By Anthony Viola
On April 23 the Society of Professional Journalists awarded student leaders from The Campus with two highly-regarded Mark of Excellence honors at a ceremony in Philadelphia. CCNY’s student newsmagazine received recognition in the “Editorial Cartooning” and “Photo Illustration (large)” categories in the Region 1 competition, which includes colleges across the northeast.
The Campus was recognized for its back cover illustration of President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama that appeared in the April 2017 edition. In that annual satirical issue, the cartoon focused on Trump’s belief that Obama had Trump Tower wired during the presidential election.
The Campus also placed as a finalist in the “Photo Illustration” category for its piece “Nevertheless, she persisted.” The spread was featured in the March 2017 issue and served as the cover story. The winner and other finalist were both from Penn State University.
With magazines from schools such as Harvard, Columbia and Syracuse University in the contest, the staff of The Campus faced tough rivals. The magazine’s faculty advisor, Linda Villarosa, was thrilled by the win. “I am extremely proud of the student editors and artists,” she said. “The Society of Professional Journalists is an extremely prestigious organization, and the Mark of Excellence Awards are highly competitive, especially in our region where we are competing against Ivy League colleges and graduate schools.”
Alex Naase, the magazine’s head illustrator, designed the award-winning cartoon. Naase, a senior studying literature and art history, explained that the idea behind the sketch came with a funny story. “Curtis Ashley, the [editor-in-chief] at the time, suggested I draw Obama and Trump as furries, originally as a sort of cat and mouse joke if I remember correctly,” they said. “I thought that was the funniest thing and then I kinda merged the concept with Trump’s allegations about Obama wiretapping his phone and Kellyanne Conway’s statement about surveillance microwaves.”
“I was really excited to even have been a finalist so when the illustration won I was surprised and honored,” Naase added. Naase and their illustrative work will advance to the national competition held later this year, where the cartoon will compete against regional winners from across the country.
“Once the shock wore off, I thought it was really funny though,” continued Naase, “because I can now say I won an award for drawing Obama as a mouse which is really such a concept.”