Assistant Dean of the School of Journalism and New Media Patricia Thompson was honored as Educator of the Year at the 33rd annual Southeast Journalism Conference last weekend.
“I had no idea I was even nominated for the award, so it was a complete surprise to me,” Thompson said. “I’m still pretty emotional about it. Journalism has been my passion since I was elected editor of my school newsletter when I was 11 years old. I’ve been teaching here and in charge of student media for almost 10 years, and it has truly been a dream job.”
Middle Tennessee State University hosted the 2019 conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with over 300 students and advisers in attendance.
Thompson was nominated for the honor by current and former students, and she was chosen by a committee of the three most recent recipients of the award. After graduating from the University of Missouri, Thompson worked for The Washington Post and taught at Northwestern University. She was also a part of the San Jose Mercury News staff that was awarded the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for general news reporting.
“Assistant Dean Thompson has been a leader for many years in journalism education,” said Will Norton, the dean of the School of Journalism and New Media. “As the executive director of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, she is the major player in maintaining the quality of journalism education around the world.”
University of Mississippi students also won awards in the two regional contests sponsored by the conference. The Best of the South contest honors the work of student journalists from throughout the previous year, and the on-site competitions gave students the opportunity to compete on deadline during the conference.
In the Best of the South competition, The Daily Mississippian was awarded fifth place for Best College Newspaper. It was the only daily newspaper competing for Best of the South.
“I’m incredibly proud of our staff’s work over the last year, and I think this showing among a field of weekly and monthly papers is a testament to some incredible dedication and hard work over here,” Slade Rand, editor-in-chief of The Daily Mississippian, said. “It was really cool to get that award, even if it is simply a reminder that other people do notice what we do.”
Also in the Best of the South contest, NewsWatch Ole Miss’s Madison Scarpino won first place for TV hard news reporting.
Second place Best of the South awards included Devna Bose for feature writing, Elizabeth Blackstock, Katie Campbell and Jessi Dressler for journalism research paper and Rebel Radio for radio news audio program.
Third place awards included Hayden Benge for news graphic design, DeAndria Turner for radio journalism and Rebel Radio for radio station.
Other individual awards included: Mary Clair Kelly, who won fifth place for TV news feature reporting; Slade Rand, who won sixth place for news writing; Liam Nieman, who won seventh place place for arts and entertainment writing; Jaz Brisack, who won seventh place for opinion-editorial writing and Brittany Brown, who won eighth place for College Journalist of the Year.
“I’ve worked with some super talented young journalists who have graduated and are doing great work as professional journalists, and I know this year’s staff will do the same,” Thompson said. “Every day, I marvel at how hard they work under deadline pressure to produce such outstanding content to keep the community informed.”
In addition to 13 Best of the South awards, the University of Mississippi also won second place for the Grand Championship of on-site competitions with seven individual wins.
“I was absolutely thrilled for our students that won awards at SEJC, especially the on-site awards,” NewsWatch Ole Miss Station Manager Abbie McIntosh said. “Those awards showed everyone and ourselves, that we know how to produce good work under pressure and tight deadlines. Like I’ve said before, everyone puts in hard work and dedication, day in and day out, and to win some awards is a really good feeling.”
Matthew Hendley won first place in the on-site competition for TV anchoring, and Hayden Benge, Hailey McKee and Davis Roberts won first place as a team for public relations.
Second place awards went to Devna Bose for feature writing and Abbie McIntosh and Madison Scarpino for TV reporting.
Third place awards went to Liam Nieman for arts and entertainment writing and Slade Rand for news writing.