Journalism students sweep awards banquet

Chris James/Pioneer
Casey Akard, pioneer videographer works on a video project about the OCCC automotive department on April 3. Akard’s work earned first, second and third place in the multimedia division at this year’s Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association awards ceremony.

Collegiate representatives from all over Oklahoma descended upon Stillwater on Friday, March 30, for the Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association’s annual conference and awards banquet.

Events for the conference consisted of two sessions of morning workshops, a group lecture, and an awards luncheon.

Students from OCCC took home 30 awards in 16 different categories, with Videographer Casey R. Akard sweeping every award in the multimedia category for two-year schools.

“I feel humbled,” Akard said.

“Sometimes you get to doing something, and you wonder if it makes a difference and then something like this gives you validation.”

Awards won by category

Editorial Writing

First: Sean Tolbert

Second: Jeremy Cloud

Third: Whitney Knight


Feature Writing

First: Joey Stipek

Second: Sarah Hussain

Third: Morgan Beard


General News Writing

First: Joey Stipek

Second: Jeremy Cloud

Honorable Mention: Whitney Knight


Multimedia Story

First: Casey R. Akard

Second: Casey R. Akard

Third: Casey R. Akard


Sports Reporting

First: Sean Tolbert

Third: Jacob Chambers


Feature Photography

First: Rachel Morrison

Third: Yasmin Shirali


Individual Investigative Reporting

First: Emily Schorr


Team Investigative Reporting

First: Joey Stipek and Whitney Knight



Third: Robert Bolton

Honorable Mention: Casey R. Akard


News Photography

First: Rachel Morrison

Second: Rachel Morrison

Third: Robert Bolton


Photography Portfolio

Honorable Mention:

Rachel Morrison


Journalist of the Year (two-year schools)

Joey Stipek


Pioneer Awards:

Online Newspaper

Second place


Front Page Design

First place


Overall Newspaper

First place

Pioneer Editor Jeremy Cloud placed second in two categories. Cloud said he is happy with the results as well.

“I do believe this is the best two-year publication,” Cloud said.

“I enjoyed having everyone I worked with last year recognized.”

Online Editor Whitney Knight and Special Projects Writer Joey Stipek received a perfect score on their investigative story about Carson’s Catering which earned them first place in the team investigation category.

Stipek, who also was the recipient of the Journalist of the Year award, thanked journalism professors, Pioneer staff members and friends of the paper individually and by name.

“I’ll tell you, it’s always humbling,” Stipek said. “It’s great working with your friends, and collaborators.”

Journalism Professor and Pioneer Faculty Adviser Sue Hinton said she feels the students who won awards were outstanding.

“Week in and week-out we put in the work and don’t think about winning awards, so it is nice to go through a year’s work like this,” Hinton said.

Two sessions of morning workshops each presented three options for attendees to sit in on.

The first session offered a lecture about internships, a presentation about investigations done statewide by KWTV and KOTV, and a discussion about writing, editing and running a magazine.

The second session had a discussion about open records, a talk about the future of radio news and a presentation about sports reporting.

There also was an adviser discussion during the second session.

Following the morning sessions attendees were invited to a lecture by William D. Snyder, four-time Pulitzer Prize winner for photojournalism.

Snyder’s presentation included pictures from his entire career, including the fall of the Soviet Union, the AIDS epidemic in Uganda, orphanages in Romania and his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

The number of awards received by the Pioneer staff this year is an increase from the prior year of 21.

For more information about the Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association or to see a list of colleges attended, visit

To contact Mike Wormley, email

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