Portola Pilot Makes Record-Breaking Appearance in State Media Contest

With the State Student Media Contest capping off competition season for the Portola Pilot, co-editor-in chief and senior Ryne Dunman said he is hopeful that the publication will be dynamic in the face of change.“I feel like every year the Pilot changes with the people who join it,” Dunman said. “I hope that we continue to take more risks and just be more adaptable in the future.
(Courtesy of Brianna Rapp)

Portola Pilot had its best showing in the program’s history at the Southern California Journalism Education Association State Media Contest hosted at the Maywood Center for Enriched Studies on March 12. In all, the publication took home first place in the website category, third place in the newspaper category and second place in Newspaper Sweepstakes.

“It’s really exciting, especially considering how new our publication is,” co-editor-in chief and senior Ryne Dunman, who was also the recipient of the Betty Rogers Scholarship Award, said. “We’ve been able to go up against these other schools who we never would have thought to have ranked next to in these categories.”

A record 16 Portola Pilot staff members competed in novice news, news, feature writing, critical review, editorial, editorial cartoon, newspaper layout, sports photography and news photography categories, with 13 students receiving awards in their respective categories, according to adviser Brianna Rapp.

Similar to the competition format of OCJEA, staff members who competed in writing categories participated in press conferences and listened to guest speakers in the morning. As judges were deliberating on awards in the afternoon, three teams competed in the annual journalism trivia bowl.

“Walking into that room with all the other journalists was definitely a little bit intimidating, especially considering that state is just a different level,” staff writer and junior Arnav Chandan said. “Competing is definitely something that I find very fun now, not only to just compete against other journalists, but to prove to myself that, ‘You know, you’re a good writer.’”

Members of Portola Yearbook also competed in sports photography, feature photography, yearbook theme development and yearbook layout categories. The production placed second in the overall Yearbook Sweepstakes.

The State Media Contest also gives schools the opportunity to interact with other publications more closely, according to Rapp.

“I just think there’s a lot of power to even just engaging in this world, because in journalism at just one school, you’re very isolated,” Rapp said. “No one else on campus is doing this. So in the past, we’ve gotten to state and have we won this level of awards? Absolutely not. But has the experience still been worth it? Absolutely.”