Journalism Students Rake in 31 College Media Awards

Journalism students at a college media conference
Humboldt journalism students won awards at the 2023 Associated Collegiate Press Spring National College Media Conference in San Francisco in March.
El Leñador, Cal Poly Humboldt’s monthly bilingual student publication, won a First Place Best of Show award at the 2023 Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Spring National College Media Conference in San Francisco in March.

The paper also took third place in the ACP People’s Choice category and staffers went on to win awards in 16 more categories judged by the California College Media Association. Five of those were first place honors given for photographs, newspaper design, illustration and editorial cartoons.

Karina Ramos Villalobos, co-editor-in-chief of El Leñador for the 2021-2022 academic year, won 10 awards (combined individual and team awards) this year – one more than the nine she carried away last year. Villalobos graduates in May. She’s been on the El Leñador staff for six semesters.

“It still feels like a shock to win 10 awards, this was a community effort," Villalobos says. "This is clear recognition that we deserve to be in this industry. We deserve to share our stories that we know best. These awards are for my Salvadoran community, my parents and all my mentors, friends and peers. We did this collectively.”

Villalobos attributed some of the paper’s success to El Leñador adviser Andrea Juarez. She said she has seen her writing, photography, video and design skills grow significantly through her student media experience. 

“El Leñador has felt like a full time job as a student,” Villalobos says. “It has fueled my passion for local journalism forever.” 

The Lumberjack, Cal Poly Humboldt’s weekly student newspaper, took home 12 awards including four first place wins for best sports photograph, arts and entertainment story, headline portfolio, and infographic. 

Ollie Hancock, editor-in-chief of The Lumberjack in fall 2022, won seven awards (combined individual and team awards), including first place for sports photo, and arts and entertainment. Hancock graduates in May.

“I’m so proud of everyone on LJ staff, past and present,” Hancock says. “These awards celebrate the hard work The Lumberjack staffers put in every week. I am especially proud of the award we received for our Title IX coverage.”

Osprey, Cal Poly Humboldt's student-run magazine, placed third in the best digital magazine category.

This year, 20 students attended the journalism conference. They participated in workshops and led roundtable discussions on how to improve coverage of communities of color and reporting on transgender communities. Students also networked with professionals, peers and publication advisers from across the country.

Jessie Cretser-Hartenstein, Osprey adviser and Journalism professor at Cal Poly Humboldt, gave two presentations at the ACP conference on journalism research, scholarship and creative activities for students and faculty. 

“The ACP conference provided a whirlwind of opportunities for students to explore their journalistic passions,” Cretser-Hartenstein says. “Our students showed up excited and left inspired. Getting 20 students down to San Francisco to attend a national conference was no easy task, but it was totally worth it. Experiences like this will stick with them forever and THAT is how we support student success.”

The Lumberjack adviser Deidre Pike says she was bursting with pride over the accomplishments of Cal Poly Humboldt’s student media teams.

“Our students are remarkable thinkers, writers, editors, and visual storytellers,” Pike says. “They work long hours every week to make sure the campus is informed. They are becoming well prepared to go out and make media as a profession.”

Complete list of awards:

Associated Collegiate Press Spring National College Media Conference -
March 11, 2023, San Francisco

El Leñador

  • First Place  -  Best of Show
  • Third Place - People’s Choice 


California College Media Association - March 11, 2023, in San Francisco


  • Third Place - Best Digital Magazine – Osprey Staff



First place 

  • Best Sports Photograph - Ollie Hancock
  • Best Arts and Entertainment Story - Kianna Znika and Ollie Hancock
  • Best Infographic - August Linton
  • Best Headline Portfolio - Alana Hackman

Second Place

  • Non-breaking News Story - Ollie Hancock
  • Newspaper Column - Lex Valtenbergs

Third Place

  • Feature Photograph - Cash Rion and Ollie Hancock
  • Editorial Cartoon - Ollie Hancock
  • News Series - Angel Barker, Liam Gwynn, Matthew Taylor
  • News Photograph - Ollie Hancock
  • Illustration - Ollie Hancock
  • Sports Story - Dezmond Remington


El Leñador

First place 

  • Best Photo Series - Karina Ramos Villalobos
  • Best Feature Photograph - Abraham Navarro
  • Best Photo Illustration - Peyton Leone
  • Best Newspaper Front Page Design - Karina Ramos Villalobos
  • Best Editorial Cartoon - Abraham Navarro, Peyton Leone, Guillermo Noe Salazar

Second Place

  • Newspaper - Alexandra Gonzalez, Karina Ramos Villalobos, Ricardo Lara Nava, and staff
  • Social Justice Coverage - Steffi Puerto, Danielle Hendrickson, Angelina Ramirez Peirano
  • Overall Newspaper Design - Karina Ramos Villalobos, Elizabeth Lachman, Evelyn Bañuellos
  • News Photograph Ricardo Lara Nava
  • Illustration - Abraham Navarro
  • Non-News Video - Karina Ramos Villalobos, Peyton Leone, Abraham Navarro, Steffi Puerto

Third Place

  • Newspaper Website - El Leñador staff
  • Breaking News Story - Peyton Leone
  • Special Issue/Section - Alexandra Gonzalez, Karina Ramo Villalobos, Elizabeth Lachman, Ricardo Lara Nava, Frank Rocha, Peyton Leone
  • Podcast - Karina Ramos Villalobos, Peyton Leone, Ricardo Lara Nava
  • Best News Video - Steffi Puerto