NCCU Durham VOICE reporters win big at competition

NCCU students and faculty gather for the official awards photo at the Southern Regional Press Institute at Savannah State University. Pictured in the front row, left to right: Shakira Warren, Tia Mitchell, DeVante Campbell and Lisa Paulin. Back row: Rowland Givens, Eric O’Neal and Evan Owens. (Staff photo by Calvin Hall)

Six N.C. Central University mass communication students attended the Southern Regional Press Institute in Savannah, Georgia, in February and walked away with awards for their work with the Durham VOICE from fall 2015.

Evan Owens won best overall feature writing for his stories “’DONS Basketball League’ teaches more than just roundball,” “A DPS grad gives back at Y.E. Smith,” and “PAC1: Evolving over the years.” He also won second place in photography for his photos of Y.E. Smith principal Letisha Judd from the story “A DPS grad gives back at Y.E. Smith.”

“The trip was especially fun because we got to see our hard work with the VOICE be recognized and awarded,” said Owens. “It was already rewarding getting to tell the stories of people in NECD, but seeing our work get awarded was like icing on the cake.”

Brittney Bizzell won best overall photographs for her shots with the stories “Walltown Dancers perform at Centerfest” and “What’s new at the Holton Center.

Reporter DeVante Campbell won best multimedia story. (Staff photo by Lisa Paulin)

NCCU student DeVante Campbell adjusts his tie before the opening plenary session of the SRPI. Like many students, he was hoping to meet potential employers and make a good impression. Campbell would go on to win best multimedia project for his video story in the Durham VOICE about Durham’s Meals on Wheels. (Staff photo by Lisa Paulin)

Reporter DeVante Campbell won best multimedia story with his piece on Durham’s Meals on Wheels program, “Forty years of more than just meals.”

In addition, editor-in-chief, Shakira Warren and reporter Tia Mitchell of NCCU’s Campus Echo accepted the award for best overall campus newspaper.

Besides the awards ceremony, students attended workshops with media professionals and were able to network and meet students from other colleges and universities.

Warren was even able to get an internship with the Georgia AARP after meeting their communications director at the conference.

“The SRPI conference inspired me to think outside of the box with mass communication,” said Warren. “There are so many ways to approach journalism and it all starts with storytelling of some kind.”

Tia Mitchell appreciated hearing about the experiences of media professionals in television, newspapers and public relations.

“It introduced me to a variety of different paths I could take in my field,” said Mitchell. “It was inspiring to hear others tell their stories and how they persevered through adversity.”

It was the first time visiting Savannah for everyone in the group, and the city also made an impression. DeVante Campbell spent the trip attached to his camera.

“I really enjoyed visiting Savannah. The monuments, historic buildings and beautiful architecture made it a trip that I will always remember,” said Warren.