The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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SPECIAL NEWS: The Trend Competes for 40 Awards at OPA

Emily Loughridge
The Trend’s staff, including Mary-Grace McNutt, Paul Tointigh, Gary Jackson, Emily Loughridge, Laura Barrios Bardi, and Thomas Buchanan, attended the OCMA conference last April along with advisor, Dr. J.C. Casey.

Fourteen USAO students will compete for 40 awards for journalism excellence in the 2023 Oklahoma Press Association Better Newspaper Contest. Winners will be announced in June during the OPA’s spring conference in Oklahoma City.

“This is the first time we’ve entered the OPA’s contest, and we will be up against 15 other college newspapers of all sizes,” senior Emily Loughridge, who has served as The Trend’s editor-in-chief since January 2023, said

Eight students are nominated for individual excellence in 11 categories.

Loughridge and senior Paul Tointigh were both nominated for seven awards each.

Loughridge will compete in News Story, Feature Story, Sports Story, Education, News Photograph, Feature Photograph, and Photo Essay. Tointigh will compete in

News and Feature Story, Business Story, Education, In-Depth Reporting, Column Writing, and News Photograph.

Other nominees include communication junior and The Trend’s sports editor Gary Jackson (Feature Story and Sports Story), freshman history education major Austin Jackson (Sports Story), business administration sophomore Holden Pate (Sports Story), art sophomore Thomas Buchanan (In-Depth Reporting), communication senior Gabi Merchen (Column Writing), and sophomore art major Laura Bardi (Feature Photography, Sports Photograph, and Photo Essay).

The Trend, USAO’s student-produced newspaper, will compete in five categories that recognize a newspaper’s overall body of work in a particular area, including advertising, editorial writing, photography, sports coverage, and digital media.

Students whose work supported the publication nominations include sophomore communication major Ray Latham-Thomas, advertising; communication majors Harry Cracknell, Cassie Srock, and Merchen editorial writing; Loughridge, Tointigh, and Bardi, photography; communication junior Preston Palm, sophomore physical education major Hunter Dewall, and communication major Matthew Yokum, sports coverage; and Loughridge, digital media.


Dr. J.C. Casey is a professor of communication at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributors
Dr. J.C. Casey, Faculty Advisor
Dr. J. C. Casey is the professor of communication in the Division of Arts and Humanities at USAO.  Since 1992, Dr. Casey has taught journalism, public speaking, communication research, ethics and legal issues, and broadcasting courses at USAO. As the advisor of the student newspaper, The Trend, she works with students both inside and outside the classroom. Dr. Casey also has worked with students and staff to produce television shows, documentaries, reader’s theatre and public relations campaigns at the university. Dr. Casey has twice been named Regents Superior Teacher of the Year. She has also served twice as President of the USAO Faculty Association. In addition, she has served on a variety of university and state committees, including the Faculty Advisory Council to the Chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and has written a number of successful grants for the Academic TV Lab and The Trend. She earned advanced degrees from Northwestern State University in Louisiana and the University of Maryland.   *Information provided by USAO's website (
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a third-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining a minor in psychology, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant, where she takes photos of the various athletic events and assists with the live broadcast. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream on the couch with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022