Los Angeles, California — The California College Media Association named El Leñador the best non-weekly student newspaper in the state at its Excellence in Student Media Awards Banquet Feb. 20.
The bilingual newspaper received the First Place award for Best Newspaper, competing against monthly and bi-weekly papers from 4-year and 2-year colleges and universities across California.
"As a student journalist this is what you strive for," said El Leñador Editor-in-Chief Javier Rojas. "When this publication started back in 2013 the goal of El Leñador was to give a voice to underrepresented students on campus and now to be called the best newspaper, it's incredible."
In awarding El Leñador first place, the judges said: "It captures the multicultural component of its audience with flair."
El Leñador started in 2013 as an interdisciplinary faculty-student research project with students from the Journalism and Spanish majors teamed up with Journalism & Mass Communication Chair Marcy Burstiner and World Languages and Cultures Chair Rosamel Benavides-Garb.
"Huge credit goes to Manuel Orbegozo and Shareen McFall who were the first two editors of the paper," Rojas said. "They influenced the paper in so many ways and are equally deserving credit of this award."
El Leñador was initially funded by grants from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It also received funding from The Lumberjack, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the President's Loyalty Fund.
"Winning First Place was well-deserved," said Burstiner. "In just three years, these students have created a newspaper that serves not just the Latino community on campus but the wider Latino community of Humboldt County."
Rojas and his team will deliver the second issue of the spring term this week. "It makes me proud on many levels," Rojas said. "But I'm more happy for the staff and editors that came before me that had a heavy influence on the paper. "