The Journalism Education Association has named Declan Palmer of Centennial, Colorado, the 2015 Aspiring Young Journalist Award honoree. JEA presents this award to junior high/middle school students to acknowledge and reward their work, and to encourage them to continue their journalistic studies in high school.
Emily Blunt of Essex, Missouri, was selected as runner-up.
Declan served two years on the Eagle Eye yearbook staff at Sierra Middle School in Parker, Colorado, serving as copy/design editor in 2013-2014 and editor-in-chief in 2014-2015. He also served on the Summit newspaper staff as a photographer for two years and as a reporter with STV for a semester. His adviser Jed Palmer wrote that “his energy and passion for journalism was evident on day one and he shared that enthusiasm with students around him.”
In addition to gaining experience in all three mediums at his school, Palmer’s yearbook leadership stood out to his adviser.
“Declan was able to push the group to rethink the traditional coverage that we had used in the past and to create a conceptual plan to tell the stories of the year,” Jed Palmer wrote. “He moves easily through the room, guiding the staff through the different phases of creation, revision and final submission of pages.”
Declan has won awards for his photography and spread designs from the Colorado High School Press Association with a First Place Best in Show in the Small Middle/High School division at the annual J-Day convention.“What stood out to the judges about Declan was his vast experience in such a short amount of time,” said Rebecca Pollard, chair of the Aspiring Young Journalist Committee. “He has clearly found his passion, and has worked to acquire many skills in his journalistic toolbox. His experience in yearbook, photography, broadcast and leadership is an impressive foundation for him to build on as he transitions to high school student media.”
Emily Blunt served as a photographer for The Rebel yearbook staff at Richland R-1 School in Missouri. She frequented sporting events and field trips for action shots that told the stories of her school behind the lens.
Her adviser, Kyle Carter, wrote, “She has the ability to use light and color like no other middle school student I’ve ever seen. While I’m discussing with most about the difference in shutter speeds, Emily wants to know more about wirelessly tethering cameras together, and how to pre-focus a camera while shooting a backboard cam. She wants to know and learn to do everything with a camera, from sports and news, to features and pure artwork.”
Declan received his award April 19 at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Denver.
Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.