JEA names four Friends of Scholastic Journalism for 2018

JEA names four Friends of Scholastic Journalism for 2018

Four individuals/groups who have made significant contributions to scholastic journalism will be recognized this fall as a JEA Friend of Scholastic Journalism. Each will receive an award during the Saturday Adviser Luncheon at the convention in Chicago.

The award recipients are Joe Fain, Washington State Senator; Greg Luft, Professor and Chair of Journalism and Media Communication at Colorado State University; the Illinois Press Foundation; and Jason Wallestad and Tom Hutchinson, SNO site creators.

Joe Fain, Auburn, Washington, discovered his appreciation for scholastic journalism after visiting Tom Kaup’s classroom, where Kaup’s students demonstrated their passion for free speech and free press. After that meeting, Fain became a staunch supporter of the New Voices bill that was signed into state law this past spring. “Senator Fain became an articulate spokesperson for the reasons why this legislation represented the fundamental right to a free press that all American citizens must protect,” nominator Kathy Schrier, MJE, said. “He spoke passionately before his fellow senators and again before the education committee in the house. He also produced a short and engaging video, part of his “57 Seconds” series, explaining the bill and its purpose. This video has been shared and used by many working to pass legislation in other states.”

Greg Luft, Fort Collins, Colorado, has always had a passion for broadcast journalism, and although he has experienced success as a broadcast journalist, his passion took him back to education. As Professor and Chair of Journalism and Media Communication at Colorado State University, Luft helped establish a strong partnership with Colorado Student Media Association (formerly CHSPA), helping host an annual state conference for middle and high school kids that often brings in over 1,400 students from across Colorado. “He is simply that guy you can always count on to back you up, to provide wisdom, and to turn challenges into triumphs,” nominator Jack Kennedy, MJE, said. Luft proves this to be true time and time again as teachers often turn to him for support in starting their broadcast programs. “Greg did so much more than merely answer my questions,” Sheila Jones, CJE, said. “Drawing upon his years of award-winning professional experience and his success in developing a strong college education program, he then helped me identify the critical components for each of the platforms and develop a vision of how each would interact with and complement the others.”

Illinois Press Foundation functions as the educational arm for the Illinois Press Association, and in this capacity, the foundation has served to support scholastic journalism in Illinois in a number of ways. In 2016, the foundation worked with Frank LoMonte to help secure the New Voices bill, and it currently strives to provide programming, resources, supplies, and financial support for scholastic journalism. “Every year they ask us, ‘What do you need?’ Every year they brainstorm with us on the changing advising landscape, and what they might do to help us. And every year they respond with what we need to ensure journalism at the high school level thrives in Illinois,” nominator Sally Renaud said. IPF understands what it means to support budding student journalists in their state, and they are eager to do everything they can to help impact this field of study.

Jason Wallestad and Tom Hutchinson, St. Louis Park, Minnesota, are the reason many high schools are able to have an online news presence today. When Wallestad wanted to help his students make the move to include online news, he ran into a roadblock and a lack of support. After talking with Hutchinson about the problem, the two collaborated and eventually came up with School Newspapers Online (SNO). SNO provides everything Wallestad had been looking for—user-friendly templates for student newspapers, technical support, and affordability. “I really don’t think online scholastic journalism would be in the place it’s at right now without Tom and Jason,” nominator Aaron Manfull, MJE, said. “They have helped level the playing field with schools and make the web something that is accessible for everyone. From an adviser standpoint, they’ve taken a lot of the stress of moving online off advisers shoulders and working with SNO is essentially like having another adviser in your class helping you with the technical aspects of managing the site.”

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.

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