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Southeast Journalism Conference announces 2016 Best of the South

[Clarksville, Tennessee] – The Southeastern Journalism Conference named Sudu Upadhyay of the University of Mississippi as 2016 College Journalist of the Year, and Austin Peay State University took home the coveted Best College Newspaper award.

The awards, chosen from 441 qualified entries from 35 universities, were announced at the SEJC’s annual convention, hosted by Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tennessee Feb. 18-22.

The complete list of winners is as follows: **

Best News Writer/ 35 entries

  #10 Rebekah Barnes, Louisiana Tech University

  #9 Alyssa Newton, University of South Alabama

#8 Riley Wallace, Belmont University

#7 William Hadden, Belmont University

#6 Holly Duchman, University of Louisiana – Lafayette

#5 Becca Risley, Lipscomb University

#4 Lauren Booker, Georgia State University

#3 Chelsea Pennington, Samford University

#2 Sarah Grace Taylor, Middle Tennessee State University

#1 Jonathan Capriel, University of Memphis

Best Feature Writer/ 34 submissions

#10 Tori Roper, Troy University

  #9  Connor Raybon, Southeastern Louisiana University

Tied #7  Danica Smithwick, Union University

Tied #7  Brianna Langley, Lipscomb University

Tied #5  Ashley Lyons, University of Louisiana – Monroe

Tied #5  Holly Duchmann, University of Louisiana – Lafayette

Tied #3  Matthew Wolff, Georgia State University

Tied #3  Patrick Lantrip, University of Memphis

#2  Clara Turnage, University of Mississippi

#1  Joshua Cannon, University of Memphis

Best Opinion/Editorial Writer/ 27 entries

  #10 Adam Quinn, Samford University

  #9 Megan Boyanton, Northwestern State University

#8 Jasmine Fleming, University of North Alabama

#7 John Sadler, Louisiana Tech University

#6 Kyle Waltman, Mississippi State University

#5 Alexis Hosticka, Harding University

#4 Elena Spradlin, Austin Peay State

#3 Mitchell Oliver, Georgia State University

#2 Seth Dickerson, University of Louisiana – Lafayette

#1  Meagan White, Middle Tennessee State University

Best Arts & Entertainment Writer/27 entries

#10 Miranda Brown, Tennessee State University

#9  Natalie Franklin, University of South Alabama

#8  Rachel Brackins, Harding University

#7  Jimmy Lichtenwalter, Samford University

#6  Stephanie Schiraldi, Lipscomb

#5  Zoe McDonald, University of Mississippi

#4  Gus Carrington, University of Memphis

#3  Andrew Wadovick, Austin Peay State University

#2  Stacy Reppond, University of Louisiana – Monroe

#1  John Connor Coulston, Middle Tennessee State University

Best Sports Writer/ 33 entries

 #10 Todd Dean, Tennessee State University

#9  Michael Shipma, Troy University

#8  Ben Wellham, Northwestern State

#7  Matthew Emery, Arkansas Tech University

Tied #5  Sam Chandler, Samford University

Tied #5  Katherine LeJeune, Louisiana State – Shreveport

#4  Omer Yusuf, University of Memphis

#3  Kadin Pounders, University of North Alabama

#2  Samuel Cowan, Belmont University

#1  Dylan Rubino, University of Mississippi

Best Special Event Reporter/Editor/ 16 entries

 #6  Kaleb Turner, Harding University

#5  Jonathan Capriel, University of Memphis

#4  Sean Keenan, Georgia State University

#3  Ethan Steinquest, Austin Peay State

#2  Tierra Smith, Grambling State

#1  Logan Kirkland, University of Mississippi

Best Press Photographer/ 26 entries

#10 David Parks, Union University

#9 Mikalla Cotton, Union University

Tied #8 Logan Kirkland, University of Mississippi

Tied #7 Greg French, Middle Tennessee State University

Tied #4 Erin Turner, Lipscomb University

Tied #4 Hunt Mercier, University of Southern Mississippi

Tied #4  Shelby Watson, Austin Peay State

Tied #2 Courtland Wells, University of Southern Mississippi

Tied #2 Jacob Follin, Mississippi State University

#1  Andrew Hunt, Belmont University

Best News Graphic Designer/ 12 entries

#5 Taylor Bowser, Troy University (ADD)

