Troy University student media returned from the Southeast Journalism Conference with 12 awards, the most Troy has ever received at a single convention, in the “Best of the South” 2015 competition.
TrojanVision secured five SEJC awards, taking first place in the best college video news program and second place for the best college television station.
The Tropolitan won six awards, including eighth place for best college newspaper.
“I think we have the best students on the planet here at Troy,” said Jeff Spurlock, director of the Hall School of Journalism and Communication. “The most rewarding aspect of the conference was seeing them win these awards.”
The purpose of the Southeast Journalism Conference is “to encourage greater interest in student journalism and to create closer ties among journalism schools in the Southeast United States,” according to its website.
In November, journalism students were encouraged to submit their work to be judged by non-SEJC-affiliated, credible sources.
This year, 10 Troy students attended the three-day conference held in Clarksville, Tennessee, on the campus of Austin Peay State University.
Throughout the weekend, participants convened to hear from reporters and professors from other colleges and universities in the Southeast. A formal banquet on Friday night acknowledged the award winners.
During the conference, there was also an opportunity for students in attendance to compete in several categories.
Jordyn Elston, a senior broadcast journalism major from Birmingham, received first place for best on-site television news anchor.
“I learned that I’m better at performing live and when I got into that mindset for the competition, I performed well,” Elston said. “I was not expecting to win, and I’m so glad I got to represent Troy in this way.”
Alumnus David Caddell won first place as the best radio journalist for the second consecutive year.
“I never expected to win this year or last year,” Caddell said. “This really validates my work as a journalist, and I hope to turn this into more opportunities in the future.”
TrojanVision anchors and reporters Ryan Renfrow and Haley Greathouse received second place for the best television journalist and fourth place for best hard news television reporter, respectively.
Grishma Rimal, news editor for the Tropolitan, was awarded fourth place for college journalist of the year.
Sports editor Michael Shipma acquired ninth place as best sports writer, and features editor Tori Roper placed 10th as best feature writer.
Fourth place for best news editorial artist or illustrator was given to alumnus Seth Nicholson.
Fifth place for best news graphic designer was awarded to alumna Taylor Bowser.
“The conference was very educational, and my favorite part was hearing from and learning from reporters that are fresh out of college,” Renfrow said. “One thing I learned was how to make myself appealing and attractive to future employers when applying for jobs after college.”
Spurlock, Elston and Caddell all said they encouraged journalism students to enter their work in upcoming competitions.
“Nothing ventured is nothing gained,” Caddell said. “You are entering for a chance to win, and the worst they can tell you is ‘no.’ ”
Elston said that there are only benefits associated with competitions like these.
“Just go for it,” she said. “It can only help you, not hurt you.”
Spurlock said that he hopes next year’s conference will be bigger and better.
“Perseverance is key,” he said.