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Loyola journalists win big at Press Club Awards

Loyola press release - July 20, 2009

Loyola University New Orleans students, alumni and faculty took home numerous honors at the 51st annual Press Club of New Orleans awards competition on Saturday, July 18.

The awards, hosted by CNN anchorwoman Kyra Phillips, recognize excellence in journalism, public relations and marketing in New Orleans. Media professionals from press clubs across the United States judged the entries selected for awards.

Ramon Antonio Vargas, who graduated summa cum laude from the School of Mass Communication in May, was nominated both for articles he wrote in 2008 for Loyola’s student newspaper, The Maroon, and for The Times-Picayune. Vargas was awarded a first-place award for best column for “Rack ‘em, pack ‘em,” in The Maroon, and first-place for best sports feature for “A fighting chance,” published in The Times-Picayune. He also won two second-place awards and an honorable mention.

Other student staffers of The Maroon who were honored with second- and third-place awards and honorable mentions include Jessica Williams, Tom Macom, Rachel Strassel and Andrea Castillo.

Journalism instructor Les East won the first-place sports story award for “Drew Brees: no record, no win,” published in The Advocate, and best sports blog for neworleans.com. He also won two third-place awards and one second-place award.

School of Mass Communication graduate and WVUE-TV producer Robert Brennan, A’83, received a first-place award for his documentary “Archbishop Hannan and the Kennedys.” Fellow WVUE-TV colleague, anchorwoman Kim Holden, A’89, won a first-place award in the continuing coverage category for “Miss Hattie's Home.” WDSU-TV sports anchorman Fletcher Mackel, A’98, took home two first-place honors for best sportscast and best sports show. WWL-TV producer Sofia Voulgarakis, A’03, won first-place for best newscast, and Walter Volpati, A’88, won top honors for planned event coverage for “Lundi Gras Live,” which he produced for Cox 10.

Bob Marshall, A’71 won first-place in the science and health category and the coveted Alex Waller Memorial Award for an article he co-wrote for The Times-Picayune, “Losing Louisiana.”

Other alumni who were honored include WGNO-TV sports anchorman Ed Daniels, A’79, and food critic Lorin Gaudin, A’84, New Orleans Magazine's Nicole Wroten, SS’07, WWL-TV executive producer Dominic Massa, A’98 and WDSU-TV reporter Travers Mackel, A’98.

Loyola sophomore Kevin Zansler, photo editor for The Maroon, was one of three journalism students at area colleges chosen in a competitive application process to receive a Press Club scholarship. The scholarship committee said they were impressed with Zansler’s dedication to the craft and his work ethic.

For more information on the School of Mass Communication in Loyola’s College of Social Sciences, contact Catherine Koppel at 504-861-5448 or by e-mail at ckoppel@loyno.edu.