City College Times staff win awards

Award winners are proud of how far they have come

More stories from Kayne Gallegos

Significant Black figures
December 20, 2018

Former San Jose City College Times staff members have won a few awards at the 2018 NorCal Conference of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges.

Three Students won four awards at the event Nov. 3 in Stockton, California.

Nicholas Johnson won a fourth place for his editorial cartoon, “Kanye West Joins the MAGA Club,” published in Volume 85, Issue 5 of The City College Times, May 8.

Benjamin Castro won a first place for his sports action photo, and a second place for his photo-essay.

Castro’s second place entry, “Jaguars Rip the Runway,” is a photo-essay, found in Volume 85, Issue 5, of The City College Times, published May 8.

His first place was his sports photos headlined “Jaguars Start Off Quick, But that’s About It.” found in Volume 84, Issue 2, published on Sept. 26.

Castro was gracious in victory. In an email correspondence with the Times, he acknowledges the people that he beat in the competition.

“Winning these awards are a great honor. I know firsthand how many great photographers I’m going against and to be recognized as the best in any given category is always special,” Castro said.

Castro’s first time at the JACC NorCal Conference a few years ago ended in failure.

“I remember the first time I had work entered into competitions for the Times and not winning or placing at all. I can’t explain the disappointment and doubt I had within myself,” he said.

The defeat motivated Castro, who vowed to improve his work.

“The next semester I returned to the Times and strived to do better, and I did, I placed second in an on-the-spot competition for the 2017 JACC NorCal Conference,” Castro said. “The feeling was amazing, but I knew I could do better and I wanted to prove that to myself.”

Castro’s dedication has paid off in a tenth fold, because the awards he won this year can be added to his expansive trophy case.

“I was shocked when I found out I placed first from CCMA (California College Media Association), I was in disbelief. When I heard I placed first at JACC, and when I placed first at CNPA (California News Publishers Association) I felt vindicated, that it wasn’t sheer luck but that my hard work finally paid off,” Castro said.

He is not the only one who knows how to work hard and improve.

Nick won a fourth place for webcast/broadcast news, using a video shot on the tail end of 2017.

Prim (black background) was surprised to find out that he had won an award.

“I wasn’t really hoping to win, I just wanted to find ways to improve and this helped lift some weight on my shoulders, showing me that I’m on the right track,” he said.

He can see the improvement when he compares the video to his earlier work.

“This was a new style I wanted to test out and I’m glad it turned out well,” Prim said.

Both Prim and Castro give credit to Farideh Dada, the journalism instructor at San Jose City College, with helping them learn.

“She kept me going and gave me inspiring words when I wasn’t in the best state during the semester,” Prim said.

Castro fondly remembers the words Dada told him at the first conference he attended: “It’s not about winning awards, but about the experience!”