Rocky Mountain Student Media wins major national awards

CMBAM Media Company of the Year

Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation was recognized by the College Media and Business Advertising Managers organization as one of the top three college media companies in the country for the second year in a row.

Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation at Colorado State University won 17 national awards last month from the College Media and Business Advertising Managers organization, including recognition for the second year in a row as one of the top three college media companies in the country. 

CMBAM is a nonprofit organization with 68 members from universities with student media programs across the U.S. An outside panel of media professionals judged all of the entries for this year’s round of awards. 

“For RMSMC and CSU to rank in the top three for the second year in a row is incredibly impressive and a wonderful honor. It recognizes the amazing work that our CSU students are producing in advertising, marketing and design on a national level,” said Christa Reed, senior media consultant and the lead trainer at RMSMC. “Our media students gain high-level, relevant professional experience in media, advertising and marketing to prepare for future successful careers, and my greatest satisfaction comes when our students are offered professional jobs in media even before they graduate.

“Seeing the growth happen in real time is both fascinating and rewarding on many levels.”

Meet 2 of the student award winners

Owen Johnson

Best non-advertisement multimedia project
Owen Johnson headshot
Headshot of CSU student Owen Johnson.

Senior journalism and media communication major Owen Johnson won two first place awards: best media ad and best non-advertisement multimedia project. The latter award recognized his documentary “Becoming Kaz Smith,” which tells the story of a CSU student who is a transgender man and shows what his transition has meant for his daily life. 

“Trans visibility and awareness – which is really human awareness and normalization – is a topic I’m passionate about, and being able to talk about it openly is really powerful,” Johnson said. “I tried to present Kaz as best as I could, and most importantly as a person first.”

The documentary was shot, written and edited by Johnson through Tree Stump Films (the documentary arm of RMSMC), and was named the Advocacy Award Winner during the 2022 Front Range Film Festival. 

“Kaz’s story shares similarities with so many others,” Johnson said. “Trans visibility is so important because people who may be going through similar experiences should know they’re not alone. With so many working hard to silence trans voices, we need to work harder to make sure they’re heard.” 

After graduation, he plans to move to New York to pursue a career in narrative film. He showcases his video and photography work on his personal website:

Christine Moore-Bonbright

CMBAM Award Sponsored content
Christine Moore-Bonbright
Headshot of CSU student Christine Moore-Bonbright.

Christine Moore-Bonbright, a senior art major with a concentration in graphic design, works in the Creative Services department at RMSMC. She won a first place award for best sponsored content or native advertising for her “CSU Podcast Spotlight,” which appeared in CSU Life – an RMSMC publication targeted at the University’s faculty and staff. 

The article spotlighted podcasts made by the University and its students, and Moore-Bonbright said it “took a good amount of time to create.” 

“That’s because it was 100% made by me,” she said. “For feature articles, I am tasked with the whole process, from ideation to researching, copywriting and designing.” 

Moore-Bonbright’s passion for graphic design began at a young age, when she fell in love with the beautiful illustrations in comic books and graphic novels. 

“I was fascinated by the way typography was dynamically integrated throughout the book to enhance the narrative,” she said. “Fine artists and graphic designers are storytellers at heart, and I believe that designers are also storytellers in their own right.” 

After graduation, she hopes to continue to pursue a graphic design career utilizing her diverse portfolio and the skills she garnered during her time with RMSMC. 

Most recently, she completed the 2021-22 edition of the “Best of CSU,” which features the top businesses and organizations in Fort Collins as voted on by the university community. Moore-Bonbright created the publication’s logo, all of the branding and promotional materials, and designed the entire magazine, including the cover. 

“My experiences working at RMSMC have greatly built upon my class learning, and given me opportunities I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else,” she said. 

She shares her art on Instagram

Full list of 2022 CMBAM award winners 

First place: 

Best Non-Advertisement Multimedia Project

Best Video Ad or Underwriting Spot

Best Self-Promotion Audio Ad

Best Sponsored Content or Native Advertising

Second place: 

Best Special Section

Best Non-Traditional Revenue-Generating Operation

Best Paid Design Product, Non-Self-Promotional

Best Audio Ad or Underwriting

Best Single Digital Sales Promotion

Best Seasonal Sales Promotion

Best Self-Branded Promotional Giveaway

Third place: 

Best Overall Best College Media Company

Best College Media Sales and Marketing

Best Multimedia Ad Campaign

Best Sales Strategy for a Special Section

Best Self-Promotional Website

Best Guerilla Marketing Strategy/Program/Event