The Write Stuff

The Cam High Stinger staff showed its journalistic stuff on March 21 in the 2014 TCJEA (Tri-Counties Journalism Educators Association) Write-Off Journalism Competition.

The competition, held at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, hosted schools from Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.

The competition was designed for journalism students to compete in categories including writing, photography, and page lay-out. Students signed up for these categories several weeks before the competition and were given 90 minutes to complete their selected entry.

Much of the Cam High Stinger staff was in attendance, competing in nearly every category. In addition, all the schools competed for Best Newspaper and/or Best Website.

Casey Jacobsen, senior and editor in chief of the Stinger, was one of two award recipients at the competition, winning second place in the Page Lay-Out category.

“I was surprised I got second, because I didn’t feel like I did as well as I could have,” said Jacobsen.

The other award recipient was Brian Raymond, sophomore and Stinger staff writer, who received an honorable mention in the News Writing category.

“You can’t really prepare for it [the competition],” said Raymond. “It was really about knowing how to take quotes and turn them into a story.”

The competition, judged by professional journalists, was designed to get students motivated in improving their school’s newspaper and to give student journalists a chance to meet other journalists from around the area and compare work.

“The best part is getting kids to push each other to excel,” said Mr. Mark Storer, English teacher and journalism adviser. “One of the things that helps you improve is to compare writing.”

With the number and variety of students in attendance, reactions naturally ranged from “it was scary” to “everybody was really friendly”.

“I was the only freshman there and I felt like a small fish in a big pond,” said Athena Quddus, freshman and Stinger staff writer. “I love doing it, though, and I know there are a lot of people there that love it, too.”

“Storytelling’s in our blood. It’s what we do,” said Storer. “These [competitions] are for kids to get an idea for how a free democracy and the acquisition of information works.”