Centurion wins six journalism awards



Award winners (l to r) Justin Bifolco, Carly Pendergast and John Gannon

Steven Cereby

The Centurion won six awards in the 2016 Keystone Press competition, bringing the paper’s total number of awards to more than 70 since 2010.

The Centurion won first place for Public Service/Enterprise Package, for “Community Colleges at a Crossroads,” a package of stories about the challenges facing two-year colleges that was  written by Michele Haddon.

The paper also won first place in the sports story category, for “Bucks Men’s Baseball Team Gets New Coaches” by Centurion editor Carly Pendergast.
Centurion  editor Justin Bifolco won second place in the feature writing category for his interview with Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments who made headlines worldwide when he raised the minimum salary at his company to $70,000.

Sports editor John Gannon won an honorable mention for his profile of star Bucks soccer player Reynaldo Bonilla. Writer Melissa Cohen won an honorable mention for her review of “High Society” at the Walnut Street Theater.

The Centurion also won second place for its website, www.bucks-news.com

The paper competed in the division 3 category, which includes community colleges from across Pennsylvania. Some of the schools competing included Community College of Philadelphia, HACC Lancaster campus, Community College of Allegheny College, and Montgomery County Community College.

The Centurion has won 74 awards in the contest since 2010.

Journalism Professor Tony Rogers, the faculty adviser to the Centurion, said winning the awards was a “testament to how hard the students in the journalism program at Bucks work. Even though the Centurion has a very small staff, and most of the students who work on the paper also take a full load of classes and have jobs outside the college, they still manage to produce excellent, award-winning work. This is why many of our graduates go on to get jobs at professional news outlets.”

Rogers said the paper had been putting more of an emphasis on covering sports at the college recently.

“We always try to put an emphasis on covering the sports teams at Bucks because we feel they don’t get the recognition they deserve,” said Rogers. “Our sportswriters also like to write about the pro teams in Philadelphia, but we always tell them our first priority is to cover sports at the college.”

Rogers added, “We always want to achieve more, and we always want to keep improving. The problem with having a student newspaper at a community college is that you have so much turnover; students come into the program, get trained in the journalism skills they need, and then they’re gone.”

“We hope to soon introduce an app that will enable readers to access the paper on their smartphones,” Rogers continued.

Editor in Chief Pendergast, who is a big reason for all the success the Centurion has had in the past, was asked about her success and what she thinks of the paper’s editing and reporting team.

“I’m so proud!! Our program continues to see success at these awards and it really says a lot about Professor Rogers, that first-time writers are seeing success along with our more tenured writers,” Pendergast said.

“We have a group of fantastic and dedicated writers that take what we do seriously, and now they are seeing results,” Pendergast continued.

The awards will be given out at the Keystone Press Awards Luncheon during the America East Media Business and Technology Conference, on April 6, at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.

Plaques will be provided to all first-place winners and certificates to all second place and honorable mentions winners in attendance at the award luncheon.

If students at Bucks are looking to pursue a career in journalism and don’t have the money to go to a 4-year college right away, they can find out more about the journalism program at www.bucks.edu/journalism