The Crusader writes its way to national accolades


Mary Ann Datoc

The Crusader newspaper won several awards at the national convention in Los Angeles, including placing 5th in the Best of Show.

The Crusader Newspaper made a comeback last month, returning to the National High School Journalism Convention, hosted this year in Los Angeles from April 7-9, after a two-year shutdown due to COVID.

This biannual national gathering of high school journalists is co-sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association and the Journalism Education Association.

After some pre-convention fun at Universal Studios Hollywood, students were given the opportunity to attend various workshops at the Westin Bonaventure hotel that focused on different aspects of journalism, like photography, broadcast, social media, etc. 

Jameson Datoc ’23 said, “[The workshops] helped me a lot, more than I thought. I learned many ideas, new formats, and gained experience from different people’s perspectives all over the country.”

In addition, The Crusader presented a dynamic workshop on headline writing, with adviser Susan Sutton, MJE showcasing unique methods of writing clear, precise headlines and inviting staff members to act as judges in a headline writing contest, which included handing out prizes for the winners.

She stated, “Having the students present a headline workshop with me definitely changed the dynamics. [Students] [s]eeing their peers present a workshop is inspiring, so I can see why students from other schools were so into a task presented by a diverse group of smart, funny, and talented young people.”

The convention award ceremony announced seven individual write-off winners–with honorable mentions going to Noah David for photography, Marisa Hamilton for commentary writing, John McQuaid for the press law and ethics, and Delaney Mulqueen for poetry; excellent awards going to Christian Ramirez Cortes for news writing, and Santino Woo for sports writing; and the superior award going to Joseph Zuloaga for news editing/headline/current events. 

Members of The Crusader sang the alma mater after the awards ceremony.

At his win, Ramirez Cortes stated, “It felt amazing seeing my name pop up on the screen and having all the Riordan people cheer as soon as my name showed up. It was great to see the work I put in during the contest pay off at the award ceremony. I’m glad I won an award, and I’m proud of all the work we put in as a team.” 

In addition, the Quiz Bowl team ranked in the top 8 nationally and for the first time, The Crusader ranked in the Best of Show category, winning 5th place in the nation for schools with an enrollment of less than 1,500. 

Editor-in-Chief Grayson Salomon ’22 reminisced on a highlight from the convention and reflected on his journey as a staff member. He said, “A special moment from the convention was definitely watching the staff celebrate placing nationally for best of show! After serving as EIC for two years and being on staff almost all my time at Riordan, it was so satisfying and surreal to see all the hard work we put in pay off.”

He added, “Working with Ms. Sutton all four years and watching the growth of the club has been such a great experience and as it it’s my last year on staff, placing 5th in the nation was in a way a nice way to end my time on the team.” 

For next year’s convention here in San Francisco, Sutton hopes to continue with the headline workshop, create a fun event for students, and overall have a successful convention for The Crusader. She announced, “We are a team, and that team just said, ‘Hello journalism world. We are here, and we are not going anywhere’.”