#4 Lewis West, Austin Peay State

#3 Cina Catteau, Harding University

#2 Kali Daniel, University of North Alabama

#1 Maddie Richardson, Georgia State University

Best News-Editorial Artist/Illustrator/ 8 entries

#4  Seth Nicholson, Troy University

#3  Joey Plunk, University of Tennessee-Martin

#2  John Miller, Georgia State University

#1  Jake Thrasher, University of Mississippi

Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer/ 19 entries

#8 Nicholas Davison, Xavier University

#7 Madisen Theobald, University of Mississippi

#6 Taylor Bowden, Mississippi State University

#5 Sean McCully, Austin Peay State

#4 Caroline Carraway, University of Mississippi

#3  Emily Lasher, Georgia State University

#2  Carmen Blackwell, University of Louisiana – Monroe

#1  Shilo Cupples, University of North Alabama

Best Magazine Page Layout Designer/15 entries

Tied #6 Jared Pekenpaugh, University of Tennessee – Martin

Tied #6 Gopal Gurung, Louisiana State – Shreveport

#5 Clair Per-Lee and Rebeccal Terrell, Samford Univeristy

#4 Jordan Knox, University of South Alabama

#3 Andrew Graham, Union University

#2 Brion Eason, Florida A & M

#1 Braxton White, Florida A& M

Best Magazine Writer/ 9 submissions

#4 Ali Renckens, Union University

#3  Cady Herring, University of Mississippi

#2 Cody Sexton, Louisiana Tech University

#1 Sydney Cromwell, Samford University

Best Television Hard News Reporter/ 9 submissions

Tied #4 Ashleigh Burton, University of Tennessee – Martin

Tied #4 Haley Greathouse, Troy University

#3 Leslie Newman, Lipscomb University

#2 Breana Albizu, Georgia State University

#1  Kelly Savage, University of Mississippi

Best Radio Hard News Reporter/ 4 submissions

#2 Ashley Parmer, Tennessee State University

#1 Sydney LaFreniere, University of Tennessee – Martin

Best Television News Feature Reporter/ 13 submissions

#9   Brittany Clark, University of Mississippi

#8  Jake Jones, Mississippi State University

#7  Tierra Robinson, University of West Alabama

#6  Emily Proud, Belmont University 

Tied #4  Brittany Robinson, Southeastern Louisiana University

Tied #4  Ben Goodman, Austin Peay University

#3  Tyler Wayne Smith, University of Louisiana – Monroe

#2  Alex Ro, Georgia State University

#1  Caroline Saunders, Samford University

Best Radio News Feature Reporter/ 9 submissions

#4  Morgan Burger, University of Mississippi

#3  Natalie King, University of Tennessee – Martin

#2 Riley Mueller, University of Mississippi

#1  Erin Thomas, Middle Tennessee State University

Best Radio Journalist/ 6 submissions

#3 Tori Seng, University of Tennessee – Martin

#2 Steven Gagliano, University of Mississippi

#1 David Caddell, Troy University

Best Television Journalist/ 12 entries

Tied #6 Yvonne Thomas, Samford University

Tied #6 Dominique Brogle, Southeastern Louisiana University

#5 Kristen Gautreaux, Nicholls State

Tied #3 Jamal Goss, Georgia State University

Tied #3 Browning Stubbs, University of Mississippi

#2 Ryan Renfrow, Troy University

#1 Heather Black, Mississippi State University

Best Advertising Staff Member/6 entries

#3 Danielle Shearer, Southeastern Louisiana University

#2 Kelsey Shumate, University of Mississippi

#1  Katelyn Clark, Austin Peay State

Best Journalism Research Paper

#4  Hailey Lange, Southeastern Louisiana University

#3 Hayley Taylor, University of West Alabama

#2 Anna McCollum, University of Mississippi

#1  Rachel Stanback, Samford University

College Journalist of the Year/ 18 submissions

#10 Sarah Grace Taylor, Middle Tennessee State University

#9 Danica Smithwick, Union University

#8 Erin Turner, Lipscomb University

#7 Tierra Smith, Grambling State

#6 Emily Featherston, Samford University

#5 Ciara Frisbie, Georgia State University

#4 Grishma Rimal, Troy University

#3 Holly Duchmann, University of Louisiana – Lafayette

#2 Eric Craig, Xavier University

#1 Sudu Upadhyay, University of Mississippi

Best Multimedia Journalist/ 9 submissions

Tied #3 Brianna Champion, University of West Alabama

Tied #3 Sarah Grace Taylor, Middle Tennessee State University

#2 Taylor Slifko, Austin Peay State

#1 Erin Turner, Lipscomb University

Best Public Service Journalism/ 9 submissions

#4  University of Mississippi

#3  Charles Bailey, Georgia State University

#2 Katelyn Clark, Taylor Slifko, Sarah Eskildson, Austin Peay State

#1  Cardinal & Cream, Partnership with Lane College, Union University

Best College Audio News Program/ 5 submissions

#2 University of Louisiana – Monroe

#1 University of Tennessee – Martin

Best College Video News Program/ 11 submissions

#5 Lipscomb University

