The Collegian’s 2022 staff wins four statewide collegiate journalism awards

The editorial board and some reporters of the spring 2022 staff pose after their last production night of the semester. (The Collegian Archives)

The editorial board and some reporters of the spring 2022 staff pose after their last production night of the semester. (The Collegian Archives)

By Collegian Staff

The Collegian won four statewide college journalism awards in an annual contest sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

Winners in the California Journalism Awards Campus Contest were announced by the CNPA on Monday, May 8, in a series of tweets. In overall honors, The Collegian won a second-place award among 4-year universities for online general excellence. Stanford University placed first in the category, and the University of Santa Clara placed third.

The first-place award for writing in the 4-year-university category went to Jannah Geraldo, The Collegian’s editor-in-chief in 2022. The Fresno State alumna won for a Nov. 29 story headlined “Fresno State students will be paying off the RSU for next 30 years.”

Second place in the category went to Stanford University, and San Jose State University placed third.

The Collegian also received two third-place CNPA awards. Viviana Hinojos won third place for best profile story for a piece about artist Veronica Garcia headlined “Fresno State art student turns pain into art.”

And Blake Wolf received a third-place award for best podcast for a November 2022 episode of The WolfPack titled “A conversation with Morice Norris.” 

Donald Munro, faculty adviser for The Collegian, noted the stiff competition in the statewide contest and the drive and determination of his students.

“There is a long tradition of journalistic excellence at Fresno State,” he said.

Winning the second-place award for online general excellence is particularly exciting, he said, as The Collegian says goodbye to its regular weekly print editions to focus on online-only publication in the fall semester.

A CNPA judge wrote: “Really nice overall look to the news site. It looks modern, professional and well organized. Nice mix of stories.”

In critiquing Geraldo’s story, a judge wrote: “Clear, concise writing that explains a complex, number-heavy topic of deep student concern.” 

Geraldo’s story noted that when students voted for a fee increase in 2018 to build the Resnick Student Union, the ballot language emphasized that the fee increase would not be implemented until the building opened in four to five years. No mention was made, however, that the fee would continue even after 30 years when the building was paid off. Ashley Flowers, The Collegian’s managing editor at the time of the story’s publication, praised Geraldo for her achievement. 

The story used a Public Records Act request, extensive interviews with campus administrators and consultation with accounting experts. Geraldo wrote that the maximum annual debt service fee for the RSU was initially estimated at approximately $3.7 million in September 2019, but because the California State University system obtained a lower interest rate, the fee is now approximately $2.6 million. Despite the annual payment dropping by over $1 million, the $149 fee that students pay per semester did not change.