Back to News

Students win awards in Virginia Press Association contest

Apr 13, 2016

Posted in: News

Craig Zirpolo’s winning photo
Craig Zirpolo’s winning photo

VCU’s student newspaper, the Commonwealth Times, won nine awards in this year’s Virginia Press Association contest — including first place for a photo taken by a journalist for the school’s Capital News Service.

The awards, presented Saturday night at the VPA’s annual conference, recognize work published during 2015. The contest drew more than 3,400 entries from 122 VPA member newspapers.

Competing against other non-daily publications, the Commonwealth Times won first place in Breaking News Photo for a picture taken by CNS reporter Craig Zirpolo titled “Black Lives Matter protest shuts down Broad Street.”

Zirpolo, a journalism major who graduated last May, took the photo the night of March 18, 2015, when VCU students held a march to protest police brutality and show their solidarity with Martese Johnson, a University of Virginia student who was severely injured during an arrest outside a pub in Charlottesville. Zirpolo also provided atext story and video report on the march.

The Commonwealth Times also won first place in the Breaking News Writing category for the story ” VCU stands with Mizzou.” It was written by Fadel Allassan, the paper’s print news editor and a sophomore majoring in print-online journalism.

And the CT won first for an illustration by Shannon Wright to accompany an opinion piece headlined “Kenyan casualties harm global community.”

The Commonwealth Times also won:

¶ Second place for Front Page, for the Sept. 14 issue previewing the UCI Road World Championships. The page featured an illustration by Justin Tran.

¶ Second place for Personality or Portrait Photo, for a photo by Julie Tripp. The photo depicted Brandcenter student Dorado Quick, who has launched a campaign called “Perceived Threat” to peacefully address societal misperceptions and labels.

¶ Second place for Editorial Pages

¶ Second place for Lifestyle or Entertainment Pages

¶ Third place for Sports Pages

¶ Third place for Public Safety Writing, for three stories by Sarah King, now the CT’s executive editor

The Commonwealth Times is independent from the Robertson School and operates under VCU’s Student Media Center.