ACU JMC students receive top regional awards, continue to nationals

Posted March 10, 2010 NewsroomAbilene Christian University's innovative Journalism and Mass Communication department has triumphed again.  Students competing at the annual Society of Professional Journalists Region 8 conference came home with four awards.  Those same students will now face their peers in the national SPJ competition.

The Optimist, ACU's twice-weekly student newspaper, won first place as the Best All Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper among publications at four-year colleges and universities. Members of the staff also received awards for individual excellence.  Daniel Johnson-Kim, Michael Freeman, Colter Hettich and Kelline Linton won first place in General News Reporting for their coverage of the impeachment of the students' association president in 2009.

Johnson-Kim, Linton, Laura Acuff, Linda Bailey and Chelsea Hackney won first place in Editorial Writing for three editorials.

Jozie Sands won third place in Breaking News Photography for her photo at the scene of a downtown fire.

"The staff won in areas where the subjects are serious, covering student government and ensuring those who control student funds are appropriately fulfilling their duties," says Kenneth Pybus, ACU's student media adviser. "The students realize that they're educating and encouraging readers to be interested in what's important on campus."

ACU students competed against the largest universities in the region, which includes all of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. The first-place winners from each category will move on to compete in that category at the national SPJ competition. National winners will be honored at the 2010 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference in Las Vegas.