In February, The Vermillion, UL Lafayette’s student newspaper, earned a first-place overall award for best newspaper at the Southeastern Journalism Conference. 

The Vermilion staff—made up of students from 12 different majors—was recognized for excellence in writing quality, news judgment and value, organization of information, creativity, use of color, photos and graphics, accuracy and overall quality. 

The Vermilion’s website team was recognized for its performance in clarity of purpose, use of graphics, pictures and color, creativity, information value and technical skills.

Competing against students from several universities, including Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State, Memphis, Arkansas State, Troy, ULM and Southeastern Louisiana, the Vermilion staff also won awards in several other categories—4th place, design and layout; 4th place, overall website; 6th place, illustrations; 10th place, photography. Additionally, Vermilion staff members earned two first-place, on-site awards—one for current events writing and another for layout and design.

“We are thrilled to have received these awards and are grateful for the recognition of our dedication, resilience and creativity,” Lena Foster, editor-in-chief of The Vermilion said. “We work together as a unit, and we help each staff member bring out the best of themselves to produce informative works for students. We strive to be our greatest selves with every word written, every graphic designed and every photo taken because they serve as evidence of our commitment. The staff of The Vermilion is exhilarated by this honor.”

“The SEJC awards represent the hard work and effort we put into creating a quality newspaper each week,” Adhamm Safford, The Vermilion’s news and managing editor, said. “We’re extremely lucky to have a diverse staff from all walks of life and different majors that can create something really special and unique. I think this diversity in people helped us win the SEJC award for best newspaper.”

“The awards at the conference show all our hard work paying off, and I can’t wait to take what we learned and improve the newspaper even more,” Julia McDow, design manger, said. “We are in a great position to explore different opportunities in journalism and how our diverse staff can gain experience doing so.”

The Vermilion has received 11 regional and national awards in the past four years. In October 2022, the paper received a second-place award from the American Scholastic Press Association in New York. In 2021, the Vermilion placed fourth overall at the Southeast Journalism Conference. The Vermillion staff earned a first-place individual writing award and a second-place overall award from SEJC in 2020. 

“The Vermilion staff is continuing to do a superior job of focusing on issues that affect our students, staff, faculty and alumni,” Director of Student Publications Matthew Tarver said. “They have seen the value of and have benefited from incorporating different viewpoints to reflect life on campus. When many college and professional publications have limited, or even ceased production, our staff has continued to excel in creating content that is well received.”

Edith Garland Dupré started The Vermilion newspaper in 1904, and it is one of the oldest student organizations on campus.