Publications and website honored at national convention

Program wins three major awards at convention in Denver


By Photo by Hanna Steen

Editors of Mill Valley News and the JagWire Newspaper showcase their national awards. Pictured left to right, senior Kat White, junior Tori Aerni, junior Jena Smith, junior Shelby Hudson, sophomore Raya Lehan.

Alexis Strauss, JAG editor-in-chief

The journalism department won three major honors for its work in 2014-2015 at national convention in Denver on Saturday, April 18.

Mill Valley News website was honored for being an Online Pacemaker finalist and also placed second in Small School Publication Website category in the convention Best of Show contest. The JagWire newspaper placed fourth in Newspaper Tabloid  category in the convention Best of Show contest at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention.

The Best of Show awards represent the best publications from the schools that attend the convention. The Online Pacemaker finalist, sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association, recognizes the top publications in the nation in a given year.

Junior Mill Valley News co-web editor Jena Smith also said that winning the awards acknowledged all the time that they put into their reporting.

“It’s really awesome because our hard work has finally paid off and both staffs were recognized for all the work we put into [the publications],” Smith said.

Compared to last year, the Mill Valley News website has also improved by becoming more advanced and enjoyable, according to sophomore co-web editor Raya Lehan.

“I think the design of the website this year is a lot cleaner and it’s easier to [find] content,” Lehan said. “I also think that this year people have been more into the aspect of posting on the web because last year [the staff] wasn’t as enthusiastic about it and this year I think we have developed their enjoyment for the web.”

Lehan said the devotion that the journalism team gave to the website allowed them to have an advantage in winning the award.

“The banner that [junior JAG Web Editor] Shelby Hudson [created] is absolutely amazing and we got so many compliments on it, so I have no doubt that that helped us win the award,” Lehan said. “Also the fact that we put up content so regularly shows that we have a commitment to our website and have dedication to both its design and content has really helped us prevail.”

According to Smith, the JagWire staff members contributed many strong aspects to the paper that assisted in their fourth place award.

“I’d say our photography [helped us]. We have some really good photographers [as well as] news writers,” Smith said. “We make sure the content that we publish isn’t biased and is well written.”

Journalists from schools across the country attended the convention, and sophomore JagWire staff member Madison Ferguson had the opportunity to join in on the experience.

“The conference was very light-hearted and it felt like a family. It was just a bunch of journalists getting together and doing what they love,” Ferguson said. “It was [also] an honor to get what we placed for the website and the JagWire.”

Throughout the year, the newspaper has developed into a stronger publication and Ferguson said the content they published had become more relatable to students.

“We have put out more information that is more interesting to high school students,” Ferguson said. [Such as] sports and events happening at school with the Catty Shack and other activities.”


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