Jones College’s student newspaper captures General Excellence award

Photo by Kelly Atwood: Pictured, left to right, back row, are Jones College’s Newspaper staff writers and editors with their awards from the Mississippi Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest: Shannon Barbin of Hattiesburg, Mackenzie Gunter of Hattiesburg, Megan Matthews of Richton, Erin Fairchild of Seminary, Keenon Simmons of Laurel, Opinions editor Jennifer Shirley of Waynesboro, Photography editor Montanah Middleton of Mize, Copy editor Olivia Norwood of Laurel; front row, News editor Bryce Dupree of Raleigh, Sports  editor Presley White of Quitman, photographer Bralynn Newell of Newton, and Features editor Mikayla Rainey of Ellisville. Not pictured is Kyle Manseill of Waynesboro.

ELLISVILLE – Jones College competed in the Mississippi Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest for colleges and brought home the General Excellence award in the community college category.

Jones students received 11 awards, with Southwest Community College earning three and Holmes Community College received two awards. For most of the categories, these three participating community colleges competed against universities, including the University of Mississippi, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.

The Jones newspaper, the Radionian, won first, second and third place in the news category. Tori Ellis was the second and third place winner for her stories on COVID-19. The Radionian also swept the Features category. Mikayla Rainey received first place, Dariyel Johnson of Leakesville received second place, and Olivia Norwood received third place. In the Feature Photo category, Bralynn Newell won first place and Montanah Middleton won second place.

In the General Interest Column, which included both two and four-year colleges, Mikayla Rainey received third place for her column on mental health. In the Website category, which included both two and four-year colleges, the Jones website received third place. Under the Use of Social Media category, which included both two and four-year colleges, Bryce Dupree and Presley White received first place. In all three of these categories, the others who placed were all from universities.

The General Excellence award has both a university and two-year college winner. Mississippi State University joined Jones College in the win.

“I’m happy to see my students are able to successfully compete on the university level,” said newspaper advisor Kelly Atwood. “Newspaper staffs are getting smaller at colleges nationwide, but my students are always in demand. With more people accepting social media, partisan websites and newstainment TV as official news sources, it’s getting harder to find objective journalism, but it is so important for our nation. Today’s guest speakers were perfect examples of why society still needs professional journalists. Regardless of the medium, professional, objective, responsible journalists will always be needed to preserve democracy and place the public good above everything else.”

Before the contest, the 24th annual O.C. McDavid Journalism Summit was held with speakers Geoff Pender of Mississippi Today, Emily Wagster Pettus from the Associated Press, cartoonist Ricky Nobile and keynote speaker Jerry Mitchell from the Mississippi Center for Investigative reporting.

Atwood is currently taking applications for the Fall 2022 staff. Interested students should email her at