June 17, 2013

Meet COMJIG's top student paper winner

The winner of COMJIG's top student paper is a former journalist who also happens to be COMJIG's graduate student liaison for 2012-13.
His paper, "A plain circle: Imagined Amish and Mennonite community in the national edition of The Budget," will be part of COMJIG's refereed panel presentation on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 5:15 to 6:46 p.m. at the AEJMC convention in Washington, D.C.
Clay Carey
Clay Carey is pursuing his doctorate at Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. He is a native of Tennessee who, before enrolling in Ohio University for his master’s degree, worked as a correspondent for USA Today and edited and wrote for newspapers including The Nashville Tennessean.
His investigative and other reporting skills have earned him SPJ and and Tennessee Press awards. He places a premium on community and giving back to it, which he has done in his professional work and continues to do so even while working toward his doctoral degree.
As the assistant director for the E.W. Scripps High School Journalism Workshop, Carey is able to do something he enjoys the most: work with young people. Harnessing students’ enthusiasm for journalism projects was an interest even in his pre-graduate-school life, when as an editor he helped a school establish a student-run newspaper.
Carey serves as a valuable role model for students whatever their age, and he has two young sons to look up to him, too. He’s done investigative reporting to uncover a variety of wrongdoings, including a state athletic association’s funding practices that prevented some rural schools from participating in sports. His story about escaped criminals living boldly in the open led to a roundup of prison escapees and, eventually, a policy change.
Carey’s research is focused on — what else? — community. He’s making a case for how Amish and Mennonite newspaper columnists, writing in a distinctive style, help form a sense of society even when individuals settlements are separated by large distances. This project grew out of his master's thesis, which he worked on with his adviser, Bill Reader, former head of COMJIG.
Carey's I started his journalism career as a reporter at The Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat and later worked as news editor at The News Examiner in Gallatin, Tenn., and as the editor of the Hendersonville (Tenn.) Star News. All three of those newspapers are in communities near Nashville.

Editor's note: A version of this article was originally published on the Scripps website and has been republished with permission.

— Written by Scripps MS student Kerry Kubilius

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