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Cal Poly’s Mustang Media Group takes home 28 national awards 

Cal PolyOf the 28 total awards, 16 were individual, including advertising, video, digital, print and broadcast journalism

– Cal Poly’s Mustang Media Group took home 28 national awards at the 2021 virtual ceremonies of the Associated College Press (ACP) and the College Media Association (CMA).

Despite the challenges of a virtual year, the Cal Poly Journalism Department’s student-run integrated media organization continues to produce innovative and creative stories, powerful campaigns and compelling journalism.

Of the 28 total awards, 16 were individual, including advertising, video, digital, print and broadcast journalism. The organization received three first-place awards, four second-place, two third-place, five fourth-place, one sixth-place, one 10th-place, and three honorable mentions from ACP. Among these awards, eight of the 16 were in the Best of Show Category.

Mustang Media Group also received one of the most prestigious awards of the ACP competition: the Online Pacemaker Award. Judged by coverage and content, Mustang Media Group is honored to have won an Online Pacemaker Award and to be recognized alongside some of the most talented journalism programs in the nation.

Omar Rashad, senior data and investigations editor at Mustang News, took fourth place for ACP’s Reporter of The Year. “I take journalism really seriously, and I’m humbled and honored to be recognized at the national level alongside other student journalists I deeply admire,” Rashad said.

Meanwhile, Mustang Media Group took home eight total awards from CMA, including four first-place, two third-place, and two honorable mentions.

“I can’t express how proud I am of the efforts of Mustang Media Group across the board,” Mustang Media Group General Manager Jon Schlitt said. “This past year, they had to do their work for the most part virtually and under the most extreme of circumstances, so to see these efforts gain such national recognition is outstanding. To see the team win the Pacemaker award is truly amazing. It reflects the cumulative effort of all of their hard work since the pandemic began and shows that said work was truly among the very best in the nation.”

ACP awards

ACP is a national organization of collegiate journalists dedicated to connecting advisers, students and professionals through national events and competitions inspiring exceptional journalism.

Mustang Media Group received the following awards from ACP:
– Media Kit: Mustang Media Group –– first place, Von Balanon
– Best Diversity Story: “Spilling Trauma” –– second place, Omar Rashad
– Best Online Ad: “Hotel San Luis Obispo” –– second place, Von Balanon
– Best Print Advertisement: “Rag Tag Wine Company” –– second place, Von Balanon
– Best Blog: “The Hoof” –– fourth place, Nicki Butler
– Best Informational Graphic: “Waste Water Testing” –– fourth place, Solena Aguilar, Nicole Herhusky
– Reporter of the Year –– fourth place, Omar Rashad
– Best Photo Slideshow: “Road to Gulf Shores” –– fourth place, Kyle Calzia
– Best Feature Story “Cal Poly Students Dodge Gunfire While Protesting Myanmar Coup” –– honorable mention, Grace Kitayama
– Best Sports Feature Photo: “The Joy of Victory” –– honorable mention, Kyle Calzia
– Best Sports Game Action Photo: “Beach volleyball” –– honorable mention, Kyle Calzia
– Advertising Rate Card –– first place, Elaine Do
– Advertising Special Section: “Go SLO” –– first place
– Print Design: “Waking up a Ghost Town” –– second place, Marta Lukomska
– Broadcast News Story: “Kristin Smart” –– third place, Amanda Wernik
– Blog: “Kristin Smart” –– third place, Tessa Hughes
– Social Justice Reporting: “Nowhere to go: Morro Bay Homeless” –– fourth place, Catherine Allen, Marcus Cocova
– Newspaper: Four Year Campus with more than 10,000 students, sixth place
– Multimedia News/Feature Presentation: “Bands Eager to Revive Live Shows” ¬–– 10th place, Evan Gattuso

CMA awards

As the voice of collegiate media, CMA is a national association that works with professional media organizations and education associations, and serves thousands of students and advisors on the local, state and national level. CMA hosts two annual conventions where student media organizations come from around the country to compete with other colleges and learn from media professionals. Mustang Media Group received eight awards from CMA:
– Best Ad Supplement/Special Section – Polypicks, first place
– Best Display Ad — first place, Von Balanon
– Best Newspaper news page spread — first place
– Best Photo Package — first place
– Best Special Section Cover — third place
– Best Sports News Photo — third place
– Best Rate Card/Media Kit — honorable mention, Von Balanon
– Best Audio Newscast — honorable mention

Learn more about Mustang Media Group at

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