Skip to main content
Student Achievements

Mustang Media Group Wins 33 National Awards

Mustang Media Group, the Cal Poly Journalism Department’s student-run media organization, won 33 national awards at a recent conference in Washington, D.C.

The awards were presented at the joint convention of the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) and College Media Association (CMA) between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2. Cal Poly’s integrated college media organization took home four first-place awards, 10 second-place, four third-place, and one fifth- place, plus 12 honorable mentions in journalism, broadcasting and advertising for student work published or broadcast during the 2018-19 school year.

Among the awards, Mustang News won its first ACP Pacemaker Award — one of the nation’s top honors for a student newspaper.

“People talk about the Pacemaker as the ‘The Pulitzer Prize of college journalism,’” said Patrick Howe, journalism professor and Mustang Media Group advisor. “I think it affirms that the work these students are doing is up there with the best of the best.” 

Mustang News’ editorial team also won Photo of the Year for Environmental Portrait, and the advertising team was awarded first place in Best Media Kit and Best Newspaper Supplement.

KCPR, Mustang Media Group’s radio platform, earned Best Radio Newscast for Mustang News on KCPR and second place in Radio Station of the Year at the CMA Pinnacle Awards.

“I am so proud of everyone on my team who has helped KCPR become what it is today,” said business administration senior and KCPR Manager Max Motley.

“It feels amazing to be recognized for our team’s work this past year,” said Editor-in-Chief Austin Linthicum, a business administration senior. “Every MMG platform — web, print, radio, social and video — received top national recognition. I am so grateful to everyone who contributed to Mustang News and KCPR last year and am proud to be a member of one of the best teams in student media.”

From the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP)
Associated Collegiate Press is a national nonprofit member association of collegiate journalism and student media leaders. ACP has more than 650 members and supports students, teachers and media advisors through journalism education, recognition and training programs.

  • Print Pacemaker Award — Mustang News newspaper, Staff
  • First Place, Photo of the Year for Environmental Portrait — Kylie Kowalske (Corona Del Mar, California)
  • First Place, Advertising/Editorial Newspaper Supplement — Von Balanon (Fresno, California), Shea Irwin (San Luis Obispo) and Kendra Oliver (Morgan Hill, California)
  • Second Place, Best of Show for Newspaper (Four-Year College, Weekly) — Staff
  • Second Place, Best of Show for Website (Four-Year College, over 10,000 views) — Staff
  • Second Place, Inside Spread — Austin Linthicum (San Luis Obispo)
  • Third Place, Advertising Campaign — Von Balanon (Fresno, California), Shea Irwin (San Luis Obispo), Kendra Oliver (Morgan Hill, California)
  • Fifth Place, Multimedia Feature Reporting Story — Rachel Showalter (San Luis Obispo) and Casey Sublette (Manhattan Beach, California)
  • Honorable Mention, Ernie Pyle Reporter of the Year — Cassandra Garibay (Madera, California)
  • Honorable Mention, Local Climate Reporting — Aidan McGloin (Redlands, California)
  • Honorable Mention, Multimedia Sports Story Package — Brian Truong (San Luis Obispo)
  • Honorable Mention, Display Advertisement — Von Balanon (Fresno, California)
  • Honorable Mention, Advertising Brochure/Rate Card — Von Balanon (Fresno, California), Shea Irwin (San Luis Obispo), and Kendra Oliver (Morgan Hill, California)
  • Honorable Mention, Advertising Campaign — Shea Irwin (San Luis Obispo)

From the College Media Association (CMA)
The College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards honor the best college media organizations and individual work. The contest is open to student work produced for any college media organization, including print, broadcast and online outlets, during an academic year. Founded in 1954, CMA has more than 700 members across the nation. It supports both new and veteran advisors of collegiate media programs with conventions, workshops, publications and national networking.

  • Best Radio Newscast — First Place, Mustang News on KCPR
  • First Place, Best Rate Card/ Media Kit — Shea Irwin (San Luis Obispo)
  • Second Place, Four-Year Radio Station of the Year — Staff
  • Second Place, Best Social Media Strategy — Lauren Arendt (Poway, California)
  • Second Place, Best Special Section Cover — Staff
  • Second Place, Best Newspaper Sports Page/Spread — Austin Linthicum (San Luis Obispo)
  • Second Place, Best Multimedia Feature Story — Rachel Showalter (San Luis Obispo, California) and Casey Sublette (Manhattan Beach, California)
  • Second Place, Best Ad Campaign — Von Balanon (Fresno, California)
  • Second Place, Best Display Ad — Shea Irwin (San Luis Obispo)
  • Third Place, Best TV Entertainment Program — Rachel Showalter (San Luis Obispo) and Justin Garrido (Chula Vista, California)
  • Third Place, Best Viral Video — Rachel Showalter (San Luis Obispo) and Justin Garrido (Chula Vista, California)
  • Third Place, Mobile App/Plug-In of the Year — Staff
  • Honorable Mention, Best Infographic — Austin Linthicum (San Luis Obispo)
  • Honorable Mention, Best Newspaper Photo Page/Spread — Staff
  • Honorable Mention, Best Online Main Page — Staff
  • Honorable Mention, Best Podcast — David Kozuch (Pleasanton, California)
  • Honorable Mention, Best Sports Section — Staff
  • Honorable Mention, Best Feature Story — Caitlin Scott (San Luis Obispo)

“I am so incredibly honored to be recognized among the top collegiate reporters,” Garibay said. “This makes me want to push myself even more, not just for myself, but for the communities I’m serving.”

Mustang Media Group is a fully integrated student media organization at Cal Poly. The media arm includes print, digital, TV and radio through Mustang News, CPTV and KCPR-FM, as well as Central Coast PRspectives, which provides public relations and marketing services, and Green and Gold Digital, which provides myriad services to clients.