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451 entries reported in BP journalism competition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A total of 451 entries have been received for judging in the inaugural Baptist Press Excellence in Journalism Competition, according to contest coordinator Joni Hannigan.

The awards will be announced during the BP Student Journalism Conference, Sept. 27-29 in Nashville. Fred Barnes, of Fox News Channel, will be the keynote speaker at the awards banquet, scheduled to be held at the Mansion on the campus of Belmont University.

“This is a tremendous representation of the hard work that student journalists have done on their campuses,” said Will Hall, vice president for news services and executive editor of Baptist Press. “We look forwarding to recognizing the best collegiate journalists at the conference.”

A total of 18 universities and colleges entered the newspaper division with 251 entries. Eight schools entered the yearbook division with 117 entries. Seven schools entered the photojournalism division with 78 entries. Three schools entered the broadcast division and two schools entered the online journalism division.

The competition is being coordinated by Hannigan, a national correspondent for Baptist Press and a veteran journalism teacher. She has written over 400 news, investigative and feature stories and writes a regular column for Baptist Press. As a full-time high school English and Journalism teacher, Hannigan consistently leads students to produce award-winning high school newspapers and numerous district public relations projects. Hannigan earned the M.Ed. from Park University in Kansas City, Mo. and the Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Hannibal-LaGrange College in Mo. Relocating to the Atlanta area in June, Hannigan will continue to teach high school English and Journalism there.

The competition is being judged by professional journalists from across the nation, including:

— Patricia Rice has been religion editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch since 1994. She develops, edits and writes its Saturday section and does breaking news locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. She has been a journalist for 35 years, working as a news reporter and feature writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 33 years. She also has written four books.

She has won awards for her work in religion and other topics from press organizations, and interfaith organizations. As chairman of the Journalism Foundation of Metropolitan St. Louis for nine years, she served as judge of its scholarship-judging program. She is a member of the Religious News Writers of America and has been a judge in its contests. She has judged contests at several universities. She served as professional advisor to the Washington University student newspaper for many years.

— David Waters began working at The Commercial Appeal in 1982 in the newspaper’s Jackson, Tenn., bureau, and has held all sorts of jobs in the Memphis newsroom, from the copy desk to the wire desk to the metro desk. He was Scripps Howard headline writer of the year in 1985-1986. He began covering religion in 1993. He won a Best of Scripps award in 1996 for his faith reporting from Bosnia and in 2000 for his work as a columnist. He won the American Society of Newspaper Editors distinguished writing award for religion and spirituality in 1997. He was elected to the Scripps Howard Hall of Fame in 2001.

— Richard Vara is the religion editor at the Houston Chronicle. He has been covering religion since 1984 beginning with the Houston Post and joined the Chronicle in 1990. Vara has been a journalist since 1970. He won the 1997 Supple Memorial Award given annually to the religion writer of the year by the Religion News Writers Association.

— Tammi Reed Ledbetter is a free-lance writer living in Texas. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, majoring in journalism and speech, she edited publications for Criswell College, a Youth for Christ ministry in Indiana, and an evangelistic association. She served as managing editor for the Indiana Baptist, director of communications for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is now news editor for Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, in addition to writing for Baptist Press.

— Marti Hefley is the award-winning author of Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century. She is a former yearbook teacher/advisor at Hannibal LaGrange College and was the former co-owner of Hannibal Books.

Other judges include Shane Keyser, Kansas City Star; Morris Abernathy, LifeWay Christian Resources; Jim Jones, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Gayle White, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Adelle Banks, Religion News Service; Jennifer Davis Rash, The Alabama Baptist; Jim Smith, Florida Baptist Witness; Debbie Moore, journalism educator; and James Bates, The Sun Herald, Gulfport, Miss.

For conference registration information, call 615-782-8615 or email [email protected].

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