Student media outlets earn national awards

Over spring break, University of Miami student publications brought home several awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) at Columbia University in New York.

Distraction Magazine, UMiami Scientifica and Ibis Yearbook were awarded Crowns for their work in 2016. Crown Awards are the highest recognition from the CSPA given to student publications around the nation that exhibit excellence in content, design, photography, writing and editing.

Distraction Magazine, which is releasing its arts issue in April, received two Gold Crowns for its 2016 print magazine and its hybrid publication, which includes its website. The winning issues were edited by former Editor-in-Chief Rori Kotch, now a graduate student in the School of Communication, and the winning website by former Online Editorial Coordinator Renee Perez and former Online Managing Editor Veronica Lopez. Distraction has received multiple national awards since its creation in 2010.

Current Editor-in-Chief Asmae Fahmy, a senior double-majoring in psychology and journalism, called the win “an honor.”

Fahmy said her favorite design spread was from last year’s feminism issue, designed by staff members Celeste Escotet and Claudia Fernandes-Hernandez.

“The photo editor at the time, Valentina Escotet, took awesome photos of a girl in a bathtub and a burning bra,” Fahmy said. “It’s a very creative and edgy spread.”

Distraction Magazine publishes in print twice a semester; its print copies are available on the green magazine stands around campus.

UMiami Scientifica magazine, founded just two and a half years ago, received a Gold Crown for its hybrid publication edited by Victoria Pinilla, the former editor-in-chief. This was one of five hybrid Crowns awarded by CSPA. The young science publication, advised by microbiology professor Roger Williams, was cited by CSPA Director Edmund Sullivan as the most unique publication entered in the competition.

Current Editor-in-Chief Henry Mancao said that the award validated Scientifica’s efforts and secured its place among campus publications.

“I think Scientifica stood out because we represented the inquisitive spirit within us as scientists,” said Mancao, who will graduate this spring with a triple-major in microbiology and immunology, neuroscience and economics.

Scientifica also publishes twice a semester and can be found on the black magazine stands around campus.

The 2016 Ibis Yearbook, edited by former Editor-in-Chief Emily Eidelman, also received a Silver Crown, the 14th Crown in the publication’s history. Current Editor-in-Chief Katilin Castillo attributed the Ibis’ continued success to the staff’s passion for their work.

“While students may not realize it now, five, 10, 15 years from now they will be glad they have a yearbook to look back on,” said Castillo, a sophomore marketing major. Castillo is one of the youngest students to hold the editorship.

In individual competition, the Ibis Yearbook picked up 52 awards, dominating the design-related categories and receiving recognition for sports features and alternative story form. Copies of the Ibis Yearbook are available around campus and are included in the student activities fee. Graduating seniors will receive copies of the 2017 Ibis over the summer. Students still have an opportunity to take their yearbook pictures until April 5 on the second floor of the Shalala Student Center.

The Miami Hurricane student newspaper, published in print each Thursday, was recognized for eight awards, including Amanda Herrera’s blog coverage of Donald Trump’s visit to Miami, Emily Dabau and S. Molly Dominick’s Valentine’s Day feature on cross-cultural relationships and its opinion columns by Mackenzie Karbon and Annie Cappetta.

Distraction Magazine received three awards, for Alexander Goldman’s sports news, Fahmy’s general feature and Teddy Willson’s entertainment review.

“This is outstanding news for our student publications,” said journalism professor Randy Stano, Ibis and Distraction editorial adviser. “I am so proud of the staff to continue to set the mark for other student publications across the country.”

The full list of CSPA honorees is available here.

Read other award-winning pieces from The Hurricane: 

  • Isabella Cueto’s profile on the first black professor at the university
  • Sherman Hewitt’s news feature on graduate housing, or the lack thereof
  • Mark Singer’s sports profile on track and field star Shakima Wimbley
  • Victoria McKaba’s gallery from the Republican primary debate at UM


Correction, March 31, 2017: The original article stated that Distraction online managing editor Veronica Lopez was currently a graduate student in the School of Communication. Lopez is not currently a graduate student at UM or elsewhere. 

March 29, 2017


Jackie Yang

Jackie Yang can be reached via email at

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.