The Growl garners awards at O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference

The Growl garners awards at O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference


Holmes Community College’s Growl newspaper won three awards during the 2024 Better News/Media Contest – Student Division. The contest was held in conjunction with the 26th Annual O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference held March 21 at the Embassy Suites hotel in Ridgeland.

In the Community College Division, the Growl won first place for Best Editorials. The student reporters who contributed editorials included Aleesa Booker of Madison (Ridgeland Campus), Malley Chase Faulkner of Daphne, Alabama (Goodman Campus), Alyssa Jackson of Madison (Ridgeland Campus) and Evan Yates of West (Goodman Campus). Additionally, Faulkner won third place for Best Sports Feature Story and Holmes won third place for Overall General Excellence.

Booker and Public Relations Specialist/Journalism Instructor Mary Margaret Busby represented Holmes and attended the conference.

The Growl, published four-five times per academic year, covers news from the college’s nine-district area, while also including editorials on current events, reviews of trending entertainment, updates on events in the college’s district and more. Staff members also serve as writers for Holmes’ new blog, the HCC Grid.

The O.C. McDavid Conference is named after former managing editor of the Jackson Dailey News and since 1999, the O.C. McDavid Memorial Fund, administered by the Mississippi Press Association (MPA) Education Foundation, has underwritten the cost of the conference to promote journalism education in the state.

The conference began with a welcome and remarks by Vice Chair for the MPA Education Foundation Stephanie Patton. Next, Felder Rushing - an author, columnist and host for Mississippi Public Broadcast Think Radio - had everyone laughing as he shared his passions as “The Gestalt Gardner” and encouraged students to think outside of the box and approach their art with a new perspective.

Following Rushing, Deb Wenger, the assistant dean for the University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, spoke about AI and its impact on journalism’s future. Her lecture inspired a conversation across the room between student journalists and advisors about the implications of this new tool and its effects on the field of journalism. After lunch, Author and Mississippi Today correspondent Rick Cleveland delivered the keynote address, speaking on his years of experience in sports journalism.

The conference concluded with a few words from Mississippi Press Association Executive Director Layne Bruce and the presentation of awards for the Better News/Media Contest -Student Division.

For more information about MPA, visit

For more information about Holmes Community College's student publications, contact Busby at (601) 605-3376 or

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