UM Students Take Top Prize at Southeast Regional Journalism Conference

SEJC includes 30 member institutions in seven states

OXFORD, Miss. – University of Mississippi students brought home the top prize in the recent onsite competitions at the Southeast Journalism Conference in Hattiesburg. 

SEJC is a journalism organization with more than 30 member universities and colleges in seven states. SEJC sponsors two major contests each year: the onsite competitions and the Best of the South awards for best student work published or broadcast during the past year.

UM students won 17 awards in the Best of the South contest, presented during a banquet. The Best of the South awards included four first-place awards, four second-place honors and four third-place awards. In some Best of the South writing categories, more than 40 entries were considered, and judges can award up to 10th place in those competitive categories.

The awards received by Ole Miss students are:

Online competition: 15 categories. Students cover an assignment on deadline during the conference, competing against students at the conference from other universities.

University of Mississippi: First-place Grand Champions for the Onsite Competition, based on total points for the overall contest. UM students won seven awards in the onsite contests.

First place:

  • Kenneth Niemeyer, News Writing
  • Madison Scarpino, TV Anchoring

Second place:

  • Griffin Neal, Feature Writing
  • Sarah Biedermann, Karsyn King, Hannah Williamson, Public Relations Team

Third place:

  • Daniel Payne, Design/Page Layout
  • Matthew Hendley and Lydazja Turner, TV News Reporting
  • Will Stribling, Radio News Reporting

Best of the South – Entries must have published Nov. 15, 2018, through Nov. 14, 2019. Each entry includes up to three examples of the student’s work.

First place:

  • Griffin Neal, Best Feature Writer
  • Will Stribling, Best Radio Journalist
  • Georgia Huddleston, Best Advertising Staff Member (advertising design)
  • Devna Bose, Best Multimedia Journalist, for her project on emotional health in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (category based on 3 formats used by a student to cover a single story)

Second place:

  • Kenneth Niemeyer, Best Special Event Reporter
  • Skye Spiehler, Best TV Journalist
  • Hayden Wiggs, Best Radio Feature Reporter
  • Rebel Radio, Best Radio Station

Third place:

  • Daniel Payne, Best News Writer
  • Camryn Sidley, Best TV News Reporter
  • Lasherica Thornton, Best Journalism Research Paper
  • Rebel Radio, Best Audio Newscast

Fourth place:

  • Gita Viswanathan and Jesus Escobedo, Best Advertising Staff Member (broadcast commercial)

Fifth place:

  • Billy Schuerman, Best Press Photographer

Seventh place:

  • Katie Dames, Best Opinion/Editorial Writer

Eighth place:

  • Josh Clayton, Best Sports Writer

Tenth place:

  • Daniel Payne, College Journalist of the Year

The University of Southern Mississippi hosted this year’s conference on Feb. 13-15. USM reported that 275 students and advisers registered for the conference, and 180 students participated in the 15 onsite competitions.