Richland Student Media

The Student News Site of Dallas College - Richland

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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

Dallas


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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

Learning journalism in real time

Richland Student Media competes at TCCJA conference in Beaumont

TCCJA or Texas Community College Journalism Association hosts a conference every year for community colleges to learn and compete against each other in the journalism field.
These conferences are held at colleges all around Texas, and this year, TCCJA was held at Lamar University in Beaumont.

Actors Bit Pruitt, left, and Jody Nolan begin “brawling” during a staged fight  film at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum on Oct. 6. (Staff Photo/Tracey Nicholas)

The conference consists of different events, such as the breaking news competition, where a breaking news situation is staged for students to report on in a variety of different media, or the information sessions where students can listen to professional journalists speak about their experiences.

A group of students from the Richland Student Media traveled the five hours to Beaumont to attend the conference, including Aislyn Smith, Tracey Nicholas, Carlos Ortega, Jesse Serrano, Christian Reyes and Xavi Villarreal.
They were welcomed to a BBQ bash featuring a DJ and food, and the students were able to mingle with student journalists from other colleges around the state.

Actors Bit Pruitt, left, and Jody Nolan getting “arrested” after their staged brawl. (Staff Photo/Christian Reyes)

The following day, the breaking news event took place, featuring a staged indie movie set where actors gathered to re-enact the Lucas gusher at Spindletop, the first major oil-mining field in the U.S.
The news even began with Gladys, the first oil rig in the field, shooting water high into the air, spraying students and their equipment with water as they raced for the perfect pictures.
Following the Gladys eruption, actors for the film gathered around the saloon, practicing their roles for the movie. First assistant director Jeremy Hawa led a safety demonstration for the surrounding student reporters.

Lamar campus police Sgt. Byron Popillion explained the procedures with the prop firearms, and explained how there would be no real firearms shot during the scene that was being set up.
Once he was finished, the actors took their positions, and the scene began. Two Western-themed men exit the saloon and get into an argument with a third one, and a fight begins. The punches are staged, and everything is going according to script, until one man’s punch lands on the other. This begins a real fight that continues past the director’s shouts to cut, and soon enough, the police were called and escorted the men away to be calmed down.

Gladys’ eruption reenactment at the museum. (Staff Photo/Aislyn Smith)

While staged, the event felt real enough, and once students felt satisfied with their photos, videos and interviews, they were allowed to leave to go and begin working on their multi-media packages.
The Richland team aimed to complete two stories, a timeline of events and a news report video, all complete with the adjacent photos.
There were two hours for the teams to work, and the race was on. Students used the Lamar media facilities to complete their work, all while struggling with technical difficulties. Despite the cards stacked against them, the Richland team was able to have their work turned in just as the time ran out.
The competition was strong however, and with that, Richland fell just short of winning against their competition.
But it wasn’t to say that the team didn’t walk away with any awards.
During the awards ceremony on the night of the competition, the TCCJA awards for past published pieces that had been entered were announced, and Richland Student Media was awarded 11 separate certificates for a variety of different sections and divisions.
Despite not winning the conference breaking-news competition, the Richland team learned from some of the best, and will be even more prepared for the next one, which students will be attending in late October and early November.

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