Campus News

Communications students compete at Southeast Journalism Conference


Contact 1: Erin Chesnut

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin’s student-run radio station and campus newspaper successfully competed at the 2018 Southeast Journalism Conference held Feb. 15-17 on Harding University’s campus in Searcy, Arkansas.

WUTM 90.3 FM “The Hawk,” UT Martin’s student-run radio station, was named “Best College Radio Station in the South” for the fourth consecutive year. WUTM is the first to accomplish this feat in the history of the conference and has won this category eight of the last 11 years.

WUTM also received first place in the “Best Audio News Program” category for the third consecutive year. The radio station has placed in this category every year since its creation in 2011.

“This was a tremendous showing by our students and student media at the conference,” said Dr. Richard Robinson, associate professor of communications and WUTM faculty adviser. “Our students won awards in almost every area of communications. They did a great job.”

The Southeast Journalism Conference has two types of competitions in which students participate: Best of the South and on-site challenges. Staff members for The Pacer - UT Martin's campus newspaper - and WUTM won awards in both competitions.

In the Best of the South competition, students submit material in a variety of categories prior to the conference for third-party review. A total of 30 colleges and universities from seven states participated in this portion of the conference.

UT Martin students won the following individual awards in the 2017 Best of the South competitions:
•Best Radio Hard News Reporter: Natalie King, a 2017 graduate from Paducah, first place;
•Best Radio Journalist: John Thornton, a sophomore from Atoka, second place;
•Best Radio News Feature Reporter: Ashley Shores, a senior from Lebanon, second place;
•Best Special Events Reporter: Sarah Knapp, a junior from Moscow, first place;
•Best Opinion-Editorial Writer: Ashton Priest, a senior from Union City, second place;
•Best Feature Writer: Kristina Shaw, a 2017 graduate from Cottontown, third place.

In on-site competitions, students choose from a variety of categories to complete practical exercises and written exams. UT Martin students won the following individual awards for on-site competitions:
•Media Ethics, History and Law: Holly Seng, a junior from Union City, first place;
•Current Events: Priest, third place;
•Radio News Reporting: Shane Wofford, a senior from Trenton, second place;
•Television News Reporting: Shores and Jillianne Moncrief, a sophomore from McLemoresville, second place;
•Public Relations: Brook Boshers, a sophomore from Mt. Pleasant; Emma Bruner, a junior from Martin; and Kait Scott, a junior from Martin, first place.

“As always, I’m incredibly thrilled with the performance of our students at SEJC,” said Tomi McCutchen, instructor of communications and faculty adviser to The Pacer. “They work hard and bring home knowledge and experience that we can use in student media every day at UT Martin.”

The UT Martin Department of Communications is housed within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and includes concentrations in broadcasting, news editorial, media design and public relations.

For more information about WUTM, contact Robinson at 731-881-7555 or by email at For more information about The Pacer, contact McCutchen at 731-881-7558 or by email at

PHOTO ID: Pictured representing the University of Tennessee at Martin during the 2018 Southeast Journalism Conference are (front row, l-r) Jillianne Moncrief, of McLemoresville; Ashley Shores, of Lebanon; Ashton Priest, of Union City; Holly Seng, of Union City; (back row) John Thornton, of Atoka; Kait Scott, of Martin; Emma Bruner, of Martin; Sarah Knapp, of Moscow; Rachel Moore, of Ashland City; Brooke Boshers, of Mt. Pleasant; Jason Repath, of White House; Matt Herod, of Humboldt; and Shane Wofford, of Trenton.

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