John Brown University students win 2020 Mark of Excellence Awards

Students include Orry Phillips and Catherine Nolte

SILOAM SPRINGS, Arkansas (April 23, 2021) – John Brown University communication students were announced as Region 12 winners of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) 2020 Mark of Excellence (MOE) Awards in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Junior Orry Phillips took top prize in the Podcast category with his entry called "The Conversation Episode #1: David French." Senior Catherine Nolte was awarded Finalist in the General News Reporting category for her reporting about the documentary "Part of the Kingdom" shedding light on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ students at Christian universities.

These Region 12 awards are recognized by SPJ as the best collegiate journalism in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. 

First-place winners like Phillips will compete at the national level among other regional MOE winners from the 12 SPJ regions. National winners will be notified in the late spring and will be recognized at SPJ’s national conference.

“I’m extremely proud of our communication students’ success in this and other competitions. The SPJ Mark of Excellence program is one of the most widely recognized and most competitive journalism contests,” said Debbie Miller, communication faculty member and adviser to The Threefold Advocate, JBU’s student newspaper. “Catherine’s entry was a finalist in a category that had stiff competition. Orry’s podcast entry won in competition with much larger institutions. Judges noted the excellent production quality, the presence of well-planned questions, and the skill Orry displayed in the interview.”

School divisions are based on student enrollment, including both graduate and undergraduate: Large schools have at least 10,000 students and small schools have 9,999 or fewer students.

MOE Award entries are judged by professionals with at least three years of journalism experience. Judges were directed to choose entries they felt were among the best in student journalism. If no entry rose to the level of excellence, no award was given. 

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.  

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top-ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2021), JBU enrolls more than 2,200 students from 37 states and 48 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 undergraduate majors, with top programs including nursing, psychology, kinesiology, engineering, biology, family and human services, and graphic design. Eighteen graduate programs are available in business, counseling, cybersecurity, education and higher education.


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