Broward College is home to two major student-run publications that appeal to talented students in the arts, journalism, and communication fields. The Observer, the student newspaper, and P’an Ku, the college’s art and literary magazine, have continued to work in a remote capacity over the last year. They were recognized for their work during the 61st Annual Florida College System Publications Association (FCSPA) conference held on January 29, 2021, where both publications brought home top awards.

P’an Ku competed with their fall 2019 and spring 2020 issues and claimed over a dozen awards, earning first place recognition in the categories of General Excellence, Art, Artworks, Two-Page Spread, Photographs, and Content Page. They placed second in General Excellence, Poem, Poetry, Non-fiction, Photography, and Photographs categories. The team also earned third place awards in Two-page spread and Photography.

The Observer brought home six awards, earning second place in Sports Photo and Picture Story, and third place in Feature Photo, Feature Story, Illustration, and Website.

Working Remotely

The Observer TeamDespite the unexpected college-wide transition to a remote working and learning environment in March 2020, both teams continued to work via Zoom. Under normal circumstances, The Observer staff would hold weekly meetings on Fridays at their headquarters on the Judson A. Samuels South Campus as well as workshops with guest speakers. “It was a relatively easy transition since we continue doing pretty much everything we did while we were on campus. We still publish the paper and everything; the only difference is that everything is now online,” explains Jennifer Shapiro, faculty advisor to The Observer. “If anything, the only challenge we have come across was that at the beginning, there wasn’t really much going on while the College tried to figure things out.”

P’an Ku would also hold weekly staff meetings at the Downtown Center in Las Olas. The transition was somehow more challenging for their team as they had to figure out the most efficient way to work. P’an Ku now holds its meetings on Zoom, but for the review process of the artwork and literary pieces submitted, they have set up a discussion forum on D2L. “I’m extraordinarily proud of these students who continue to work hard on this magazine every semester despite being in a remote environment. In the beginning, there were many challenges, but they plowed right through them and figured it out,” says Vicky Santiesteban, faculty advisor for P’an Ku. The team has also moved on to host their release party virtually, which has allowed them to expand their reach. For their latest release party in fall 2020, over 130 people attended.

A Significant Experience

At Broward College, students are encouraged to participate in clubs and other extra-curricular activities to build a strong resume. For many students who participate in P’an Ku and The Observer, the experience has been more significant and rewarding than expected.

“It’s difficult to explain how much working with The Observer impacted me both personally and professionally,” says Anabel Sanchez, former online editor to the Observer. “It began as an activity to put on my resume,  but once I started working, I realized that it was helping me grow as a person, learning new skills, being able to network with fellow students and professionals in the industry, and so much more.” Sanchez completed her Associate of Science on New Media Communications at Broward College in the fall of 2019 and is now a Telecommunications student at the University of Florida.

Alumni from both publications have gone on to successful careers in their respective fields.

Upcoming Plans and Events

Exciting things are happening with both student publications in the upcoming weeks and months. The Observer will hold its annual Journalism Bootcamp virtually on Friday, February 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. The event will feature professionals in journalism, communication, and public relations and is open to all students. “What’s exciting about hosting a virtual Bootcamp is that we have the opportunity to invite speakers from across the country. We will have Adam Thompson, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, who can join us from New York,” says Shapiro. You can email Shapiro at to RSVP.

As for P’an Ku, the editors have set a goal to grow the magazine’s online presence by creating a more interactive issue that will captivate audiences in the digital world. Before the pandemic, the team had incorporated film submissions into the magazine via QR codes linked to YouTube. They plan to continue to incorporate student films into P’an Ku.

Students from any career pathway are welcome to join P’an Ku and The Observer. Scholarships are available to students who are selected as editors. To join or learn more about the Observer, visit their website or email To learn more about P’an Ku, their team, and submission guidelines, email

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