Over the weekend of Feb. 9-11, student journalists from Samford traveled to Thibodaux, La. for the annual Southeastern Journalism Conference (SEJC), where they attended informative sessions, networked with fellow journalists and competed in a variety of on-site competitions, taking home a plethora of awards and insights in the process.
The conference was hosted at Nicholls State University, bringing together collegiate journalists and advisors from over 35 schools across the American Southeast.
At Friday night’s awards ceremony for the Best of the South Collegiate Journalism Competition, several members of the Samford Crimson staff were awarded for their contributions to the school paper. The recipients include Kaylee Bhasin, who won second place for Best Sports Writer, Connor Loyd, who placed ninth for Best Arts & Entertainment Writer, and Rebekah Crozier, who took home sixth place for Best Special Events Reporter.
Apart from the Crimson, many other Samford journalism students and organizations walked away with accolades of their own. Gabby Bass-Butler, the former editor-in-chief of Samford magazine The Local, earned first place for Best Magazine Writer and second place for Best Multimedia Journalist.
Caroline Spikes nabbed second place for Best Television News Reporter, and Chris Todd took third place for Best Television Feature Reporter. Both Spikes and Todd reported for Samford News Network, which left with third place for Best TV Station and fifth place for Best Video Newscast.
Additionally, the podcast “Bible Said What” secured fifth place for Best Audio Program.
While at the conference, students also participated in a variety of on-site competitions, competing in everything from Radio News Reporting to Page Design/Layout. Visiting Crimson staff walked away with two awards from these competitions; Harper Harwell took third place for the on-site News Writing competition, and Connor Loyd received an Honorable Mention for his on-site News/Feature Photography.
According to Editor-in-Chief of the Samford Crimson, the conference also served as an exciting opportunity for Crimson staff to represent their school and bond with fellow student journalists.
“It was especially wonderful to be able to connect with other students through the mutual love and language of journalism,” Simms said. “In particular, we bonded with student journalists from Mississippi State University over post-award ceremony Sonic dinner. There’s nothing quite like shouting about justified text during a late-night Sonic run.”
Faculty chaperone and assistant professor Will Heath echoed this sentiment in his recurring Crimson newsletter.
“It’s hard to put into words how much energy comes from being in the same place with that many student journalists (and advisors) for that amount of time,” wrote Heath. “Those of us fortunate enough to be there learned a great deal, and forged connections that will definitely benefit us in the future.”
Next year’s conference is scheduled to be hosted by Troy University, but all who attended this year’s events will undoubtedly never forget the weekend that journalism was all the rage in the swamp of Thibodaux.