Recap of AMCA conference

On April 7 members of Ouachita’s mass communication department working with The Signal newspaper, the Ouachitonian yearbook, and photography lab attended the Arkansas College Media Association (AMCA) conference in Bentonville, Arkansas, with 53 of the student publications entered by Ouachita students taking home awards.

Dr. Jeff Root, dean of humanities, chair of Ouachita’s Rogers Department of Communications and sponsor of the Ouachitonian yearbook, praised the teams for their hard work this year and their apt representation of Ouachita’s mass comm department. “From writing to design to photography, it takes a strong staff of students to publish award-winning publications,” Root said.

Dr. Root was not the only leader proud of the impressive amount of awards won. Barret Gay, editor-in-chief of the OBU Signal and senior mass communcations major from Little Rock, Arkansas, was very excited and proud of her team. “I was so thrilled that The Signal did so well at the AMCAs…I am so pleased with the results this year,” Gay said. She also recognized the constant hard work that goes into all these publications, without which no awards would be won. “We won third place overall for both the print and online [Signal] which is wonderful recognition for the hard work that both staffs have constantly put in each week,” Gay said.

The Signal was not the only publication to be recognized. The Ouachitonian year book pulled a very impressive amount of awards. as well. Both co-editors-in-chief of the year book, Amber Easterly and Robert DeSoto, were proud of their crew’s achievements. They were presented with multiple awards including winning first place in the Yearbook of the Year category. “The bragging rights are always nice, but it is just so rewarding to work with this staff and create such a good book while having fun, too. I’m just so proud,” Easterly said.

The close and friendly atmosphere of the Ouachitonian team is characteristic of the mass communications department as a whole. Gay and Easterly both attested to the fun and jokes that go on behind-the-scenes and make working for the publications so enjoyable.

The good humor of the team shines through in Gay’s article title “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” which was awarded honorable mention in the Headlines category. For those who do not already know, Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a lung disease resulting from inhalation of silica dust. “It was meant to be a funny attention grabber, so I was happy to get recognition for that,” Gay said.

In addition, members of the photography team walked away with several awards, as well. Andy Henderson, editor of Ouachita’s student photography staff, was awarded Photographer of the Year, as well as first place for Student Life Photo. “All of the late nights spent editing, the hours and hours a week spent shooting, and the delegating and working with other photographers paid off,” Henderson said. Four of Henderson’s student photographers won awards too.

“I have been pleased all year with the work ethic and talent displayed by our editors and writers, but it’s especially pleasing to see that professionals have judged them to be among the best college journalists in so many categories of competition,” Root said. As they look forward to the next year, many of the students and staff are excited to echo the success of this year. “I am so pleased with the results this year and I am confident that next year’s team is poised to win even more first-place awards,” Gay said.

For detailed information on the ACMA awards won, visit For more information about the mass communications department contact Dr. Deborah Root at or (870) 245-5510.


– By AJ Stambolie, Student writer

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