TJC’s DrumBeat Student Media team from the spring 2021 semester has received multiple awards from the Texas Community College Journalism Association, a competition and conference involving two-year colleges statewide.

These awards include: Mary Mone, Michael Bald, Marie Salazar, Sorayda Rivera and Alanah

Woodward for 2nd place in-depth reporting for their COVID coverage; Cassidy Winborn for 2nd and 3rd place for sports photography ; Chris Swann for 3rd place for feature photography; Mary Mone and Chris Swann for 2nd place for photo slideshow; Chris Crymes for 1st place and honorable mention for critical review; Ashley Wilkinson for 3rd place for editorial writing; and Michael Bald and Sorayda Rivera for 3rd place for feature writing and 3rd place for advertising.

students at a graduation in black gowns
Staff members from the fall 2020 and spring 2021 DrumBeat Student Media team won several awards at the Texas Community College Journalism Conference. Courtesy Photo.

Former Editor-in-Chief Madison Heiser expressed her feelings toward the staff’s success.

“I always felt incredibly proud of how The DrumBeat staff performed, but seeing us recognized for the time and effort we gave was definitely the pinnacle,” Heiser said. “It was really gratifying to see my peers and friends win those awards.”

For student’s to receive these awards, the student media advisers chose from the staff’s content to submit for each category in hopes to be awarded.

“Each school can submit up to two entries per category. We select content based on the category guidelines and the quality of the work,” said Kasi Dickerson, adviser and professor. “We are so proud of the students and all their hard work.”

Spring 2021 online and copy editor Mary Mone was a three-time award winner for in-depth reporting, photo slideshow and editorial writing. Mone discussed what tools she believes contributed to her success.

“The key aspect that helped strengthen my work to place was without a doubt thorough research and good advisement,” Mone said. “My advisers were always encouraging me to go the extra mile and research things that weren’t necessarily convenient, which meant I was being pushed to listen and learn more.”

One factor that had an impact on publications was COVID-19. With this global pandemic producing mass uncertainty, it was The DrumBeat’s job to provide news and information regarding this phenomenon in numerous articles for TJC.

Heiser’s leadership played a major role in guiding the staff in both individual and group production,  implementing the values of teamwork.

“I have a hard time taking credit for much simply because it was always an amazing team effort to pull each issue together,” Heiser. “The staff always made me feel capable as a writer and a leader, and I like to hope I did the same for them. Sometimes it takes the right motivation to really tap into someone’s potential, so I tried to make sure the staff were always aware of the emotional value of our work.”

Some previous DrumBeat staff are continuing their journey with journalism beyond the walls of TJC.

“I currently work for The Pinelog at Stephen F. Austin State University as a photographer and graphic designer,” Mone said. “I chose to do this because I wanted to round my portfolio and get experience in the different aspects of the newspaper.”

Student media is an outlet that provides news and information from a student’s perspective.

The DrumBeat focuses on the three media mediums which include print, broadcast and photography, all of which are utilized to supply the different angles of journalism to the campus.