Tied #3 Southeastern Louisiana University

Tied #3 Georgia State University

#2 Belmont

#1 Troy University

Best College Magazine/11 submissions

Tied #4 Georgia State University

Tied #4 University of North Alabama

Tied #4 Samford University

#3 Louisiana Tech University

#2 Florida A & M

#1 Union University

Best College Newspaper/ 23 submissions

Ranked #10 Grambling State University

  #9 University of Tennessee – Martin

#8 Troy University

Tied #5 University of Southern Mississippi

Tied #5 University of North Alabama

Tied #5 Mississippi State University

#4 Middle Tennessee State University

Tied #2 Louisiana Tech University

Tied #2 Georgia State University

#1 Austin Peay State University

Best College Website/ 26 submissions

#10 University of Mississippi

#9 Louisiana Tech

#8 University of Southern Mississippi

#7 Lipscomb University

#6 Florida A & M

#5 University of Louisiana – Lafayette

#4 Belmont University

#3 Austin Peay State University

#2 Arkansas Tech University

#1 Middle Tennessee State University

Best College Radio Station #10/ 4 submissions

#2 Southeastern Louisiana University

#1 University of Tennessee – Martin

Best College Television Station/ 8 submissions

#4 Samford University

#3 University of Tennessee – Martin

#2 Troy University

#1 Southeastern Louisiana University

Lecturer/Assistant Professor position available at UT-Martin

The Department of Communications at The University of Tennessee at Martin has an opening for a lecturer or tenure-track assistant professor to teach Public Relations and additional courses, beginning Aug. 1, 2016. A master’s degree in public relations, strategic communication, mass communication with an emphasis in public relations, communication with an emphasis in public relations studies, or related field is required.

A minimum of 18 graduate hours in speech communication or communication studies is required. A Ph.D. is required for assistant professor rank. An ABD is required for instructor rank.

The person holding this position will teach Public Relations primarily and/or Public Speaking courses. Salary is negotiable.

Interested persons should apply online at and attached a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching and research philosophy, name and contact information for three references and copies of transcripts. Any questions may be submitted to Dr. Richard Robinson at Deadline for applications is January 15, 2016. The department will begin a review of applications on January 19, 2016 and the search will continue until the position is filled.


The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/ Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

A bright future for newspapers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAddressing a crowd of aspiring journalists, John Georges, owner and publisher of The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La., predicted a “bright future” not only for his newspaper but for all news media as the younger generation enters the industry.

“Don’t listen to anything they’re saying about your futures,” Georges told the nearly 300 students and faculty members from 31 colleges at the SEJC Onsite Awards Luncheon in Lafayette on Saturday, Feb. 22. “It’s going to be really exciting.”

Although print readership has been in decline, Georges said, he believes the newspaper industry is entering an age of “revolution.”

“We have young people with technology, video and social networking – all these things that are breaking through the norm and breaking the model,” he said. “I think we’re going back to those revolutionary people that started journalism in its earlier days.”

Georges, 53, purchased The Advocate, the largest daily newspaper in Louisiana, from the Manship family in May 2013.

As a New Orleans businessman, Georges said, he’s confident in his ability to turn a business around and sustain it.

The Advocate is already seeing progress. Under new ownership, it has become one of the few publications in the U.S. to expand its coverage and circulation.

“The Advocate is in a unique situation,” Georges said.

The paper has separate editions in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette, which are all surrounded by prosperous suburban areas, he explained.

When the New Orleans Times-Picayune cut its print edition to three days a week in 2012, The Advocate, then under the Manships, came out with The New Orleans Advocate, an enhanced and rebranded edition to compete as a daily newspaper. The company was also able to pick up employees who lost their jobs at the Picayune, Georges said.

“We knew the New Orleans readers wanted to read, and they wanted to read the paper they had grown up with,” he said. “They couldn’t have the Times-Picayune. It’s the paper by name but no longer the paper they’re accustomed to.

“They’re accustomed to reading the seven-day paper,” he continued. “We were able to provide them with seven-day delivery with many of the writers they were accustomed to.”

The New Orleans Advocate is actually making money, Georges said, which makes up for any money the paper could be losing at home in Baton Rouge.

With the same initiative in mind, the company also rebranded the Lafayette edition to become The Acadiana Advocate.

Georges said in both Lafayette and New Orleans, the paper is competing with nationally owned chains, which aren’t as flexible as a locally owned newspaper like The Advocate.

“They have to be profit-driven,” he said. “They can’t do illogical things; they can’t invest in ideas that may or may not pan out because they have to make a profit.”

Louisiana has more than 100 newspapers. Georges said he believes they will consolidate over time and print editions will survive, but the economic side must be left up to business people.

“We’re delivering the newspaper to your home for $1 or less,” he said. “It’s the best bargain in America, and I believe over time people will pay more for that.”

Asked about the relationship between the business side and the editorial staff, Georges replied that the general manager and editors at The Advocate run the paper and control the content because, as journalists, they know best.

“A strong paper never folds over to an advertiser,” he said.

Despite the skeptics, Georges remained hopeful and excited about what’s coming next for the journalism industry.

“I think your future is safe,” he said to the students. “I think it’s going to be different. Everything’s different, but I’d much rather be a journalist today than a med student or a lawyer.”

Elliott instills the value of original reporting

Elliott 1NPR reporter Debbie Elliott detailed the success the public radio network has seen in recent years, saying it provides “perspective about what’s been happening in journalism in the last decade.”

Addressing the Best of the South Awards Banquet during SEJC’s 28th annual convention in Lafayette on Friday, Feb. 21, Elliott, NPR’s Southern regional correspondent, said NPR has about 34 million listeners each week, 27 million of whom tune in exclusively to the station’s news programs. Even though journalism has declined nationally — with newspapers losing 22 percent of their readers and news networks losing 29 percent of their viewers over the last 10 years — she said NPR has seen a 19-percent hike in listeners.

“Why?” she inquired, holding a jar of tar balls and a tooth from a nutria rat. “These help us answer that question.”

The two props helped illustrate the significance of the kind of stories NPR produces, said the 51-year-old reporter based in Orange Beach, Ala. She called them “evidence I left my computer screen, hung up my telephone and I went somewhere,” telling the more than 290 college students and faculty in attendance that that is “90 percent of your success as a journalist.”

“Your very best work is going to happen when you’re out there on the ground and adapting to what you’re learning and seeing,” said Elliott, a former NPR Capitol Hill correspondent and weekend host of the popular program “All Things Considered.”

Elliott, an Atlanta native and University of Alabama alumna who has worked at NPR since 1995, has extensively covered the 2010 BP oil spill — from which she acquired her collection of tar balls. She said she has produced 136 stories on the subject, covering its lingering, widespread effects that include damage inflicted on economic, ecological and legal levels.

The experience gained through the coverage, she said, has made her a relative expert in oil spills. Because of that, Elliott said, NPR is sending her to Alaska to cover the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill, which was considered to be the biggest in U.S. history until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill — as the BP spill is often called — dethroned it four years ago.

“I can tell you the difference between a tar ball and a tar patty,” Elliott said. “There’s a vocabulary to this, and I can tell it to you because I experienced the story.”

Elliott laughed when she said she did not kill the nutria from which the tooth came, but she said she “covered the man who did because they were eating up the marsh in Louisiana.”

With animated imagery, Elliott recalled reporting on nutria “chompin’ up all the marshes,” partly causing Louisiana to lose its wetlands at an alarming rate.

“I actually took my microphone into the swamp to see what they do, and I was able to explain to our listeners in a very vivid way what this issue was,” Elliott said. “That’s something I think NPR does better than just about anybody.”

The Atlanta native explained NPR has 15 U.S. bureaus and 17 foreign ones. Saying that NPR listeners “actually get to experience” what they hear, Elliott described the network’s stories as ones “you can actually touch, feel and smell.”

