Russell places 6, 7 at national media convention

Stephanie Bias, Assistant Editor-In-Chief

The Associated Collegiate Press announced the winners of their 2017 Photo Excellence Competition, and not one, but two of IVCC student Kyle Russell’s photos were chosen.

The winning photos were announced at the ACP/CMA Fall National College Media Convention in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 25-29.

According to ACP’s website, this convention is the largest meeting of college journalists and advisors in the world.

“With typical attendance of 1,700 delegates, the annual fall gathering has become the place to seek solutions to the most challenging publishing and broadcasting problems, share success stories, see what’s new in the media marketplace, discover trends and network with students and advisers from the United States, Canada and often other countries,” ACP states.

In addition to hosting several competitions, the convention also offers over 350 practical and professional learning sessions.

Before the winners of the 2017 Photo Excellence Competition were announced, 50 photos were selected as finalists. Russell was overwhelmed when he learned that not one, but two of his photos were selected as 2017 Feature Photo Finalists.

“I found out the news about 10 minutes after the Associated Collegiate Press announced it on their website,” Russell said. “I had been checking [ACP’s website] for the results since almost a month prior to that day.

“I just scrolled down the list and at the very last category, I came upon a photo that looked very familiar and I realized that it was my photograph. At that point, I didn’t even see that I had another photo that qualified underneath it, and when I saw that photo, I really went into shock. Let’s just say I didn’t get any more sleep that afternoon.”

Only two community college students were selected as finalists, and Russell was one of them.  Other finalists included students from major universities such as University of Pennsylvania, University of California-Berkeley and University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto, Canada.

After meeting other student photographers, participating in sessions and snapping some photos while in Dallas, Russell finally learned the results of the competition. Russell’s photo of the eagle placed sixth and photo of the girl running at the Operation Prom-ise Color Run placed seventh. Russell was disappointed with the judging results.

“Although I have to politely disagree with the judging, I still feel proud to have placed sixth and seventh in the top featured photos in the country,” Russell said. “It was great to represent such a small school on a scale that was primarily dominated by the biggest schools and universities that one can go to.”

Overall, Russell enjoyed his experience in Dallas. Russell hopes to return to the competition next year, which will take place in Kansas City, Mo.

“I think the biggest thing that I am proud about is the fact that I am a completely self-trained photographer who is presented the opportunity to compete alongside those trained in their fields at major universities,” Russell said.

“It was absolutely an honor and privilege to represent Illinois Valley Community College on such a grand level and I couldn’t be more thankful to both the staff and the organizations that have allowed me to travel there and compete.”

In order to help finance Russell’s experience, the IV Leader will host a bake sale in the Student Life Center on Nov. 8 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.