Current and former student journalists honor former Editor-in-Chief for Warrior Life through awards

El Camino College’s news publication and magazine received several awards recognizing their service to the campus and surrounding communities from both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.

The Associated College Press (ACP) and College Media Association (CMA) host the National College Media Convention, a biannual three-day event that occurs for both spring and fall semesters.

This year, the Fall National College Media Convention was a virtual event featuring workshops presented by professionals in journalism, keynote presentations and an awards competition highlighting works done by student-run publications and student journalists throughout the nation.

Both The Union news publication and Warrior Life magazine received a combined total of seven awards recognizing individual journalists and both publications in their entirety, including two ACP “Best of Show” awards for The Union and Warrior Life.

The Union won first place in the ACP Best of Show award for the Best Website category for a two-year college, and Warrior Life received a second place ACP Best of Show award for the Best Feature Magazine category.

Here is a full list of awards won:

         ACP Best of Show

  • Best Website (Two-Year College): First Place – The Union
  • Best Feature Magazine: Second Place – Warrior Life

    ACP & CMA Individual Awards

  • Reporter of the Year: Fourth Place – Juan Miranda, The Union
  • Story of the Year: Fifth Place – Molly Cochran, The Union
  • Best Viral Video (CMA): Honorable Mention – Maverick Marcellana, The Union 

    CMA Awards

  • Feature Magazine of the Year (Two-Year College): Third Place – Warrior Life
  • College Media Outlet of the Year (Two-Year College): Second Place – The Union

Three student journalists from The Union were recognized for their individual contributions to journalism throughout the nation: former reporter Maverick Marcellana, former Editor-in-Chief (EIC) for The Union, Molly Cochran and former EIC for Warrior Life and managing editor for The Union, Juan Miranda, who died on Jan. 22, at 22 years old.

For many current and former student journalists from The Union and Warrior Life, these awards are dedicated to Juan Miranda as a testament to his commitment and service as a leader to his community and the news team.

Cochran mentioned that whenever she feels proud of her accomplishments and her career going forward, she will also think back to Juan Miranda, wishing that he could have been in her current position.

“I think it was really surreal to see [Miranda’s] name there. It was really a bittersweet moment. I just felt so proud of him and everything that he did, but I’m just also simultaneously really sad that he’s gone and that he’s not here to see the fruits of his labor,” Cochran said.

Student news adviser and journalism professor Stefanie Frith shared how proud she feels of the students she teaches and of Miranda.

“To have students being recognized for their work on a national level is rewarding, and for Juan, he was at the top of his game. He cared deeply about his community and I think it shows through his incredibly beautiful writing, his careful reporting and incredible detail,” Frith said.

“For us, I think this award is bittersweet. We miss [Miranda] every day and we look forward to presenting these awards to his family,” Frith said.

The Union’s current EIC, Nicholas Broadhead, shared very similar sentiments as his peers have.

“[Miranda] 100% deserved the award. He would go well above and beyond in what he tried to do not only during the quarantine but also before quarantine happened,” Broadhead said. “He totally deserves all of the recognition that he can get.”

Broadhead said that he hopes that these awards will lead to more recognition for Miranda as his story and experiences as a journalist should be told to express his talents.

“Even though he was working hard as EIC for Warrior life, he was dedicated to his craft, dedicated to helping others, and overall was just a really good guy. He totally deserved to be here and to celebrate with us,” Broadhead said.

Former EIC for Warrior Life and news editor for The Union, Jeniffer Torres, discussed the challenges in taking over Miranda’s role as Warrior Life EIC and honoring his legacy.

“The work that takes a whole year to complete with the magazine, I essentially only had one semester to do it. When I was looking back on some of the stories that Juan had left me, I just started crying in that moment. I just felt really surreal knowing that his edits were never going to be completed by him. I had to run with what he had,” Torres said.

The majority of the stories that Miranda started working on before his death were left uncompleted. Although overwhelmed, Torres said she knew that she was the only person capable of taking on the responsibility at the time. Taking over Warrior Life was all about Miranda.

“I made that magazine for Juan. It was for Juan, by Juan, and it was a really huge shock to hear that it had won such big awards because I had never expected that to happen,” Torres said.

At the end of the spring 2021 semester, Torres pinned an open letter dedicated to Juan Miranda titled “Losing a leader”.

“At the heart of [Warrior Life], it was all Juan. It was his vision,” Torres said.


Editors Note Oct. 22, 2021, 2:23 a.m.: This story has been updated to provide better clarification.