UB Spectrum editors nominated for Pinnacle Awards

Two writers and photographer nominated for three national awards

The Spectrum

Two profiles and a photograph from The Spectrum are among the finalists for national college student awards.

The College Media Association (CMA) Pinnacle award has nominated current editor in chief Gabriela Julia and former editor in chief Tom Dinki for two profiles they published during the spring 2016 semester. Current senior photo editor Kainan Guo has been nominated for the Photographer’s Forum College photography contest and Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) Photo excellence award.

Julia was nominated for Best Sports Feature for her work on “Unbreakable: UB student-athlete returns to track after giving birth,” which profiles the life of a student-athlete after becoming a mother.

“The story started off with just a conversation in a Monday meeting,” Julia said. “It wasn’t until we had went through the editing process and it was published that I had thought about submitting it.”

Dinki was nominated for Best Profile for his piece, “UB student doubles as male escort, gay porn star,” about a student who opens up about his work in the sex and adult film industry.

“For me I wanted to tell two sides to the adult industry,” Dinki said. “I wanted to show a side most people don’t see, good and bad.”

Guo was nominated for the ACP Photo Excellence Award for his cover photo of UB student-athlete Darien Johnson.

“It was really exciting, thinking about the past two years, we never really won anything for photos,” Guo said. “I contacted my parents and told them I was nominated for a national award and they were really proud of me. I feel proud that I can make my parents feel proud of me.”

As an independent student newspaper, The Spectrum doesn’t rely on funding from the University.

“Despite our small size, lack of funding and no major we are still able to compete with those papers that have huge funding and huge staff,” Dinki said. “I think it would be incredible to see what [The Spectrum] could do with just a little more support.”

The stories represent milestones in the careers of the nominees but that doesn’t stop them from referring back to see where they can improve.

“I still read the story and think about things I can change on it,” Julia said. “It showed me how important editing is. I was up until 6 a.m. before a production day editing it and making the story as appealing to the reader as possible.”

All three of the nominees say their nominations came from going the extra mile.

Guo feels that the nomination made it all worth it, especially after a tough year.

“I feel the The Spectrum photo desk was not as strong as other desks, it was a tough year last year, we only had one person in the class,” Guo said. “I feel all the hard work late nights really made up for being nominated for this award.”

The nominations represent a continuing trend of award-winning and nominated journalism at The Spectrum.

“I think that it is really great, seven years ago The Spectrum had zero awards for the first 50 years it was here at UB,” Julia said. “You don’t have to go to a school with a huge journalism program or major in journalism. If you are really interested in a story and you work hard on it, that’s where the awards come.”

Kenneth Kashif Thomas and Evan Grisley are features editors and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com