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  • Mercury Awards

    Mercury Awards

  • SCPA Awards

    SCPA Awards

Professional organizations recognize work of SJMC faculty, staff and students

Posted April 25, 2019
Edited April 29, 2019


The School of Journalism and Mass Communications was well-represented among the winners of two April awards ceremonies. Students, alumni and a faculty member garnered top honors from the South Carolina Public Relations Society of America and South Carolina Press Association.


South Carolina Public Relations Society of America Mercury Awards

SJMC students, faculty and alumni were among those honored at SCPRSA’s annual Mercury Awards banquet in Charleston on April 11. 

Holly Overton, an assistant professor in the SJMC, received SCPRSA’s Educator of the Year Award, and senior public relations major Skylar Smith received the Public Relations Student of the Year Award.

The 2017-2018 Bateman team received two awards, which were accepted by team members and 2018 SJMC alumni Jalesa Cooley, Adena Rice and Emily Stone. They received the Student Mercury Award of Merit for Public Service for Shine with Purpose and the Student Silver Wing Award of Excellence for the online video, “Be a Voice for the Voiceless.”

View a full list of winners»


South Carolina Press Association Awards

SJMC alumni and students were also recognized by the South Carolina Press Association at their annual awards gala on April 6 in Columbia.

Alumnus Avery Wilks, ’15, was named 2018 Journalist of the Year by the South Carolina Press Association at its April awards banquet. Wilks also took home other awards from the SCPA, including a second place Judson Chapman award, first place in Government Beat Reporting, first place in Business Beat Reporting, first place in Individual Use of Social Media. He is a State House and politics reporter for The State in Columbia. 

The SCPA also recognized its 2018 Collegiate News Contest winners. Below is a list of SJMC students who won awards in collegiate categories:

  • Victoria “Tori” Richman, editor-in-chief of The Daily Gamecock and fourth-year visual communications student, was named Collegiate Journalist of the Year for schools with a student population larger than 5,000. Richman is the first photojournalist to win the award.
  • Larissa Johnson (journalism, ‘18), The Daily Gamecock, first place for her news story, “2018 Student Government elections returned to tradition of diversity
  • Rachel Pittman (journalism, ‘18), Carolina News & Reporter, third place for her news story, “After bumper 2018 harvest, peach farmers prepare for next spring
  • Bria Barton (journalism), Carolina News & Reporter, second place for her feature story, “Scammers target college students, young people
  • Reema Vaidya (journalism), Carolina News & Reporter, second place for her arts and entertainment story, “Designer captures family and feeling in her craft
  • Rachel Pittman (journalism, ‘18), Carolina News & Reporter, first place for her arts and entertainment story, “‘Pointe’ of view: Midlands ballerina dances through boxes of shoes
  • Claudia Chakamian (broadcast journalism, ‘18), The Daily Gamecock, first place for her sports story, “From national champion to WNBA to the newsroom: Allisha Gray's journey back to Columbia
  • Kelly Ann Krueger (journalism), Carolina News & Reporter, second place for her sports story, “Not all sports – or cleats – are created equal
  • Larissa Johnson (journalism, ‘18), Carolina News & Reporter, second place for her series of articles, “For those on the edge, eviction looms large in South Carolina Housing policy, economics create an unaffordable city
  • Kristina Rackley (journalism, ‘18), Carolina News & Reporter, third place for her series of articles, “Coastal Erosion in South Carolina
  • Jayson Jeffers (visual communications) and Erin Slowey (business economics), The Daily Gamecock, first place for their specialty page design on Oct. 29, 2018
  • Taylor Sharkey (visual communications), The Daily Gamecock, second place for her specialty page design on Oct. 22, 2018
  • Victoria Richman (visual communications), The Daily Gamecock, second place for her sports photograph, “The South Carolina men's basketball team reacts to upsetting the Kentucky Wildcats” 
  • Zach McKinley (media arts) and Victoria Richman (visual communications), The Daily Gamecock, second place for their photo story, “March for Our Lives photo series” 
  • Maggie Neal (visual communications, ‘18), The Daily Gamecock, second place for her cartoon or illustration, “Mardi Gras”
  • Taylor Sharkey (visual communications) and Erin Slowey (business economics), The Daily Gamecock, first place for their infographic, “Where is your money going?”
  • Ellie Larson (visual communications), The Daily Gamecock, second place for her infographic, “Voter participation across populations”
  • Lauren Gibeaut (visual communications), The Daily Gamecock, third place for her infographic, “2016 Presidential Elections”
  • Meagen Sigmon (visual communications), The Daily Gamecock, second place for her advertisement, “Not just an appointment, but an experience”
  • Emily Schoonover (visual communications), The Daily Gamecock, third place for her advertisement, “Roll with Us”
  • Kyle O’Connor (broadcast journalism), Carolina News & Reporter, first place for his multimedia story, “Catawba Nation looks to the past to forge future

In addition, The Daily Gamecock won multiple awards as a staff:

  • First place (tie) for Editorial Writing, “Editorial Board: Clemson, we need to talk”
  • First place for Special Section or Edition, “2018 Best of Carolina”
  • First place for Website
  • First place for Student Government Beat Coverage
  • First place for Use of Social Media
  • First place for General Excellence (undergraduate enrollment of 5,000 or more)

View full list of SCPA contest winners»