“It’s important to have people all over the country to reflect the people all over the country,” she said of NPR’s wide coverage. “If people are actually in those communities, it’s much easier to tell real stories about real people.”

Elliot — who has reported only for radio since her first job as a sophomore at the University of Alabama’s public radio station —used these examples to “instill the value of original reporting” in her audience.

“You’ll find there’s not just this side and that side to a story,” she said. “There’s history, there’s context, there’s nuance to a story. See for yourself, look for yourself what the real story is.

“There’s always more to a story,” Elliott continued, “and that’s your job as a journalist to get at that.”

SEJC announces “Best of the South” 2013 contest winners at 28th annual convention

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Southeastern Journalism Conference named University of Alabama senior Abbey Crain as 2013 College Journalist of the Year, and The University of Mississippi led all eligible schools with 19 awards in the SEJC’s annual “Best of the South” contest.

The awards, chosen from 440 qualified entries from 35 universities, were announced at the SEJC’s annual convention, hosted by The University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Feb. 20-22.

Crain, a senior majoring in journalism, was honored for her reporting on a series of articles, most notably her work on the “The Final Barrier,” a story detailing allegations of racism within the sorority recruitment process at The University of Alabama. She received a $1,000 cash prize from SEJC as part of the award.

The SEJC also chose Tomi Parrish, journalism instructor and coordinator of the Office of Student Media at The University of Tennessee at Martin, as Educator of the Year.

Overall, 169 students from 34 universities were ranked in the 30 “Best of the South” categories. The SEJC consists of 51 member universities in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

The University of Mississippi led all schools with 19 awards, followed by Tennessee State University with 17, and The University of Alabama and Georgia State University tied with 16 each. Others with students in the final rankings included: Troy University (13 awards); University of Louisiana at Lafayette (12); Georgia College and State University (10); Samford University (11); Southeastern Louisiana University (9); Lipscomb University (9); University of Tennessee at Martin (8); Louisiana Tech University (6); Florida A&M University (6); Mississippi State University (5); University of Memphis (5); Austin Peay State University (5); Arkansas State University (5); Grambling State University (5); University of South Alabama (5); Nicholls State University (5); University of North Alabama (5); University of West Alabama (5); University of West Florida (4); Union University (4); University of Louisiana at Monroe (4); University of Alabama at Birmingham (4); Harding University (4); Belmont University (3); Middle Tennessee State University (2); Mississippi College (1); Xavier University (1); University of Tennessee (1); University of Louisiana at Shreveport (1); and Arkansas Tech University (1).

For a complete list of winners, please click here.

The Globe is hiring: summer contract for an interactive journalist

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Dec. 04 2013, 2:54 PM EST

Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 04 2013, 2:54 PM EST

The Globe and Mail is seeking an interactive journalist for a three-month, full-time summer contract job.

The right candidate will join a team of multimedia journalists to create interactive content, data visualizations and multimedia presentations for mobile, online and in print.

Working with reporters and editors, this “journalist-developer” will help craft new storytelling formats while using The Globe’s existing tools to tell stories in the best way possible on and its mobile and tablet products.

Here are some examples of the types of projects (large and small) you may be working on:

Last moments of Lac-Mégantic: Survivors share their stories

Portraits of the lost of Lac-Mégantic

The Wealth Paradox multimedia feature

Proof that young adults have it worse than 30 years ago

Crossing the line: Chronicling Mexico’s drug war

Live by-election results

19 incredible things you must see at Nuit Blanche

Highlights from the Throne Speech


The right candidate will have a rich portfolio demonstrating his/her background in journalism and his/her comprehensive knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Javascript or jQuery. Other relevant skills would include Photoshop, Excel, Python, PHP and Javascript libraries including Raphael, D3 and Bootstrap. Knowledge of mobile design and social media would be essential. Moreover, the selected candidate should have a passion for multimedia storytelling and a desire to innovate.

We accept expressions of interest by e-mail only. No phone calls, please!

The deadline for applications is noon ET, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Interviews will be conducted after that.

Please e-mail the following to

Resume, including relevant experience, as an attachment.

A 100-word explanation of what you would bring to The Globe or its digital operations.

Examples of your work as noted above.

The large volume of applicants we receive every year means we cannot respond to everyone who applies. But you will hear from us shortly after the deadline if you are chosen for an interview. If you are chosen for an interview, please spend a little time with The Globe and Mail and our digital products before we see you.