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JEM Students Place Second at SEJC Competition

A student team from the UT School of Journalism and Electronic Media placed second among 26 schools in the onsite, deadline-driven team competition at the Southeast Journalism Conference (SEJC), which was held Feb. 13-15 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The Tennessee team earned two individual first-place finishes in the onsite competition: senior Gabriela Szymanowska in news and feature photography and senior Will Backus in sports writing.

Senior Kenneth Richmond took second in sports photography, and sophomore Allie Justis placed third in copyediting. Additional Tennessee representatives in the onsite competition included: Ainsley Kelso in arts and culture writing, Allie Clouse in news writing, Kelly Alley in feature writing, and Hailey Gravitt in the television news anchor category.

JEM students also placed in four Best of the South Awards categories. These awards are given for a body of journalistic work submitted before the conference. Senior Nicole Painter was named best television feature reporter. Recent graduate Blake Von Hagen was fourth in sports writing, and Szymanowska, the current editor-in-chief of The Daily Beacon, was eighth in feature writing. The Tennessee Journalist (TNJN.com) ranked ninth for journalism websites.

The group was advised by JEM distinguished lecturer Lisa Byerley Gary and video production specialist and lecturer Clinton Elmore.

SEJC has 31 active member colleges and universities in all states across the Southeast, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. SEJC was created to encourage greater interest in student journalism and to form closer ties among journalism schools in the region.

The mission of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media is to make a meaningful contribution to the changes occurring in the converging world of media and to the preparation of students for careers in that world. The school is dedicated to continuously ascertaining and serving the needs of media organizations in the fields of print, broadcasting and Internet communication. Skills such as writing and editing, graphic design and production, and research are given both interdisciplinary and media-specific emphasis.