Newspaper receives conference honors

The Flor-Ala Staff Report

Members of The Flor-Ala’s editorial and photography staffs attended the 2017 Southeast Journalism Conference in Oxford, Mississippi, and returned to Florence with awards in tow.

The conference, which ran Feb. 16 – 18 at the University of Mississippi, honored The Flor-Ala with numerous awards, including fourth place in the best college newspaper category of the Best of the South awards, out of 22 entries.

“Winning such an award is an amazing feat,” said Editor-in-Chief Jasmine Fleming. “It’s not just for editors — it’s for our editorial staff, including our graphic designers, as well as our photography and business staffs. It represents the hard work of every staffer and volunteer who walks through our doors and takes on the responsibilities of honesty, fairness and journalistic integrity.”

The staff’s long nights in the newsroom have led to this year’s success, said Managing Editor Mike Ezekiel.

“Our staff has some of the hardest-working people I’ve ever been around, and it’s really paid off,” Ezekiel said. “We are honored to continue the 85-year tradition of success here at The Flor-Ala.”

There were entries from 29 schools, including in-state universities such as University of Alabama, Auburn University and Samford University.

Sports Editor Andrew Fulmer, who competed in the editorial op-ed writing on-site competition, placed second in 22 entries.

“Heading into the competition, I didn’t know the topic I was to write on, so that was stressful,” he said. “On top of that, I had an hour and 15 minutes to research, write and edit my story. It was tough, but I was glad to compete against some of the best writers in the southeast and bring home a top-five finish for overall paper.”

Fulmer said his editorial covered whether the president should have ultimate say in White House press credentials.

Individual Best of the South winners from The Flor-Ala were Fleming with a fourth place award in the editorial op-ed writing competition and Graphic Designer Jackie Willis in the news graphic designer category with a sixth place award out of 15 entries.

Fleming submitted editorials about the university’s smoking ban, prioritization of freshmen within the residence halls and the role of millennials in the 2016 national election.

“It was a surprising but welcome award,” Willis said. “It’ll give me confidence to create even stronger designs in the future.”

Willis’ work included an infographic on sexual assult statistics and information.

Fulmer, Staff Photographers Hillary Taylor and Sierra Hill and Staff Writer Ciera Golliver represented The Flor-Ala at the conference.