The staffs of the Daily Mississippian and NewsWatch Ole Miss won 20 awards, including nine for first place, in the 2020 Society of Professional Journalist Mark of Excellence Region 12 competition.
Hadley Hitson, the managing editor of The Daily Mississippian for the 2020-2021 school year, expressed that The Daily Mississippian staff would not have gotten far without the collective teamwork.
“Apart from the overall awards the paper won, every staff member who won an individual award was more than deserving,” Hitson said. “We wouldn’t be able to have the best website or best paper without having the best articles and reporters.”
The Daily Mississippian was named Best All-Around Student Newspaper and Best Affiliated Website for the entire region. Five DM staff members won first place awards for the following: John Hydrisko for general column writing, Kenneth Niemeyer for COVID newspaper, magazine and online category, Morgan O’Neal for feature writing, Billy Schuerman for COVID-19 Digital (Still) Photography and Kelby Zenedejas for sports writing.
Noe, who was the editor-in-chief this school year, expressed her excitement for being awarded Best All-Around Student Newspaper and Best Affiliated Website.
“This year’s staff was dealt a particularly difficult hand after the pandemic began, so pushing toward a digital-first approach to coverage and rethinking our print presence definitely paid off,” Noe said.
NewsWatch Ole Miss also had one report win first place. Lydazja Turner won for COVID-19 video coverage.
Tucker Robbins and Lucy Burnam won for online feature reporting in a graduate student project.
Entries are first judged on the regional level, and the first place winners at the regional level then advance to a national competition. UM students were named as finalists in 11 categories, which is comparable to second or third place.
Rebel Radio was a finalist for radio newscast.
The Daily Mississippian had finalists in the following categories: Hadley Hitson for general news reporting, Eliza Noe for breaking news reporting, Billy Schuerman for general news photography, feature photography, sports photography and breaking news photography, and Kelby Zenejas for COVID-19 newspaper, magazine, online category.
NewsWatch Ole Miss also had a finalist: DeAndria Turner for TV breaking news.
Julia James was a finalist for online feature reporting published on HottyToddy.com, and Amanda Nikhazy and Tia Jackson for online/digital feature videography published on HottyToddy.com.
An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that Rebel Radio won an award for radio newscast. Rebel Radio was a finalist for radio newscast. The article also incorrectly attributed stories that were published on HottyToddy.com and as graduate student projects as NewsWatch awards.