TCC Connection wins several awards from OCMA (Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association) 

In May, the award-winning TCC Connection lived up to that accolade by receiving several awards from the Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association (OCMA) contest. The winners each placed in the categories in which they submitted their works from the previous school year. The award winners included Sam Levrault, Ethan Gray, Gabrielle Farringer, Joe O’Shansky, and Sarah Ray. 

Managing Editor, Sam Levrault, took home several awards for photography and writing. She received first place in both feature and sports photography; second place in both feature writing and feature photography. Assistant Managing Editor Ethan Gray won first place in both feature writing and general news and reporting. Former TCC Connection staff member Gabrielle Farringer received third place for feature writing. Campus Editor Joe O’Shansky won second place in reviews. Sarah Ray, associate editor for the Southeast Campus, took first place in reviews and second place in general news and reporting. 

The Connection enters OCMA each year, and each year it has been very successful. Here is a link to last year’s victories 

The awards from this year’s OCMA awards are showcased in the Connection office at TCC Metro Campus. Each winner was awarded from the Platinum category for OCMA. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

The contest takes place every spring to commend the work of student media organizations across Oklahoma. Tulsa Community College is just one of the many Oklahoma colleges represented at OCMA. Other higher education schools participating are Northeastern State University, Oklahoma City University, Oral Roberts University, Oklahoma State University, Rose State, University of Central Oklahoma, and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.  

“The staff of the Connection competes alongside other college student journalists. It is a privilege to take part in this contest each year,” said Gray. 

OCMA was founded by Harry Heath, OSU’s journalism school director, in 1975. It recognizes student media organizations, and all the work students do in the field of journalism. Each year, OCMA hosts an annual awards contest, in which student journalists compete.  

“The opportunity to be a part of OCMA is something TCC looks forward to every year and begins submitting for the contest by December,” said Gray. 

Each year, the writers at the TCC Connection seek out stories not only to inform their audience but to go beyond. The staff seeks out subjects that can inspire, promote, and highlight the best stories that a journalist has to offer to their target audiences. 

Another award contest the Connection enters each year is the prestigious Great Plains Journalism Awards. Great Plains upholds high standards of journalism through its annual contest. Presented by the Tulsa Press Club and Benevolent Association, the award show has been held at the Mayo Hotel for the last two years. Journalists from news organizations across the region have entered their work in the past year. Eight states are included in this competition, including Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

In this contest, the TCC Connection competes against not only student-led media organizations but also newspapers, news stations, and magazines. Competing against these professional journalists can be challenging. The Connection has been recognized by Great Plains Awards in recent years. 

“It is an honor and a worthy wild experience to participate and to attend the awards banquet,” Levrault.  

The Society of Professional Journalists Student Chapter 

The Society of Professional Journalists is another contest in which the TCC Connection is proud to participate in each year. SPJ is an association dedicated to the pursuit of a free press. Its mission is “To ensure that the concept of self-government outlined by the U.S. Constitution remains a reality into future centuries, the American people must be well-informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives and their local and national communities.” 

Additionally, the mission states “It is the role of journalists to provide this information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely, and understandable manner.” 

The latest SPJ contest opened on May 1, with the submission period ending on June 15. The award winners are to be announced in late September. (An article announcing the results of this contest will be published soon.) 

These contests are vital for the growth of student journalists as well as for the organizations they represent. Assistant Professor in Mass Communication and faculty adviser for the TCC Connection, Dr. Jerry Goodwin, is an adamant supporter of these award contests.  

“The journalism competitions are an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the great work of the student journalists as they compete with others across the state. In the professional world, my former students will have opportunities to have their assignments and achievements awarded. I want to start developing an attitude and a commitment to excellence at the TCC Connection and at Tulsa Community College,” said Goodwin. 

Entering these contests helps establish this goal of excellence for journalists, giving each the opportunity to strive for excellence in all the work they may do.  

“One of the beliefs and values of TCC is “Excellence is our culture.” By becoming affiliated with the TCC Connection, I believe that we can help student journalists reach their fullest potential and become great storytellers.” Dr. Goodwin seeks to help all members of the newspaper staff to reach their potential as storytellers. “As storytellers, they are telling and sharing the stories of others with our readers.”  

For journalists, the competitions are crucial for the development of any student seeking to be a journalist. Dr. Goodwin believes that “journalism contests have been a great opportunity for journalism students to compete among the best of the best across colleges and universities in the country. The goal is that the students will continue to aspire for excellence in their respective careers in the future. This is an opportunity for the students to believe that excellence is their middle name, and everything that they touch will be of distinction for them.” 

The TCC Connection office houses the many awards won by Connection writers along the back wall, showcasing the awards won from past OCMA contests. (Photo by Ethan Gray)

For 17 years, Dr. Goodwin has taught the TCC Connection Honors class at Tulsa Community College. For Dr. Goodwin, seeing any recognition his students receive is “as important to me as it is to each student. I want to help them stand out as they apply for jobs after graduation. This award recognitions will help the students to distinguish themselves among the crowd.” 

The TCC Connection continues to strive for excellence.  

“With these most recent awards won at OCMA, the Connection has once more established itself as an award-winning student-led news organization. These awards are proof of what each writer provides. But the work does not stop here. There are more stories to be told, more people to be reached, and awards to be won,” said incoming Managing Editor Ethan Gray. 

Here are several of this year’s OCMA award winning articles:  

Ethan Gray 

First Place – Feature Writing: Hands that Create 

First Place – General News and Reporting: Hey, my name is Blu  

Sam Levrault  

First Place – Sports Photography: Festival Americas 

First Place – Feature Photography: Tulsa Kicked it “Old School”  

Second Place – Feature Photography: (Do we know the entry?) Festival Americas 

Second Place – Feature Writing: (Do we know the entry?) Tulsa Kicked it “Old School” 

Joe O’Shansky 

Second Place Reviews: The Fabelmans 

Sarah Ray 

First Place – Reviews: 4th on the 3rd concert 

Second Place – General News and Reporting: Lemon-Aid Project 

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