Humber journalism students won a total of 14 awards and honourable mentions at Columbia University’s 39th Student Work Gold Circle Awards.
They included nine awards for the newspaper, Et Cetera, two for the news site, Humber News, and two for the magazine, Convergence.
The association selected 606 winners for yearbook and digital media, and another 690 for print news and print magazine, among 51 news categories and 35 magazine categories.
Santiago Arias-Orozco, now a third-year journalism diploma student, received an honourable mention in the First-Person category for his story about the negative stereotypes Colombians faced based on the country’s history of drug cartels and mobster violence.
Arias-Orozco wrote about his personal experience of being targeted and questioned at airports.
He said even though his country has been making progress, Columbians are still being negatively portrayed in the media, and constantly associated with drugs, mobsters or warfare.
“It was kind of sad seeing that that’s the only way people see my country, and realizing that it goes beyond the screen,” Arias-Orozco said. “That stigma triggers and enacts people to take actions that are actually discriminatory against Colombians.”
He said through his story, he wanted to break the negative stigma about Columbians and covey another reality of his country.
Nathan Abraha, another third-year student, received honourable mentions in two categories, including a sports feature about a Canadian professional boxer, Nick Fantauzzi.
Abraha said he wanted to show another side of a professional boxer and humanize the story.
“He is a big guy,” he said. “But everybody can see this. I don’t need to make him intimidating.”
Fantauzzi mentioned during the interview he watched the movie Rocky in his teenage year, which caught Abraha’s attention.
“I knew right away, that was going to be my lead,” he said. “It’s about just being obsessively listening to people, and just trying to find things that stand out as much as possible.”
Abraha said even though he knew as a student, his work may not be read, he put much effort into writing the stories.
“We carry the people we cover with us,” he said. “Whether that’s negative or positive, I want to represent the topics and the people that I cover with as much respect, as much honesty, and as much love and care as I can.”