Journalism Excellence Recognized at SEJC

The Cardinal & Cream staff won 14 awards—the highest total of any school in the South—in the 2011 Southeast Journalism Conference’s “Best of the South” competition. The awards were announced Feb. 10-11 during the annual conference at UT-Martin.

SEJC only allows one student from each school per category and that student cannot enter another category, which means our students ranked in 14 of the 15 categories they entered. So it’s literally our “best” student in each category against the “best” from the other schools that entered this year’s contest. SEJC schools come from eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. Forty-one schools in the South entered this year’s journalism competition for a total of 418 total entries in 26 categories.

“To put that award total in perspective, the school closest to us in total awards was East Carolina University with 9 awards, and Ole Miss and Alabama with 8 awards each. We were ranked No. 3 in the “Best College Newspaper” category behind Auburn and East Carolina. That’s the category in which we were the reigning No. 1, but it’s difficult to repeat (i.e., no school has ever done that), so I’m pleased we ranked high again this year.” said Dr. Michael Chute, Professor of Communication Arts and Adviser of the Cardinal & Cream.

Ranked behind us as the best college newspaper are (in order) Austin Peay, Alabama, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, West Florida, MTSU and Tennessee Tech. Besides Union, no other school ranked in the Top-5 in both newspaper and website, and besides us, only East Carolina, Alabama and West Florida ranked in the Top-10 in both categories. Our Baptist friends with their award totals in parenthesis are Belmont (3), Samford (3) and Mississippi College (2). Vanderbilt did not win any awards in this year’s competition, and Ole Miss did not make the Top-10 in the best newspaper category.

Two of our students — Margaret Brinson and Alex Brown — did something no school has done since I’ve been associated with the SEJC (and possibly ever) by being ranked No. 3 and No. 5, respectively, in the top student category, College Journalist of the Year. That is very exciting as that category always includes the very best students from the other schools in SEJC. No other school had two students rank in that category. And, Margaret was awarded $250 in prize money for her No. 3 ranking.

In the On-Site competition at UT-Martin, our students ranked No. 2 in the overall team rankings behind Ole Miss. That’s the highest we’ve ever ranked in the on-site competition as No. 3 was our previous highest ranking four years ago when the conference was hosted by Belmont. Alex Brown ranked No. 1 in News Writing, Margaret Brinson ranked No. 2 in Copy Editing, and Grace Ferrell ranked No. 2 in Current Events. James Summerlin and Katherine Pullen took Honorable Mention in Sports Writing and Feature Writing, respectively. That means our students placed in all three of the writing contests. Again, per SEJC rules, we could only put one student in each category, and that student could not enter any other category.

In the Best of the South competition, Katlyn Moncada ranked No. 1 in Best Multimedia Journalist categoy. Katherine Pullen took the No. 1 ranking in Best Journalism Research Paper and teamed up with Margaret Brinson and Ebbie Davis to rank No. 1 in Best Public Service Journalism. Ebbie Davis was also ranked No. 2 in Best Press Photographer, and James Summerlin and William Rowland ranked No. 4 in Best Sports Writer and No. 4 in Best Advertising Staff Member, respectively.

Here is the complete list of Cardinal & Cream winners:

Cardinal & Cream, Best College Newspaper (No. 3)
Cardinal & Cream, Best College Website (No. 4)
Katlyn Moncada, Best Multimedia Journalist (No. 1)
Katherine Pullen, Ebbie Davis, Margaret Brinson, Best Public Service Journalism (No. 1)
Katherine Pullen, Best Journalism Research Paper (No. 1)
Ebbie Davis, Best Press Photographer (No. 2)
James Summerlin, Best Sports Writer (No. 4)
William Rowland, Best Advertising Staff Member (No. 4)
Margaret Brinson, Best Opinion-Editorial Writer (No. 5), College Journalist of the Year (No. 3)
Alex Brown, Best News Reporter (No. 9); College Journalist of the Year (No. 5)
Kristen Marks, Best Newspaper Page Layout Designer (No. 9)
Treasure Hightower, Best News Graphic Designer (No. 10)

On-Site Competition
Alex Brown, News Writing (No. 2)
Margaret Brinson, Copy Editing (No. 2)
Grace Ferrell, Current Events (No. 2)
James Summerlin, Sports Writing (Honorable Mention)
Katherine Pullen, Feature Writing (Honorable Mention)

“I’m very proud of our Cardinal & Cream staff for winning the 14 awards in the SEJC ‘Best of the South’ competition and for the No. 2 team ranking in the On-Site competition.” Chute said.