The Journal, the student newspaper of East Central University, participated in the annual Oklahoma College Media Association Conference.

Newspaper and yearbook staffs from colleges and universities around the state traveled to the campus of Oklahoma State University to receive awards for their work in 2010 and attend informative training sessions.

Cynthia Mellon, editor in chief, and Mary Newport, associate editor, represented The Journal at the event.

The Journal received the Award of Excellence in the overall newspaper category for four-year public schools, the highest ranking possible. Other papers receiving the award were The Oklahoma Daily from the University of Oklahoma, The Cameron Collegian from Cameron University and The Daily O’Collegian from Oklahoma State University. 

“Going to the OCMA conference made me even more proud of The Journal than I already was,” Mellon said. “This is the third year I’ve attended, and it made me realize that I will probably miss writing for the school paper after graduating this May.”

The Journal also earned the Award of Excellence for interior page design and Honorable Mention for front page design.

Members of The Journal staff took home a series of individual awards.

Rob Inman won first place in investigative reporting for “Graduating Students Search for Employment” and “Education May Hurt Job Chances,” a series looking at employment opportunities for college students. This is the fourth year in a row that a writer from The Journal has claimed first place in the category.

Kristen Smith took second place and Melissa Hubble third for editorial cartoons examining daily campus life and issues. Hubble has placed in cartoons since she was a freshman staff writer, with awards varying from first to third.

Christopher Wyche earned third place in column writing for his series “In Other Words” which gave his take on the world of entertainment.

Honorable Mention awards were given to Mellon, investigative reporting; Wyche, feature writing; Kyle Dickinson, feature photography; and Elisabeth Vogt, sports photography. 

Student journalists attending the conference also had the opportunity to choose from a variety of sessions ranging from “Sports Reporting: Overcoming Coaching Egos and University Secrecy” to “Suzy Creamcheese Gets Married: A How-to for Investigative Reporting.” Topic presenters included professionals from The Tulsa World, The Oklahoman, KOTV and the OSU School of Media and Strategic Communication.

The Paul Miller Lecture series speaker, Mark Horvit, who is the executive director for Investigative Reporters and Editors, a professional organization headquartered at the Missouri School of Journalism, presented an in-depth look at investigative reporting. 

“Mr. Horvit was an exciting speaker and made me want to be a better journalist,” Newport said. “The entire conference stressed the difference journalists like me can make in the world.”

Other colleges and universities attending included Northwestern Oklahoma State, Southeastern Oklahoma State, Rogers State, Oklahoma Panhandle State, Southwestern Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City Community, Bacone, Rose State,Tulsa Community and Eastern Oklahoma State.

The Journal is the independent student newspaper of ECU and has been under the auspices of The Journal Advisory Board and adviser Cathie A. Harding since 1995. It is not affiliated with any area or department on campus. 

“I was especially pleased with the results of the OCMA conference this year,” Harding said. “Cynthia has worked at the paper since she was a freshman and has been editor for almost two years. I am glad to see her end her career with us on such a high note.”



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