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Phone: 901/678-2843
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U of M Student Journalist Organization Named Best in Four-state Region

For release: October 12, 2012
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

The University of Memphis Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was named the Outstanding Campus Chapter for its region at the organization’s annual Excellence in Journalism conference last month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Accepting the award on behalf of the U of M chapter was Journalism Department Chairman David Arant.

The region includes 14 campus chapters in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. The award recognized the U of M chapter for its work during the 2011-2012 academic year. Chelsea Boozer served as chapter president until December 2011. The current chapter president is Christopher Whitten, and the vice president is Shelia Guerrero.

 “We were honored to receive the award. I think it is recognition of the outstanding work by the journalism students at the U of M,” said Tom Hrach, faculty adviser for the chapter. “I would expect this is only the start of great things from our chapter.”

 During the past academic year, the chapter sponsored events that focused on career training, First Amendment principals, community service and the need for freedom of information.

Highlights of the year included the annual Freedom of Information Congress in March, which featured New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter, and the “Helmsman Through the Years” event in April, which highlighted the history of The Daily Helmsman. The chapter also sponsored the Freedom of the Press panel discussion in November 2011, along with a career-training event featuring Kevin Slimp of the Newspaper Technology Institute in October 2011.

The Society of Professional Journalists is a nationwide organization dedicated to supporting the journalistic principals of free speech, ethics and public information. The U of M chapter’s award was presented to Arant by John Ensslin, outgoing president of the national organization.

For more information, contact Tom Hrach at or 901-590-4949.



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