Jones College student newspaper places nationally & wins MS General Excellence awards

ELLISVILLE- After winning the General Excellence Award and a total of 31 awards at the annual Student Better Newspaper Contest held with the O.C. McDavid Journalism Summit in Jackson in February, Jones College’s newspaper staff were hopeful they would do as well at the next national competition. After all, the group entered the National College Media Association’s David Adams Best of Show competition for the first time in 2019 and won. Additionally, this was the 12th consecutive year the Radionian student newspaper had earned the top award in the state. However, the Coronavirus and the college’s travel ban left JC students wondering if they could repeat as winners of the national contest because they could not attend the conference and awards banquet in NYC.

“Since this is a Best of Show competition, normally participants are required to attend the conference. However, because so many colleges enacted travel restrictions, the CMA decided to allow everyone who had registered for the conference the opportunity to compete, even if they did not attend the conference. This allowed hundreds of colleges the opportunity to compete even though they weren’t physically present,” said Kelly Atwood, JC student publications advisor and journalism instructor.

Last year, the Radionian won first place in the nation for two-year colleges in this competition. This year, the Radionian would have to settle for second place as Mercer County Community College of New Jersey beat the Radionian for first place. News editor for the Radionian, Tori Ellis of Laurel said she is still pleased with placing second place on the national stage.

“It’s so incredible that we are able to make a name for ourselves on a national level and show the important role of media. It says a lot about our state and Ellisville that we can hold our own and compete in the big leagues. I’m proud of how hard everyone worked, and I’m proud to be a part of that team,” said Ellis.

Atwood is also proud of her students and shared their competition was well-deserving of the honor.

“Their paper uses full color and the students covered controversial subjects. They definitely deserved to win. I hope we can step up our game for next year,” said Atwood.

The David Adams Best of Show contest is usually the final event held during the National Spring Convention, which typically hosts thousands of students and instructors to hear hundreds of guest speakers.

“There were some tears shed by students who’d planned to attend, and even though NYC only had a small number of cases at that time (March 10), it was the best decision the college could have made,” said Atwood. “By the final day of the conference, there were fewer than 400 attendees for a conference that normally has thousands. And for weeks after, those of us on the scheduled attendee list continued to receive email updates as students, faculty and guest speakers who attended the conference tested positive for COVID-19.”

Atwood said she was just as disappointed she would not be able to take a group of conference attendees to the Facebook headquarters in NYC and tour the Bloomberg offices because all visits were canceled due to the pandemic. The day before the JC students were scheduled to leave for the conference on March 11, Jones placed a travel ban. Hopefully, soon, Atwood plans to take students to NYC as things get back to normal to explore the numerous educational opportunities in NYC.

Students interested in joining the newspaper staff are encouraged to apply for next fall by contacting Kelly Atwood at and check out the April edition of the Radionian   Click the link to see the list of winners for the College Media Association David Adams Apple Awards 2020: