Students nominated for state journalism awards

Trevecca Nazarene University journalism students are finalist in the Tennessee Associated Press College Contest in five categories.

“It’s truly an honor. It’s exciting to see students listed among some of the biggest and historically best colleges in the state,” journalism instructor Jo Ellen Werking-Weedman said. 

Student newspaper editor Nadia Smith is nominated for Best Newspaper Reporter. She is also nominated along with recent graduate Tyler Whetstone for Best Online Multimedia Package for their work on “Under the Bridge: Trevecca students feed homeless on Friday nights.” 

Maci Shingleton is a finalist for Best Online Spot Coverage and Best News Story for her work on “Trevecca gospel choir performs with Carrie Underwood at CMA Awards” and “Trevecca students get snow day and trend on Twitter” respectively.

Olivia Kelley is nominated for Best Feature Story for her work on “Blind student hits all the right notes, has perfect pitch.” 

Werking-Weedman said she was excited and proud of the diverse range in nominations, from breaking news online to in-depth feature writing.  

“We don’t need awards to know our students are doing good work, but this builds excitement. It says our program is competitive with any other school in the state,” Werking-Weedman said. 

She submitted articles to the Tennessee Associated Press and then media professionals selected top stories to be nominated for awards. 

“Judges look for excellence. We are looking for entries that look, sound and read professionally. We look for creative entries, unique entries and stories that stand out,” Tennessee AP board president and News Director at WTVF-TV Sandy Boonstra said. 

The Tennessee AP decided several years ago to host a college contest, Boonstra said.

"We feel it is so important to give our future journalists the opportunity to show their best work and compete with each other. The College Career Day has been a huge success and continues to grow every year,” she said. “It is a great opportunity for students to get direct feedback from professionals in one-on-one critiques." 

The nominations come one year after 2014 Trevecca graduate Whetstone was named the Best College Newspaper Reporter of the Year last year.  

This year Trevecca’s Nadia Smith is up for the same award. 

“It's an honor being nominated for a TN press award. I knew that a couple of my stories were being submitted for consideration; however, I was surprised when I found out I was actually a finalist,” Smith said. “I did not really expect that.” 

She credits her journalism classes and Werking-Weedman to her success. 

“Jo Ellen's an amazing teacher and has helped me to sharpen my writing skills so much over the past two years. I know for a fact that if it were not for her and her teaching I would not be in the running for this award,” Smith said. 

Winners will be announced at the awards banquet March 28 at the Tennessee AP College Career Day and College Awards Luncheon. 

Whetstone, a government reporter at The Jackson Sun in Jackson, Tenn., is also nominated in the professional newspaper division II category.