Cardinal & Cream Named Best Newspaper in the South

The Cardinal & Cream, the student newspaper of Union University, was named the best college newspaper in the South during the Southeast Journalism Conference Feb. 17-19 at Troy University.

“I am extremely proud of our students and the extraordinary effort they put into each issue of the Cardinal & Cream,” said Michael Chute, professor of communication arts at Union and faculty adviser to the publication. “Their showing in the SEJC competition is validation of their journalistic ability, hard work on the newspaper and dedication to the university as they attempt to provide the best student newspaper possible for the campus community.”

Chute and Jim Veneman, assistant professor of communication arts, took 10 Cardinal & Cream staff members to this year’s SEJC conference.

This year marked the first time for the Cardinal & Cream to reach the No. 1 ranking in the “Best College Newspaper” category in the “Best of the South” competition. Union’s student newspaper has placed in the top 10 in six of the last seven years, previously ranking as high as second in 2005. Last year, the Cardinal & Cream ranked fifth in the South.

The top five ranked schools in the “Best College Newspaper” category this year were Union, Mississippi State University, Louisiana Tech University, West Florida University and Southeastern Louisiana University.

The rankings are among 33 schools eligible to submit entries from eight states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee — including the University of Alabama, Auburn, Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Mississippi, to name a few.

“I am so proud of the Cardinal & Cream staff for their hard work the past few years,” said Union senior Angela Abbamonte, editor-in-chief of the newspaper. “We have gone into each issue of the Cardinal & Cream trying to improve, and those efforts have shown in all aspects of the newspaper. I am thankful we could represent Union University in a regional competition such as the Southeast Journalism Conference.”

In addition to the top ranking for college newspapers, the Cardinal & Cream’s website,, was ranked No. 2 in the “Best College Website” category.

The top five ranked schools in the website category were Belmont University, Union, the University of Alabama, Florida A&M University and Harding University. Only four schools — Union, Alabama, Harding and West Florida — ranked in both of these top categories, with Union ranking the highest in both categories.

Union students also fared well individually, ranking in 10 of the 19 categories. Only the University of Memphis had more overall winning entries with 11, and Union tied the University of Mississippi, Florida A&M and Southeast Louisiana with 10 each.

Union’s individual winners were:

—Katherine Pullen, junior, and Sarah Palmer, senior, ranked No. 1 in the “Multimedia Journalist” category.

— Margaret Brinson, junior, ranked No. 2 in the “Feature Writer” category.

—Abbamonte ranked No. 4 in the “Journalist of the Year” category, the top individual award SEJC gives, and No. 10 in the “News Reporter” category.

— Beth Spain, senior, ranked No. 3 in the “Press Photographer” category. She ranked first in this category last year.

— Katie Shatzer, who graduated in December, ranked No. 1 in “Journalism Research Paper” and No. 5 as “Editorial-Opinion Writer.”

— In the “Newspaper Page Layout Designer” category, Erica Davis, senior, ranked No. 3, and Rachel Golias, senior, ranked No. 7.

— Alex Brown, junior, ranked No. 7 in the “Sports Reporter” category.

Union journalism students also did well in the onsite competition in which 151 students competed in 14 individual categories. Whitney Jones, junior, ranked second in “News Reporting,” Abbamonte ranked third in “Feature Writing” and Courtney Searcy, sophomore, ranked third in the “Media Ethics” category. Only the top three students in each category received awards.