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LU student media wins 22 Press Club awards

Taylor Justice, left, Carlos Viloria, Brian Quijada, Maddie Sims and Kami Greene represented LU at the Press Club of Southeast Texas Excellence in Media awards at the MCM Elegante, June 7.

Lamar University student media earned 22 honors at the 2024 Press Club of Southeast Texas Excellence in Media awards at the organization’s annual Newsmaker of the Year banquet, June 7. The University Press earned six first-place awards for work published in 2023 and LUTV earned another first-place award.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity to be able to compete with professionals across Southeast Texas,” Lamar University Press editor Maddie Sims said. “It’s so rewarding to see how much progress we’ve made in the last year or so, especially because there are no student categories which means it’s rewarding to win anything, even if it’s an honorable mention.”

The University Press staff won first place in Best News Website category and the newspaper placed third in the Overall Excellence category. UPbeat, the UP semesterly magazine, placed second in the Overall Magazine category, with the judge writing, “A timely cover story and informative graphics make this student-run publication punch above its weight class.”

UP photo editor Brian Quijada earned first place in the Sports Feature category for “Out But Not Down,” a sports feature about El Salvador’s national soccer team’s game against Panama in Houston.

Quijada also placed first in the Photo Essay category for his story “Hot Heavy Metal,” covering Lamar art department’s annual iron pour. The judge wrote, “Fantastic storytelling through a strong variety of images. Appreciate the use of lighting and cropping. The obvious winner.”

University Press contributor Gage Gilliam placed first in the Magazine Photography category for his travel piece about Mexico’s La Isla Mujeres in UPbeat.

Sims won first for Magazine Feature Story with her piece, “Economics (Taylor’s Version): ‘Swifties’ not thrifty when it comes to buying power.” Former sports editor Keagan Smith placed first in the Magazine News category for his story, “Good, Bad…Ugly?” about college sports and NIL.

LUTV’s Taylor Justice, won first for News Organization Internet Video.

The University Press was named Best News Website at the Press Club Excellence in Media banquet.


Second place awards went to Smith for Digital Sports Story and Magazine Feature Story, and Maddie Sims for Fine Arts Reviews/Critiques. Smith also earned honorable mention in the same category.

LUTV’s Tre Sanchez and Tommy Byers earned second places for Sports Story and News Organization Internet Video, respectively.

Third places awards went to Quijada for Sports Photo, Justice for TV General News and Cam Sanderson for TV Sports Story.

Honorable mentions went to Khalaya Coleman, Alexis Miller, Byers, Justice and Gordon Williams for TV Continuing Coverage, Stephanie Adeniji for TV News Organization Internet Video, and LUTV News for Best Newscast.

Justice was named Press Club of Southeast Texas Scholarship recipient for the 2024-25 school year.

“As a first-generation student, I have worked endlessly for opportunities like this one, to be able to give back to my parents who have worked so hard to send me to school,” Justice said. “I'm so grateful for the Press Club, the sponsors and attendees for their generosity to benefit me in my educational endeavors.”

Siblings Mary Stankus and Vu Nguyen were named the Press Club’s Newsmaker of the Year for their swift action to save the lives of two children who had drowned in a pool. The pair were chosen from a list of finalists that included Coach Jeff Joseph of Port Neches-Groves High School; Vidor Police Officer Brittany Haley; and Beaumont Community Players’ executive director John Manfredi.

The Press Club draws its membership from Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Liberty, Chambers, Jasper, Tyler, Polk and Newton counties. Press Club members are professionals in media, public relations, academia, public affairs, and corporate communication and public information.

For a full list of winners, visit
Category: News