For release: March 1, 2008
For press information, contact Curt Guenther
The staff of The Daily Helmsman, independent student newspaper at the University of Memphis, broke a U of M record
by winning in seven out of 10 categories in which they competed as part of the Southeast
Journalism Conference. The winners were announced at the meeting held last weekend
at the University of Mississippi.
Among the awards won by the Helmsman staff was the competition's most prestigious award, College Journalist of the Year,
which went to Trey Heath, former Helmsman editor-in-chief. He received a $500 check and a gold plaque. He also ranked third
in editorial writing. Heath graduated in December 2007 and now is a staff reporter
for The Memphis Business Journal.
Three other writers also won individual recognition. Nevin Batiwalla, current Helmsman editor-in-chief, ranked second in feature writing; Travis Griggs, current Helmsman managing editor, ranked fifth in the news category; and former staff reporter Tim
Miller ranked fourth in sports writing.
The Daily Helmsman won first place in the public service category for a special issue detailing school
fees that ran in the fall of 2007. The newspaper also placed ninth in the “overall
This is the third time in 14 years that a Helmsman editor has won the SEJC's most prestigious award. Previous College Journalist of
the Year winners were Michael Thompson and Amos Maki.
The Helmsman articles and editorials that won awards dealt with a range of subjects, including
the Taylor Bradford murder, public records being withheld by administrators, late
alerts for public safety, problems with faculty insurance, and gambling addiction.
The Conference's Best of the South competition this year had more than 300 entries
from 26 colleges and universities in seven states, including Austin Peay State, Middle
Tennessee State, and Vanderbilt in Tennessee, Mississippi State University, and the
University of Alabama.
A panel of judges from Long Island's Newsday and Asbury Park Press in New Jersey decided the winners.