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Viewpoints victorious at Journalism Association of Community Colleges conference

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A homeless man named Charlie finds shelter from the unseasonably hot midday sun in downtown Palm Springs on Nov. 5. This photo placed second in the JACC Fall 2020 Conference on-the-spot photography contest. (Joyce Nugent | Viewpoints)
Staff Report

Past and present Viewpoints emerged from the Journalism Association of Community Colleges Fall 2020 Conference victorious in several different categories — and with a representative on the association’s board.

This fall’s conference was held in a fully online format due to COVID-19. In attendance were 217 students, faculty and staff from 30 California Community Colleges. Activities and seminars encouraged students to converse and network, while providing an opportunity to learn from a number of experienced journalists.

Angel Peña, Viewpoints editor-in-chief from fall 2019 to spring 2020, won third place in the Photo Story category and first place in the Feature Photo category for his shot of the bioluminescent waves seen off the California coast in May.

He attributed his success and foundation in photography to Viewpoints and his instructors. The former editor-in-chief aims to shoot photos for the NFL one day.

“It was a great team win,” Peña said. “I couldn’t have done it without my staff. They were there on those nights when we were up until one or two in the morning trying to get it done. This is their win as much as mine.”

Daniel Hernandez, former Viewpoints staff reporter, won fourth place in Sports Feature Photo, third place in Video Journalism and first place in Environmental Portrait for his photo of Thomas A. Cruz-Soto Jr., Riverside City College Student Services dean.

“When I went to interview the dean for that photo, I just saw him, I saw how messy his room looked, I saw all of the paperwork he had everywhere,” Hernandez, who is a portrait photographer, said. “I saw how much work he put into the school and I just felt that I needed to take a photo right then and there.”

Hernandez now owns his own photography business, but called the experience of winning at JACC humbling.

“It feels really good to know that I’m being awarded for something that I’m so passionate about,” he said.

Leo Cabral, managing editor, and Jonathan Ramirez, former staff reporter, both won fourth place in Online Photo Story. Julian Navarro, assistant design editor, won third and fourth place in Student-Designed Advertisement. Jair Ramirez, former staff reporter, won second place for Sports Game Story.

Joyce Nugent, staff reporter, won second place in the on-the-spot photography contest for her portrait of a homeless man in Palm Springs. Erik Galicia, editor-in-chief, won second place in the on-the-spot news writing contest, which covered the conference’s keynote address by Steve Padilla, Column One editor for the Los Angeles Times.

Viewpoints was also awarded an Online General Excellence award for its website.

Cheetara Piry, assistant news editor, was elected JACC Southern California representative by participating students. Piry will participate in organizing the spring 2021 conference.

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