2018 Carl Towley Winner
The Journalism Education Association has named Nancy Smith, MJE, Lafayette High School (Wildwood, Missouri), as its Carl Towley Award recipient. Smith, who has served scholastic journalism in a variety of ways, is most recognized for her years of service organizing, managing and improving JEA’s Write-off competitions.
“The first words that come to mind when I attempt to describe Nancy are that she is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and selfless,” nominator Mitch Eden, MJE, said. “Nancy is the consummate professional. Her commitment to students and journalism is not only evident at LaFayette High School, but nationally through JEA and NSPA, state-wide through the Missouri Journalism Education Association (MJEA) and locally through journalismSTL.”
Smith’s role wasn’t always like this. It actually used to be less demanding.
“It’s important to remember that Write-offs used to have three chairwomen, two of whom would rotate between fall/spring conventions,” nominator Kelly Furnas, MJE, said. “And there used to be fewer contests. And fewer entries. And no Quiz Bowl. Everything about JEA contests has grown under Nancy’s leadership, not the least of which is the responsibilities of her position.”
As the Write-off chair, Smith manages nearly 50 contests for both the fall and spring conventions and the sometimes up to 3,500 students who enter those contests, she coordinates the hundreds of judges needed to evaluate the entries, and she arranges for the rooms, speakers, audio-visual requirements, shipping, rubrics, and materials students need.
“Over the years, many of our contest chairs have been good at the details. What Nancy uniquely brings to the equation is a vision,” nominator Bradley Wilson, MJE, said. “She doesn’t just want the Write-off contests to be good where they are today. She has insight and ideas to make them great tomorrow.”
Smith will be recognized for her service to scholastic journalism at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention this fall in Chicago.
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.