Cal Poly’s Mustang Media Group Wins 37 Awards

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Mustang Media Group won a total of 37 national and state awards between the 2021 virtual ceremonies of the College Media Business and Advertising Managers (CMBAM) and the California College Media Association (CCMA). The Cal Poly Journalism Department’s student-run integrated media organization proved that despite the challenges of a virtual year, the organization continues to find innovative, creative ways to tell the stories of the community and rise to every occasion.

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Student award winners from left to right:
Brynna Barton, Clare Giatzis,
Justin Vermeltfoort and Von Balanon








Mustang Media Group took home a total of 18 individual awards, ranging from advertising to video, digital, print and broadcast journalism. They won eight first-place awards, two second-place, five third-place and three honorable mentions from CMBAM. Meanwhile, from CCMA, they took home 13 first-place and six third-place awards.

“The business and marketing staff of Mustang Media Group had to find a way to sell products, market to students and connect with an audience under the most extreme conditions. I am thrilled to see their hard work all year long with the awards won at CMBAM,” Mustang Media Group General Manager Jon Schlitt said. “The editorial staff of Mustang Media Group did a fantastic job covering the outbreak of COVID-19, the return of students to Cal Poly’s campus and the Black Lives Matter movement. They did an extraordinary job in print and digital journalism all year long and their efforts were reflected as some of the best in California and even in the nation.”

CMBAM is a national organization run by a volunteer board of students and advisers from member newspapers. The organization focuses on bringing student journalists together to learn and share industry best practices with one another. The awards that

Mustang Media Group received from CMBAM are listed below.

  • Best COVID-19 Response Plan in the Nation - First Place
  • Best PR and Marketing Manager in the Nation - First Place, Justin Vermeltfoort
  • Best Designer in the Nation - First Place, Von Balanon
  • Best Sales Operation Manager in the Nation - Second Place, Claire Giatzis
  • Best Sales Representative in the Nation - Third Place - Brynna Barton
  • Best College Media Sales and Marketing Program – First Place
  • Best Sales Strategy for a Special Section – First Place
  • Best Self Promo Website – First Place
  • Best Single Digital Sales Promotion – First Place + Second Place
  • Best Social Media Strategy – First Place
  • Best Sales Incentive – Second place
  • Best Hiring/Recruitment Strategy – Third Place
  • Best Native Ad – Third Place
  • Best Special Event – Third Place
  • College Media Company of the Year - Third Place
  • Best Marketing Plan - Honorable Mention
  • Best Self Promotion Ad - Honorable Mention
  • Best New Idea - Honorable Mention

CCMA is a state-wide organization that offers support for student journalists across California. The media association, founded in 2003, just hosted its 19th annual Best of College Media competition. In addition to the competition, CCMA offers trainings and workshops, covering the most relevant topics for journalists today. The awards that Mustang Media Group received from CCMA are listed below.

  • Best Print Advertisement – First place, Elaine Do
  • Best Social Justice Coverage – First place, Aidan McGloin, Austin Linthicum, Diego Rivera, Kailey O'Connell
  • Best Non-News Video – First place Brady Caskey
  • Best News Video – First place, Samantha Spitz
  • Best Interactive Graphic – First place, Mustang News, Lauren Walike
  • Best Special Issue/Section – First Place, Mustang News Staff
  • Best Newspaper Inside Page/Spread Design – First place, Solena Aguilar
  • Best Newspaper Front Page Design – First place, Von Balanon
  • Best News Photograph – First place, Diego Rivera
  • Best Sports Story – First place, Kyle Har, Naythan Bryant
  • Best A+E Story – First place, Sydney Sherman
  • Best Editorial – First place, Nicki Butler
  • Best News Series – First place, Sophia McDevitt, Hailey Nagma, Stephanie Zappelli
  • Best Newspaper Website – Third place, Sabrina Pascua, Solena Aguilar, Lauren Walike, Marcus Cocova
  • Best Newspaper – Third place, Mustang News Staff
  • Best Online Advertisement – Third place, Von Balanon
  • Best Social Media Reporting – Third place, Sabrina Pascua
  • Best Illustration – Third place, Solena Aguilar
  • Best Sports Photograph – Third place, Diego Rivera

Mustang Media Group is Cal Poly’s award-winning student-run media organization, which includes Mustang News, KCPR-FM, MNTV and MN Public Relations.

For more information about Mustang Media Group.

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