University of Mississippi students brought home six first-place wins and 14 awards total in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 12 Mark of Excellence annual awards contest.
The Daily Mississippian won first place for best daily newspaper, and NewsWatch Ole Miss won first place for best television newscast.
Clara Turnage, Daily Mississippian editor-in-chief, won two first-place writing awards. Ariel Cobbert, DM photo editor, won a first-place photography award. NewsWatch’s Payton Green and Lauren Layton teamed up to win first place for television breaking news.
Ole Miss, which competes in categories against other large colleges, won more awards than any other university in the Region 12 competition.
“I cannot remember Ole Miss students doing better than they did in this year’s contest,” said Will Norton, dean of the Meek School of Journalism & New Media. “It is an amazing statement about the kind of work the Student Media Center has distributed this year. The M
eek School congratulates students who were honored and expresses our gratitude and respect to those faculty who worked with them. We are proud of each of you.”
Region 12 includes universities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. SPJ selects one winner and two finalists in each category. The awards – for work published, broadcast or posted in 2016 – were announced at the regional conference on April 1 in Knoxville, Tennessee. First-place winners move on to compete against the first-place winners in the other 11 regions for national awards. National winners and finalists are expected to be announced in late spring, and honored at the SPJ national convention in September in Anaheim, California.
In the best newspaper category, entries must include three issues. The Daily Mississippian’s winning entries were April 21, October 27 and November 17.
DM Editor-in-Chief Clara Turnage not only led her staff to the best newspaper awards, but also won first place for general news reporting for “Confronting the Trust Deficit,” an article published in spring 2016 examining the university’s relationship with the IHL board, and first place for feature writing for “They Never Stopped Searching,” an article published during her summer 2016 internship at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock. Turnage also won a finalist award in feature writing for “A beautiful multitude: The ordination of Reverend Gail Stratton” published in the DM in fall 2016.
In the best television category, one newscast is entered. The winning show for NewsWatch was broadcast on April 18, when Payton Green was manager. Green also teamed with Lauren Layton for the first-place TV breaking news award for a package headlined “ASB Resolution,” and he was a finalist for online feature reporting for “Coming Out in the Christian South.”
DM Photography editor Ariel Cobbert won the breaking news photography competition with a photo from the “Occupy the Ole Miss Lyceum” protest in fall 2016.
Other finalist awards went to:
theDMonline.com, best affiliated website.
Daily Mississippian staff, online news reporting, “Ole Miss Lyceum Protest.”
Lana Ferguson, non-fiction magazine article, “Taking Care of Their Own,” from the Mississippi Miracle depth report.
Brian Scott Rippee, sports column writing, “Kelly leaves a legacy as one of the best.”
Jake Thrasher, editorial cartoons.
“What a spectacular year for our student journalists,” said Patricia Thompson, Meek School assistant dean for student media. “Our students have been honored so often in the past few weeks, it has been hard to keep track. The awards covered a wide range of content – news, features, sports, visuals, television, radio, multimedia. Students work many hours each to week to provide information for the campus and community, and they are getting great experience that has helped them land great jobs and internships.”