UM Students Win Journalism Awards at Various Conferences

UM students, along with Patricia Thompson (left), assistant dean of student media show off the recognitions they received for their work at the Southeastern Journalism Conference at Harding University. Submitted photo

University of Mississippi students earned more than 50 awards in three regional contests this spring for their outstanding work in newspaper, television, radio and online journalism.

“The Student Media Center is one of the best recruiting tools for the university and the Meek School,” said Patricia Thompson, assistant dean for student media and an assistant professor of journalism. “We have students from every classification, from freshmen to graduate students, working in our vibrant newsroom every afternoon. 

“They get a chance to develop communications skills and they learn to work with others to produce award-winning journalism. They love it. They are passionate about providing our campus community with news and information they won’t get anywhere else.”

The Southeastern Journalism Conference, held this year at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, featured more than 200 participants from 28 colleges and universities in seven states. UM was named Grand Champion at the conference for on-site competitions, where 15 students had to produce content on a deadline.

In the SEJC Best of the South competition, Ole Miss students won 17 awards, including first places for Abbie McIntosh, a junior from Cypress, Texas in the television news reporting category, and for Thomas DeMartini, a senior from Flowood, and Austin Hille, senior from Boise, Idaho, in the broadcast commercial category.

The Daily Mississippian won first place for best all-around daily newspaper and best affiliated website in the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence competition. The SPJ region includes universities in Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana.

“I’m so proud of The Daily Mississippian team and the other student media staff members that earned top honors this past year,” said DM editor-in-chief Lana Ferguson, a senior from Mechanicsville, Virginia. “So many of us put hard work in every day and we don’t do it for awards, but it’s always a great feeling to be recognized.

“The student journalists at Ole Miss are creating high-quality content, and I’m glad it’s getting the attention it deserves.”

Clara Turnage and Malachi Shinault, both 2017 UM graduates from New Hebron and Booneville, respectively, took home first-place awards in all three competitions for their online feature package of text, photo, video and audio published on theDMonline.com about activist Correl Hoyle as he prepared for graduation last spring.

Other students who won first-place awards from SPJ are:

  • Devna Bose, senior from Philadelphia, for feature writing
  • Marlee Crawford, senior from Oxford, for breaking news photography
  • Lauren Layton, senior from Huntsville, Alabama, for online/digital feature videography
  • Jules Marcantonio, senior from Franklin, Tennessee, for television general news reporting
  • Ariyl Onstott, 2017 UM graduate from Carriere, for online news reporting
  • Jake Thrasher, senior from Birmingham, Alabama, for editorial cartoons

All first-place winners will compete against winners in the 11 other regions of SPJ for national titles, which will be announced later this month.

In the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Contest, the student news broadcast NewsWatch Ole Miss took home first place for its Dec. 1, 2017 newscast, which included coverage of the NCAA sanctions announced that day.

“Our students dedicate so much time into the show and providing our audience with the top news of the day, and to be recognized for that day-in and day-out hard work makes it all worth it,” said Abbie McIntosh, NewsWatch manager. “I’m honored to have received some awards on top of what NewsWatch won. It makes me happy to know people think our work is good.”

Matthew Hendley and Joseph Katool, from Madison and Jackson, were awarded first place in the Associated Press contest for their radio coverage of NCAA sanctions.

Ferguson took home first-place honors from the AP for her feature story about an Oxford church helping a Texas community rebuild after Hurricane Harvey.

Other students who won first place in the AP and SEJC competitions are:

  • Devna Bose, arts and entertainment writing, SEJC
  • Lana Ferguson, feature writing, AP
  • Alana Mitius, freshman from Olive Branch, for radio feature, AP
  • Ethel Mwedziwendira, senior from McKinney Texas, for current events, SEJC
  • Marlee Crawford, sports photography, SEJC

Second- and third-place winners and finalists representing Ole Miss are:

  • Grant Gaar, senior from Walnut, finalist for television feature reporting, SPJ
  • Hayden Benge, junior from Tulsa, Oklahoma, design, SEJC
  • Marisa Morrissette, senior from Oxford, media history/ethics/law, SEJC
  • Clifton Carroll, senior from Yazoo City, public relations, SEJC
  • DeAndria Turner, sophomore from Gauter, radio reporting, SEJC; radio sports, AP; radio journalist SEJC
  • Matthew Hendley, TV anchoring, SEJC
  • Lana Ferguson, feature writing and news writing, SEJC
  • Erin Pennington, sophomore from Fulton, radio feature, SEJC
  • Madison Heil, 2017 graduate from Mandeville, Louisiana, journalism research paper, SEJC
  • Jake Thrasher, DM editorial cartoonist, SEJC
  • Ethel Mwedziwendira, newspaper layout and design, AP
  • Lana Ferguson and Clara Turnage, breaking news, AP
  • Abbie McIntosh and Marlee Crawford, documentary, AP
  • Italiana Anderson, senior from Ridgeland, radio news, AP

By Christina Steube

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