Members of the newspaper staff journeyed to JEA/NSPA Journalism Convention in Seattle on Tuesday, April 10, where it garnered four Best of Show awards. However, it failed to secure the Online Pacemaker award it had been nominated for. A complete list of winners can be seen here.
At the convention, students had the opportunity to attend classes on topics such as photography and design to improve their journalistic skills, as well as receive criticism and advice on their work. Additionally, awards were given for individuals and to staffs as a whole based on various achievements. Senior photographer Courtney Minter earned Honorable Mention in the sports photography category and senior editor-in-chief Sarah Darby earned a Superior rating in the news writing category.
Darby, who was previously named as the Kansas High School Journalist of the Year, was also one of six runners-up for the national title.
“My heart was beating really fast,” Darby said. “There’s a lot of suspense building up to that. It’s supsensful, and I’d been waiting to hear what the results of the contests would be.”
The next convention will be in the fall in San Antonio.
This past weekend, some of our staff attended the JEA/NSPA National Convention in Seattle. During the convention, we came back with many awards including fourth place for Best of Show for the newspaper, 10th for special section and second for website. Editor-in-chief Sarah Darby also was named a JEA runner-up for National Journalist of the Year.
For the first time ever, our school placed in every Best of Show category it entered. In addition to the awards the newspaper won, the yearbook also placed fourth in its category. The Best of Show competition judges every publication entered at that specific convention. It is exciting to know that out of the hundreds of schools in attendance at the Seattle convention, our publications stood out. At the convention, we also officially received a plague for being an Online Pacemaker Finalist. Although our website did not win a Pacemaker at the convention, I was still ecstatic to be a finalist in only the second year of the website’s existence. Additionally, this weekend I found out I was named a runner-up for National High School Journalist of the Year. A total of 37 state winners competed in the national competition and I was one of six runner-ups. One additional student journalist was named the overall winner. Opportunities like the Seattle convention are constant reminders to me of how much I have been able to experience because of journalism. Journalism has truly defined my high school experience and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am so excited and proud of our staff for all of their hard work this year. It is exciting to watch it pay off, especially after last convention’s results where we didn’t place in nearly as many categories. I am also really happy that we placed at all in special section because that was kind of an experiment for our staff as we had never done anything like that before. It’s funny that we were able to figure out what category our newspaper should be in (tabloid) and that we were successful in that category after not placing last convention in newsmagazine. Sarah being a runner-up recipient makes me so proud of her, even though I already knew she would get something. She is definitely the most deserving high school journalist I know. Congratulations to our staff for all of their hard work this year. Even though we are on our last issue, I know that the returning staff will make next year’s newspaper something they can continue to be proud of.
Lesson of the week:
1. Hard work always pays off.
Lesson number 30 of being an editor-in-chief: Check.
This past week at convention has been a great learning experience for us as well as the members of our staff that went along. We are excited to bring back all of the information we learned to our staff. We both plan on bringing back a new-found enthusiasm for journalism that we can share with our staff. We are also so proud of our staff members for their dedication throughout the weekend. Convention was an incredible learning experience and everyone that attended was very focused and ready. We are proud of everyone and their accomplishments this weekend.
This year’s convention marks my third convention as a staff member. As I have found in the past, the convention was an exciting and inspiring event. I love seeing thousands of other people that might not think I am crazy for practically living in the journalism room. Our staff attended information sessions, participated in write-off contests and snuck in time to go to the Mall of America. For me, this convention was a bit bittersweet. I will probably not be attending another convention and it won’t be long until I will leave high school journalism behind. As Jill talks about, neither our paper or website placed in the best of show competition. Last year both place and our website even got tenth place. Initially, I was disappointed. After reflecting on the week, however, I realized I couldn’t be more proud of the work the JagWire has produced this year. Readership of the paper is as high as ever, and our website has again and again reached new milestones in page views and reader interaction. I believe our paper provides consistent coverage of topics relevant to students and I don’t need an award to assure me of it.
This weekend is definitely a weekend I won’t forget. I took mainly classes on design and it is always nice to get out and see what other schools and publications are doing with their designs. I like coming back with new ideas and new enthusiasm and being able to share that with the staff. This weekend also made me think about how I had decided that journalism wasn’t a possible career. I am definitely reconsidering because it is something that I am good at and enjoy more than anything else, so I don’t know why I would try to force myself in another direction. On another topic, our staff didn’t place in best of show for the paper or the website which was definitely a little bit of a letdown. However, I don’t want anyone to think that this is any type of testament to a lack of effort this year. I think this year has been the best year of all the years I’ve been on staff for enthusiasm. Everyone works so hard and winning awards is by no means a measure of that. I’m excited to see where the rest of this year takes us as a staff and I think we will continue to do a great job.
Lessons of the week:
1. Winning awards is not a testament to hard work.
2. Sometimes it’s good to get outside of our box and see new things.
Lesson 14 of being an editor-in-chief: Check.
In our last couple of blogs, we talked about the upcoming journalism convention in Minneapolis. As part of the convention, school papers can submit their websites as well as their print newspaper to be judged at the convention. At the end of the convention, the top 10 in each category are announced and it is a great honor to be ranked as one of the top 10 papers in the nation.
Sarah speaking: Last year, after having only been launched for a few months, our website took 10th place in its category at the journalism convention at Kansas City. Since then, I have made a sort of goal to myself to try to beat last year’s placing. Our website this year has a great number of new additions. In the past we had only a few tabs, but now we have enough content to fill the website. Nine blogs post weekly, our photo tab allows us to feature photos easily and our new sports center tab shows sports scores and player profiles. We also embeded social media onto the site and made contacting our staff easier for viewers. Most importantly, we now post multiple things daily to the site. Last year we posted about once a week. Getting to this point hasn’t always been easy. We use a day system to keep content updated, meaning each person on staff posts something in a specific category on their day each week. Many staff members turn their stories in on time. The others who don’t are sometimes difficult to motivate. Managing a sports schedule has also proved difficult. On the other hand, the website became a clear branch of our paper this year and will no longer be an after thought in the future. I for one, can’t wait for the convention.
While the website is definitely Sarah’s forte, I am very proud of the progress it has been making this year. She is a whiz at the site and always seems to know what’s going on. The hard work has definitely paid off as I think the website looks amazing this year and have received several compliments on it from various people around the school. I hope the judges at the convention can also see the hard work that has gone into the website and will recognize that. Along with the website, we are submitting our actual newspaper for judging as well. Our newspaper has always done really well in the competition, even though we are often competing with glossy, 30-page magazines. I think our paper this year looks even better than it has in years past thanks to the dedication of our staff members so I am especially excited to see how the paper does this year in competition. I think we have made ourselves very reader friendly, and have also worked to make our designs that much more appealing. I have a feeling we are going to come back from the convention especially proud of our paper and website, knock on wood.
Lesson of the week:
1. It’s fun to show off your hard work and get actual recognition for your efforts. We look forward to doing so.
Lesson 13 of being an editor-in-chief: Check.
Countdown to Minneapolis: 3 days.