OCCC journalism student Mark Smith won two Region 8 Mark of Excellence awards at the Society of Professional Journalism conference April 9 at the Gaylord School of Mass Communications at the University of Oklahoma.
This is the second year Smith has taken home an award from SPJ.
Smith placed first in online feature reporting for a 2-year college for his story “OCCC president more than a educator.”
He also placed second in general news reporting for a 2-year college on his “Student sues state after vanity tag request denied.”
Region 8 SPJ Director Scott Cooper said Smith has been a valuable asset to SPJ.
“Whether it was here at a regional conference or at national conference, he is known because of his work,” he said.
“His stuff his good. He’s not afraid to let everyone know that.”
Standing tall among the displays of Oklahoma journalism giants such as Bob Dotson and Mike Boettcher, Smith said he owes a lot of his success to his professors and peers.
“Journalism professor Sue Hinton has been a big inspiration in my writing career,” he said.
“She has trained me and helped me acquire the skills that I have and hone those skills to a fine a point. She has helped me, supported me and just been there.”
Smith said he wrote his feature article in class under the tutelage of Magazine Feature Writing professor Clay Randolph.
“He didn’t make it easy. He made it pretty hard,” Smith said. “He made me dig in there and get after that.”
Smith also credited Pioneer lab director Ronna Austin, and former Pioneer lab assistant Chris Lusk as influences that helped shape and influence him.
Hinton said she is always pleased when OCCC journalism students win awards and when they win awards at the regional level.
“He deserves a lot of credit for that,” she said. “He’s a hard worker under rather difficult circumstances.”
Smith said he is very humble about his success.
“I am just honored that SPJ recognized me and I thank everyone for their help.”