SMC Corsair Wins 18 Awards in Southern California Competition

The Santa Monica College student newspaper the Corsair won 18 awards – including online General Excellence and five first place awards – at the 2015 state convention of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges held at the Double Tree Hotel in Sacramento on April 9-11.

Corsair Editor-in-Chief Alci Rengifo won three awards, including first place awards for both critical review and news story. Corsair Photo Editor Brandon Barsugli won two first place awards, for online photo essay and sports action photo. In addition, the team of Claudius West, Kira Vandenbrande, and Juan Lopez won first place in the audio slideshow competition held at the convention.

The Corsair was recognized with a Pacesetter award as one of the top competing schools at the annual convention.

"I am so proud of these students – they are a very talented and hard-working staff, and they competed very well against the top community college journalism programs in the state,” said Saul Rubin, faculty advisor to the Corsair who teaches the journalism class that produces the print and online editions of the Corsair.

"Winning the Pacesetter Award in recognition of being one of the top three schools at the convention is very special,” said Rubin, adding that this is the second time Santa Monica College has earned that honor in seven years.

About 450 students from community college journalism programs in California attended the convention.  Students participated in several on-the-spot writing, photography and multimedia contests and also attended workshops offered throughout the three-day event.  The results of mail-in contests recognizing top work from last year were also announced at the convention.

SMC instructor Gerard Burkhart is the photo adviser to the Corsair.

A complete list of SMC awards at the 2015 JACC State Convention follows:

Publications Contests:
First place, Online Photo Essay:  Brandon Barsugli
First Place, News Story: Alci Rengifo
First Place, Sports Action Photo:  Brandon Barsugli
Fist Place, Critical Review: Alci Rengifo
Second Place, News Story: James Powel
Third Place, Critical Review: Rachel Gianuario
Third Place, Photo Story Essay: Ronja Jansz
General Excellence, Online Journalism: Corsair Staff

On-the-spot Contests:

Pacemaker Award, Corsair Staff
First Place, Team Feature: Claudius West, Juan Lopez and Kira Vandenbrande
Third Place, Feature Photo: Carlos Espinosa
Third Place, Feature Story: Jose Gutierrez
Third Place, Sports Photo: Toby Sandstroem
Honorable Mention, Critical Review: Alci Rengifo
Honorable Mention, News Judgement and Layout: William Miguel
Honorable Mention, News Photo: Kira Vandenbrande
Honorable Mention, Feature Story: Devin Page
For more information on the SMC Corsair, contact Saul Rubin at 310-434-3537 or The Corsair is online at