The Southwestern College Sun Wins Top National Awards

Southwestern College Sun journalists Camila Gonzalez, left, and Nicolette Monique Luna, right, with civil rights icon Dolores Huerta.

The Society of Professional Journalists has awarded the Southwestern College Sun two of its most prestigious awards, the first-ever Corbin Gwaltney Award—named in honor of the founder of The Chronicle of Higher Education—and the National Collegiate Newspaper of the Year. The Gwaltney Award includes a $5,000 cash prize.

The Sun, and its sister publication, El Sol Magazine, also racked up additional Society of Professional Journalists awards, including individual student awards for in-depth reporting and feature, column and sports writing. 

The Sun and El Sol were awarded for their work produced during the 2021 calendar year and included the team of top editors Julia Woock, Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo, Camila Gonzalez and Nicolette Luna. 

“This championship is a tribute to the four young women who led the program in 2021 during a crisis and found a way to excel,” said Dr. Max Branscomb, adviser to the Sun and El Sol. “Julia, Xiomara, Camila and Nikki were remarkable because they managed everything remotely, without our lab, technology and equipment. It was frustrating and exhausting, but they were smart, creative and determined. They found a way to excel and inspired others to excel, too.”

The Sun competed in categories alongside other large schools including Harvard, UCLA, Columbia, Missouri, USC, Princeton and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State, among hundreds of others.

The Sun was also recently awarded Collegiate Newspaper of the Year by the National Newspaper Association. 

The judge’s comments were: “I wish I could give this entry First Place for (collegiate) general excellence and then submit it to the professional general excellence category because it is that good. The number of in-depth stories about not just college issues but community issues is incredible. So well done. Excellent! Simply excellent.”