Four Trevecca students finalists for statewide journalism awards

Four students are currently finalists for the Tennessee Associated Press Broadcasters and Media Editors Awards for their work on Trevecca’s student newspaper the TrevEchoes. The finalists are Grace Beckner, Naomi Overby, Maria Monterous and Kayla Williamson. 

The competition pits the students’ work against that of peers from Vanderbilt University, University of Tennessee, Lipscomb, the University of Memphis and more. 

The four finalists are nominated for such stories as “DACA Coverage: Dozens of Trevecca DACA Students Await Supreme Court Ruling,” “Mental Health on Campus,” and “Gov. Lee's Visit Sparks Debate on Campus.’

Professor JoEllen Werking-Weedman oversees the TrevEchoes and says that the newspaper gives students the opportunity to experience the journalism industry firsthand. 

“Working for the student newspaper allows these students to interview sources, write on deadline and triage and manage information that is important to our community,” Werking Weedman said. “They pitch stories, report stories, write stories and all of the skills gained during that process are skills necessary to work in news when they graduate.” 

When asked about the Associated Press awards, freshman Grace Beckner commented on her surprise and joy at being listed as a finalist. 

“Well, this is all very new to me because I’ve never won an award like this before!” Beckner said. “I was shocked and excited to hear that I was among the finalists from Trevecca for the award, as there are so many talented writers who are on staff for the paper. I guess I was sort of reassured a little, too, when I saw my name on the list. It meant, to me at least, that I was doing a good job, that I was on the right track. I was also proud of the other people from Trevecca who are finalists, as I know that they put in a lot of time and effort into making quality content for the newspaper, and for the campus as a whole.”

Naomi Overby said that she was ecstatic when she learned she was a finalist because it was solid proof of the quality of TrevEchoes’ team. 

“I mean, I’m really excited, not just because it’s the Associated Press—but because our team works really hard, and it’s just a confirmation that the hard work paid off.”

Kayla Williamson commented on the importance of the newspaper culturally for Trevecca and how she feels it contributes to the campus at large.  

“The Trevechoes for me means having a voice and also making sure voices that are not usually heard get recognized on campus,” Williamson said. “It contributes to the Trevecca community by making sure students are informed and shedding a light on issues that may otherwise be ignored.” 

Maria Monteros, a senior, said the nominations reflected the strength of the program, built on strong mentoring relationships with faculty. 

“I think the nomination speaks volumes about the effectiveness of our program,” she said. “Being in a small journalism program means we get a lot of one on one training with our professors.”

Professor Werking-Weedman said that the awards are solid proof of the quality of not just Trevecca’s journalism program, but Trevecca’s students as well. 

“These students are competing with college students from all over the state from much larger universities and programs,” she said. “These awards confirm for them what I already know: they are talented and hardworking and well-prepared to be professional journalists.”

UPDATE: Since this story was published, the Associated Press has announced the winners. Trevecca brought home two first-place wins in both the news story and ongoing coverage/specialized reporting categories. Maria Monteros won second place in the college newspaper reporter category and the TrevEchoes staff won third place in the ongoing coverage/specialized reporting category. Learn more here

by M. Anna Turpin
Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695