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Students Win 44 Awards at Arkansas College Media Association Conference


JONESBORO — Arkansas State University students earned 44 awards, including six general excellence awards, at the Arkansas College Media Association’s annual spring convention and awards banquet.

ACMA recruits judges from the national College Media Advisers, who rated 550 entries for this year’s contest from newspaper, online, magazine, radio, television and yearbook categories. Judges award entries based on their excellence as shown by design, photography, concept, coverage and writing.

Larz Roberts, ACMA president and A-State adviser to Red Wolf Radio and ASU-TV News, noted the relief in hosting the 2022 event at the Embassy Suites’ Red Wolf Convention Center. Originally scheduled for spring 2020, COVID-19 concerns delayed the in-person convention the last two years, although ACMA still held its student media contest. 

“I loved seeing our students getting to see their work receive serious acclaim from professionals,” Roberts said. “Both Red Wolf Radio and ASU-TV News have pushed hard to maintain a variety and quality of programming and storytelling despite the struggles that everyone has had to contend with lately. In fact, those struggles are often a big part of the stories we tell. I think our results from this year’s competition reflect our success with that.”

Red Wolf Radio finished with nine first-place wins, including Radio Outlet of the Year, while ASU-TV News grabbed two victories and two general excellence awards. The Herald, the newspaper produced by students in the School of Media and Journalism, won two first-places and two general excellence awards.

Roberts moderated a panel on “The Changing Face of Media” that included A-State alumna Gretchen Hunt, editor of The Jonesboro Sun, as well as KAIT’s Grendel Levy and KLEK’s LaGanzie Kale. Associate professor of multimedia journalism Sandra Combs, who serves as The Herald adviser, moderated a sports panel including A-State alumni Steve Sullivan of KATV and Jeff Reed of A-State Nation, as well as KAIT sports director Chris Hudgison. She also got to see the fruits of The Herald’s labor.

“I’m proud to see The Herald staff rewarded for practicing good journalism in the 101st year of informing the campus and community of Arkansas State University,” she said.

Included among the nine sessions, Dr. Lillie Fears, multimedia journalism professor, moderated a “Women in Media” panel that included A-State alumnae Lici Beveridge of the Hattiesburg (Miss.) American and Clarion Ledger and Suzi Parker, who currently includes contributing guest columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette among her jobs. Terrance Armstard, instructor of multimedia journalism and Delta Digital News Service adviser, held a visual imagery workshop and hosted a Zoom session on “Create with Mobile.” Dr. Ronald Sitton, assistant professor of multimedia journalism, also hosted a Zoom session on “Social Media for Journalists” with B2B editor Kristal Kuykendall.

“It was wonderful finally hosting the other excellent media and journalism programs from Arkansas,” said Dr. Brad Rawlins, director of A-State’s School of Media & Journalism. “It gave us a great opportunity to showcase Arkansas State University’s School of Media and Journalism and its student media, particularly the excellent work of the students. Several faculty members worked hard to finally bring ACMA to Jonesboro for the first in-person conference in three years, and the success of the conference is due to their efforts.”

Here is a list of the awards, by category and entry:
General Excellence — Radio outlet of the year (first), Red Wolf Radio (Jacob Deputy-Keene of Sherwood, program director); ASU-TV News, television outlet of the year (second); TV anchor (second), Emma Allen of Helena; photographer of the year (third) The Herald’s Hannah Risker of Paragould; ASU-TV, television outlet of the year (third); and Website of the Year (honorable mention), The Herald.

Red Wolf Radio — Radio outlet of the year (first); newscast (first), Alejandra Gutierrez of Chiapas, Mexico; feature story (first), Kerra Williams of Miramar, Fla.; interview or talk show (first), Kori Dunlap of Hardy; live interview (first), Tristan Bennett of Carlisle; documentary (first), Laura Carter of Hot Springs; specialty music show (first), Becca Ballew of White Hall; sports show (first), Tristan Harlen of Ward; theatrical radio production (first), Colby Wood of Jonesboro; newscast (second), Jacob Osborn of Searcy; best jock/personality (second), Lauryn Pendleton of Little Rock; feature story (second), Jesus Wences of DeQueen; documentary (second), Gutierrez; specialty music show (second), Cidney Davis of North Little Rock; sports show (second), Jacob Tester of Hot Springs; best jock/personality (third), Davis; feature story (third), Kayla Lindsey of Ozark, Mo.; interview or talk show (third), Brandon Smith of Jonesboro; documentary (second), Garrett Hatcher of Trumann; specialty music show (third), Hannah Rainwater of Jonesboro; sports show (third), Chase Ervin of Hoxie; and best jock/personality (honorable mention), Ballew. 
Newspaper (The Herald) — sports column (first), Robinson; sports feature (first), Robinson; editorial cartoon (second), Fran Bollinger of Little Rock; election/political coverage (second), Krishnan Collins of North Little Rock; feature page layout (second), Risker; feature photo (second), Risker; editorial writing (third), Lily Cabibi-Wilkin of Hot Springs; election/political coverage (third), Courtney Edwards of Cave City; feature photo (third), Risker; meeting/speech coverage (third), Jonathan Schaufler of Salem; sports page layout (third), Robinson; editorial cartoon (honorable mention), Thinh Vu of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; and feature photo (honorable mention), Risker.
ASU-TV News — ASU-TV News, television outlet of the year (second); TV anchor of the year (second), Allen; TV news reporting (first), Allen; TV feature (first), Gutierrez; and TV feature (second), Kylie Adams of Jackson, Tenn.

Magazine (The Tributary) — poetry layout (first), Chase Weller of Brookland and Emily Neeley of Cave City.
Participating institutions this year included Arkansas Tech University, Central Baptist College, Harding University, Henderson State University, John Brown University, Northwest Arkansas Community College, Ouachita Baptist University, University of Arkansas-Little Rock and University of Central Arkansas. 

A complete list of winning entries can be located at college media contest results. Founded in 1929, the Arkansas College Media Association recognizes the best of Arkansas’ collegiate media output in print journalism, broadcasting, websites, social media and podcasts. The organization helps provide cutting-edge information for student journalists preparing to enter the media profession.

A-State students attending the 2022 ACMA spring convention and representing student media outlets include (from left) Tristan Harlen, Hannah Rainwater, Cidney Davis, Louis Walker, Jessica McMillan, Lily Cabibi-Wilkin, Noah Robinson, Jacob Keene, Emma Allen, Jonathan Schaufler, Kylie Adams, Hannah Risker, Kerra Williams, Rachel Rudd and Rebecca Robinson (not pictured: Garrett Hatcher).