Members of the Torch have received numerous awards this spring.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Editors and writers of the Bergen Community College Torch student-newspaper not only attended and presented at the annual College Media Association convention this spring, but also placed first in the conference’s Iron Reporter competition and won another five awards for student-newspaper excellence from the New Jersey Press Foundation.

Torch Editor-in-Chief Katy Temple, of Bogota, and Copy Editor Ally MacConchie, of Rutherford, won the Iron Reporter competition for their story, “I Got an Illegal Piercing,” which highlighted an underground industry in New York City. The competition challenged students to find their story, write it, take photos and lay it out within a 48-hour period.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Ally and Katy for winning the Iron Reporter competition,” Torch advisor and professor Sue Toth, of Lake Hopatcong, said. “One of the judges’ comments said that the story was ‘killer.’ As an adviser, I can’t ask for better than that!”

“The pressure of finding a good story, collaborating on it and making it the best it could be all within about 20 hours was exhilarating,” MacConchie, a first-semester Torch editor, said. “It was a journalistic thrill I had never felt before.”

Temple, who also presented a session at the conference, said “winning the Iron reporter competition felt like a dream. Going up against schools with bigger teams was intimidating, but it just goes to show that the only thing that matters is the story. Being able to attend as a staff writer, and then again as the editor-in-chief, really made me feel like my time at Bergen came full circle. I walked away with so many experiences and so much new knowledge that will stay with me for the entirely of my career in journalism.”

In Temple’s spare time – away from her reporting – she recently won the title of Miss Liberty and will compete to become Miss New Jersey in June. The importance of student media voices represents her pageant platform.

Meanwhile, Torch students also submitted 15 entries into the New Jersey Press Foundation’s college newspaper writing contest for two-year and four-year colleges and won five awards. Temple won first place in editorial writing for “The Year of Student Press Protection” and first place in column/opinion writing for “When You Give a Girl a Glock.” David Joo, of River Vale, won second place in editorial writing for “Save Spaces: A Blessing or a Blight?” Jennifer Park, of Demarest, won second place in news writing for “A Breath of Fresh Air.” Jeremy Nifras, of North Arlington, won second place in arts and entertainment writing for “Be More Chill: A Rock Musical for Generation Z.”

The College Media Association, considered the voice of collegiate media and its advisers, supports student media programs and professionals through education, community, and resources. With two annual conventions every year, CMA serves thousands of students and advisers and works with professional media organizations and education associations on the local, state, and national levels.

The New Jersey Press Foundation, founded in 1962 as the charitable arm of the New Jersey Press Association, is 501(c)(3) foundation to help develop the next generation of journalists and informed citizens, and to promote the importance of a free press to our democracy. Visit and and for more information.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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