Staff Reports

TJC’s student media, The DrumBeat, has proved to be among the top in the state with its recent winnings at the 2021 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association’s (TIPA) first virtual conference.
TIPA is the oldest state collegiate press association in the nation.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, members of student media continued to inform the TJC community through digital and printed coverage.
TJC students were awarded 36 honors for their digital, broadcast and print work during the spring and fall 2020 semesters.
The DrumBeat’s TV broadcast placed first and second in overall excellence in video and third in newspaper. Through the broadcast, students aspiring to work in broadcast journalism gain hands-on experience by working in the TJC Mass Communication Department’s studio.
“The recognition we have received from TIPA showcases the quality work we put out for the TJC community to see,” said Andrea Valdez, a radio/TV broadcast journalism major from Mineola who has served as The DrumBeat’s broadcast director since spring 2020. “With the help of The DrumBeat, I am able to get experience that I know I can apply for a career in news, find my strengths and weaknesses that I need to improve on and produce quality work that can be used for portfolios and news reels in jobs.”
Valdez was also named the recipient of the Mike Warms Memorial Community College Scholarship. As broadcast director, Valdez has crafted coverage on a range of topics including the 2020 presidential election, COVID-19, campus organizations and community events.
The DrumBeat was also recognized for its design expertise by placing first in overall newspaper design and third in overall web design. Winning designs included coverage of mental health issues and COVID-19. During the fall and spring semesters, online editor Mary Mone of Mineola revamped the website to make it more mobile friendly for audiences.
“I’m very honored to be awarded third place for overall web design through TIPA. Revamping the website to make a more mobile friendly version is something that I could not have done without my professors Kasi Dickerson, Adrienne Hampton and Derik Gray,” Mone said. “It meant a lot to me to be the online editor because I was taught invaluable lessons about web design, troubleshooting and teamwork.”
For their print work, staff members placed first, second and third in various categories such as in-depth reporting, page design, column writing, photography, feature writing, graphic design and more. The staff’s recognized work focused on topics such as COVID-19, student health care, cultural identity, campus programs, recycling and more.
Madison Heiser, editor-in-chief of The DrumBeat, began leading the staff virtually during the March 2020 shutdown and quarantine. Under her leadership, the staff continued to update and inform the TJC community of COVID news during uncertain times. She has served in this position since spring 2020.
“It means so much to me because it reminds me that our work means something. There are teams everywhere out there, working both in the background and the forefront, to bring issues that matter to the public eye,” Heiser said. “I think that’s especially important on college campuses when our voices can make such a difference. It’s nice to know how much our hard work pays off in the end. It’s definitely taught me a lot.”
Students also excelled in electronic reporting, placing in various categories such as in-depth video reporting, multimedia stories, audio reporting, documentary, breaking news and more.
“Every departmental decision that we make is student-focused. I think that is reflected in these awards,” said Derik Gray, mass communication program coordinator and professor. “We want to make sure our students are getting unrivaled experience that will lead to jobs. At the same time, we want to make sure they serve their fellow students with relevant and quality content.”
Student media comprises a printed newspaper, an online edition with multimedia content and a news broadcast. It is one of the oldest student organizations at TJC.