Radio students win big at Society of Professional Journalists competition

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — Two TROY students have have earned Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence Awards.

Jaelanne Thomas and Jared McBride, both radio students at Troy University, received the awards based on their recent works.

“I woke up one morning, got a text message from Kyle Gassiott who’s like ‘Hey, you won award’,” said Radio Feature Winner Jaelanne Thomas.

“I don’t think he told me I won so I just thought I got nominated for the region part,” said In-Depth Reporting Winner Jared McBride. “Then I actually looked at what the award says. When it says the region I was like ‘dang’.”

Thomas told the spine-chilling story of Robert, a seemingly innocent doll who has a tendency to wreak havoc on those who photograph him without permission. Thomas also told another story about a haunted house.

“They had me stay in this particular booth where I had to give my reaction in the dark, “Thomas said. “I am actually afraid of the dark. It was so thrilling but at the same time so nerve-wracking.”

McBride shared what he learned about the Clotilda—a slave ship found outside of Mobile, Alabama.

“I’ve been in Mobile most of my life so I didn’t know about the Clotilda at all,” McBride told TrojanVision. “I had to talk to people that made documentaries on it and then not only watch the documentaries, but I text the people that made the documentaries.”

SPJ’s Region 3 is comprised of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Thomas and McBride are now preparing to compete at the national level among other Mark of Excellence winners from the 12 SPJ regions.

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