Sun’s accomplishments,” said Norma L. Hernandez, Superintendent/President for Southwestern College. “We congratulate its staff for their commitment and dedication to quality journalism and wish them the best of luck this academic year.”