An article based on her interview with Civil Rights hero and U.S. Rep. John Lewis has won honors in a Hearst competition for Clancy Smith and further enhanced the reputation of the journalism school at the University of Mississippi.
Smith, a senior, placed fourth out of 99 entries from 56 schools throughout the nation in the Personality Profile category of the writing competition in the annual Hearst Journalism Awards Program.
The award for the senior Journalism major was the highest for any University of Mississippi student since Ole Miss students began entering the contest in the fall of 1975.
“This is a remarkable achievement when you recognize all the outstanding graduates that Ole Miss has produced in the elite media,” said Will Norton, Jr., dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.
The Hearst Foundation describes the program purpose as support, encouragement and assistance to journalism education at the college and university level. The program awards scholarships to students for outstanding performance in college-level journalism, with matching grants to the students’ schools.
Hearst Journalism Awards are considered the Pulitzers of collegiate journalism.
This honor absolutely would not have been possible without Mr. Bill Rose, Smith said. He taught the class that produces the Delta Reporting Project, “Land of Broken Dreams” that included the profile on Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia.
“Clancy Smith’s perceptive profile of civil rights icon John Lewis was a powerful, multi-layered look inside the psyche of a man very nearly martyred for the cause,” Rose said.
“In a story laden with symbolism, she told of a man who responded to hate with love, a man who clung to a gospel of hope and forgiveness even when beaten within an inch of his life. It was an artful story, taking readers through Lewis’ childhood then into the turbulent civil rights era of the 1960s and finally to the halls of Congress,” Rose said.
“His guidance allowed me to be competitive in a competition that is usually dominated by much larger schools.” Smith said.
“A Meek student placing this high shows that Ole Miss has outstanding professors who work diligently with students outside the classroom as well as in the classroom,” Norton said.
“I’m just so happy that the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is getting recognition for the wonderful program that it is,” Smith said.
Smith, a Saltillo, Mississippi, native will graduate in May and plans to attend the University of Alabama to pursue a master’s degree in Public Relations.
“The one thing I do know is that I want to continue writing in a way that improves the lives of others and helps keep the public knowledgeable about important issues,” she said.