2009 board of directors elections
REGION 1 / NORTHWEST
Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming
Steve Matson, MJE
Charles Wright Academy, Tacoma, Wash.
Steve Matson, MJE, teaches journalism and AP English at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Wash., where he advises the news magazine and the yearbook. He speaks regularly at national conventions about press law and ethics, staff management, design, computer technology, and adviser training. The Crossings yearbook has earned top 10 placings in NSPA’s Best of Show, and The Academy Times has received several national Pacemakers, Gold Crowns, and Best of Show trophies. The Academy Times was inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame in 2008. Matson has received JEA’s Medal of Merit, NSPA’s Pioneer Award, WJEA’s Adviser of the Year, and his journalism staff manual received a JEA award for “Innovative Instruction.” Matson was the local chair for the 2005 Seattle national journalism convention; he serves as regional director for JEA’s Northwest Region 1.
Statement of Goals:
Advisers in Region I face increasing pressure from school officials who want to restrict the content of student publications to suit their personal notion of appropriateness or what is a suitable public image for a school. In some schools, student publication budgets are shrinking; in other schools publications are losing staff members to the squeeze caused by other school requirements. In JEA we need to protect the rights of students to do responsible, professional journalism, to protect journalism’s place in the curriculum, and to provide journalism educators with the resources they need to become excellent teachers. In Oregon, we have been successful in passing legislation that protects the scholastic press, and we are trying hard to do the same in Washington. I hope to continue working for these goals as regional director for the Northwest Region, and to serve the larger association on the JEA Board.
REGION 2 / SOUTHWEST
Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah
Palo Alto High School
Ellen Austin relocated to Palo Alto from Minnesota in 2007 to join the Paly journalism department, where her journalism colleagues are Paul Kandell and Esther Wojijcki. She teaches English and advises the Palo Alto High School Viking sports magazine, which started up last year. The Viking received Best of Show award in the newsmagazine category at the Anaheim convention in April.
Austin was previously the adviser of The Rubicon at St. Paul (Minn.) Academy. While there, the paper was named best small newspaper in Minnesota by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2005 and 2006. Before that, Austin taught at a small rural public school in southern Minnesota and helped start up the Cannon Falls High School Lantern, which was named best small newspaper in 2004. She holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. She serves as chair of the SPLC advisory council steering committee and is a JEANC board member.
Statement of Goals:
Thirty years ago, I was a photographer and writer on my high school paper, using a wax machine to paste up copy and printing through a halftone screen in a wet darkroom to produce photos. Today, as an adviser for a 64-page sports magazine, our production process is one composed of Word documents, InDesign software and digital photos.
Changes in technology in past decades have been startling, but core skills taught through scholastic journalism remain the same: ask good questions, be diligent in research, write well, and give readers strong visuals that complement and extend the writing. Most important, though, journalism students exercise their right to speak and write freely and become part of the voice of the school — and their nation. I teach journalism because I believe students find relevance in the writing they do for their newspaper or yearbook that is rarely present in other parts of their academic writing. Students engaged in good journalistic endeavors write stories that cause school buses to stop funneling exhaust into school doorways; stories that cause traditions of hazing to be brought to scrutiny; stories that cause Supreme Court decisions to be made that guarantee — or more recently, limit — freedom of speech and the press within a high school setting.
I would like to serve in this position to be part of the ongoing conversations we need to continue at all levels about maintaining free expression for our students, ensuring support and encouragement for journalism teachers currently in the field, and finding new ways to envision what journalism means and what it can be as we face a new incarnation of technology that asks
us to re-think how and with what tools our stories can be told.