The first Otter Realm Awards, recognizing students who have done excellent work in journalism – including print, video, photography and page design – were handed out at a campus ceremony on May 8.
Justin Ebrahemi was honored in two categories: for a feature story on the Sierra Club’s website about nitrate contamination in the Salinas Valley, and for a column that appeared in the Otter Realm.
Teledramatic Arts and Technology students Amy Ochoa and Mary Teraji topped the video storytelling category with a piece about the Monterey Midnight Knitters.
"Students need more public recognition of their work," said Dr. Estella Porras in explaining why she decided to hold the competition. "With the awards, students feel encouraged to seek excellence, and are reminded of the value that their work has in their communities.
"I want all students to feel energized and motivated in regard to their work," she said.
The Otter Realm is published six times a semester, on the first and third Thursday of the month. It also operates a website where news stories are posted on a regular basis. Students in Human Communication 389, Otter Realm Workshop, produce both. Professor Porras is the faculty adviser.
Winning entries were selected by Christy Koshaba, a former Otter Realm reporter and current journalism graduate student at UC Berkeley; Gabriela Martinez, documentary filmmaker and associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon; and Kristin Leal, a former Otter Realm reporter and former outdoors columnist for the Monterey Herald who has published two travel guides.
Winners by category:
• Best feature story: Justin Ebrahemi, "Nitrate contamination is ongoing for Salinas residents"
• Best general story: Kent Wellington, "File Sharing on Campus: Risky Business?"
• Best column: Justin Ebrahemi, "Hungry Sex"
• Best video storytelling: Amy Ochoa and Mary Teraji, "A Knit on the Town: the Mystery of the Monterey Midnight Knitters"
• Best photo: Crystal Lopez, taken at the university's annual Day of the Dead celebration (shown above)
• Best page design: Adam Napoletano, a two-page layout about Black History Month