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BP journalism competition winners named

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Nick Dean and Daniel Cernero have been named first-place winners in the 2011 Baptist Press Excellence in Journalism Competition for collegiate communications students.

Dean, a senior at Baylor University and last year's editor-in-chief of The Baylor Lariat student newspaper, won the competition's print/web category.

Cernero, a December 2010 Baylor graduate who was photo editor of the university's Round Up yearbook, won the visual/multimedia category.

Second-place winners are Julia Berger, a senior at Taylor University and co-editor of The Echo student newspaper, in print-web and Makenzie Mason, a Baylor senior and photo editor of the Round Up, in visual/multimedia.

Judging for the competition was provided by members of the Baptist Communicators Association (, a professional organization for individuals who serve in editorial, public relations, electronic media, photography, management, marketing and graphic design positions principally within Baptist entities and institutions. Among its ongoing initiatives, BCA awards annual scholarships to graduate, undergraduate and minority/ethnic/international students planning to pursue a career in Baptist communications.

Dean and Cernero will receive $1,000 awards; Berger and Mason will receive $500 awards.

Dean, in the 500-word essay component of the competition, wrote, "My academic career has been an attempt to define journalism and to discover if I could mix my passion for helping people -- a passion developed through my faith in Christ -- with my love of writing. Fortunately, I've found that to be possible and plan to become a political reporter in Austin covering state politics after graduation."


Cernero, in his essay, wrote that his faith should show through "all aspects of my work in journalism. Especially when it comes to photography, I feel that the photographs are a reflection of the photographer -- it's the world as I see it. Also, even when not actively taking photos, I believe my faith is on display to all I come across in the professional field, be it the person of interest for a particular story or my coworkers."

Cernero currently works at the Fort Hood Sentinel as sports editor and a photographer.

Among the judges' comments of Dean's entries, one judge took note of an article Dean had written on an Iraqi student newspaper at the University of Iraq-Sulaimani. "I found it interesting that a Baylor newspaper would do an article on another college newspaper that didn't have a direct connection with Baylor," the judge wrote. "That was unexpected. But, wow! What a good article for people to read. It is good for them to see a side of Iraq/Kurdistan that relates to their peers."

Among comments on Cernero's entries, one judge wrote, "Daniel seems to include a piece of himself in his work and this is a critical ingredient for making good photographers into great ones. His style, while still in the early stages, shows a strength and determination to capture the essence of the moment. His images evoke a reaction."

Baptist Press editor Art Toalston noted, "Baptists have a long heritage of Christian journalism, dating back more than 175 years. We hope that the Excellence in Journalism Competition serves as both a reminder of our heritage and a point of encouragement to Baptist journalism students. They, too, can strive to be first-rate journalists in our 21st-century context, whether in the Southern Baptist Convention or in the nation's news media."


BCA's president, Julie McGowan, news & media relations director at Oklahoma Baptist University, said in a statement to Baptist Press, "Baptist Communicators Association congratulates the winners of the Excellence in Journalism Competition. We were thrilled to participate in judging the best work of the next generation of Baptist communicators. We hope to see the entrants involved for many years in telling the stories -- through all kinds of media -- of how God is at work around the world."

Compiled by Baptist Press staff.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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