JEA honors 6 with Friend of Scholastic Journalism Award

JEA honors 6 with Friend of Scholastic Journalism Award

Friend of Scholastic Journalism

By Erinn Harris, MJE, awards committee chair

Five individuals and one group who have made significant contributions to scholastic journalism will be honored by the Journalism Education Association this fall. Each will be recognized as a Friend of Scholastic Journalism during the virtual Fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 19-20.

The award recipients are Jay P. Goldman, Peter Griffin, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, Jeremy W. Steele, Mary Beth Tinker and Jason Zhu.

Jay P. Goldman 

In serving as editor of School Administrator magazine, adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland’s Phillip Merrill College of Journalism and board vice president of the Maryland-D.C. Scholastic Press Association, Jay P. Goldman has worked tirelessly. He not only advocates for scholastic journalism, but he has contributed to the convention experience of thousands of students visiting Washington, D.C. in 2014 and 2019.

As editor of School Administrator magazine, published by The School Superintendents Association, Goldman has shown his support for New Voices legislation across the country as the magazine dedicated an eight-page cover story to the significance of student journalism programs.

“It’s a fascinating article and one that I recently shared with my own private school administration as part of a process to open a dialogue about First Amendment rights for our student publications,” said Jessica Nassau, director of publications at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. “I would encourage you to read it, as it is yet one more way that Jay continues to think of and support scholastic journalism.”

Peter Griffin, CJE

Peter Griffin, CJE, Jostens yearbook specialist, has been working with yearbook representatives, staffs, editors and advisers for the past 30 years.

In thinking back on his first meeting with Griffin, recently retired adviser at Rocklin (California) High School Casey Nichols, MJE, said, “What I think I intuitively understood and now have confirmed is this is a fellow traveler with a deep and abiding passion for scholastic journalism. You see, Peter isn’t ‘just a sales rep’ (and one of the best in the Jostens fold), he’s a master learner and educator.”

Griffin has used his career to foster the same love of learning and teaching in all those willing to learn, providing workshop opportunities for all students, not just those with whom he works.

“Pete provides an essential service to the scholastic journalism community in Colorado,” said Karen Slusher, dean of students at Eaglecrest High School in Centennial, Colorado. “For this, he truly has been and will be a friend of scholastic journalism. We can’t thank him enough for the support, opportunities and encouragement he provides year after year.”

PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs

A video journalism program currently reaching more than 150 middle and high school classrooms across the country, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs provides students and their teachers with the resources and tools to develop professional news stories about the topics that matter to them.

Michael Kaufman, program director for LCPS-TV in L’Anse Creuse Public Schools in Macomb, Michigan, has come to see his experience with the SRL as one of the most transformative opportunities in his professional career.

“To cite their motto: ‘Think. Create. Inform.’ I can think of no better way to describe the effects of PBS Student Reporting Labs as my students are better critical thinkers who add their own perspective to create informative news features in conjunction with their incredible team of producers,” Kaufman said. “What more could you ask of a friend of scholastic journalism?”

Jeremy W. Steele

Jeremy W. Steele, executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, began his career as a reporter for the Port Huron Times Herald and has spent most of his career giving a voice to the voiceless. He helps student journalists through the fight for student press rights legislation, creates innovative solutions during a global pandemic and paves the way for teachers and advisers to continue pursuits of lifelong learning.

Haley Kluge, deputy art director for Variety, encapsulates Steele’s status as a friend of scholastic journalism.

“He’s acted as my professor, my role model, editor, critic, cheerleader and even my tour guide, as he led my college study abroad through Germany,” she said. “He’s been my adviser and my boss, but most of all, he’s been a champion of student journalism.”

Mary Beth Tinker

Mary Beth Tinker is a certified rock star in the hearts and minds of student journalists and their teachers around the country.

Since the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District decision in 1969, Tinker’s contributions to high school journalism include her tireless work on behalf of student First Amendment rights, her continued support and advocacy for these rights and, more importantly, her willingness to personally connect with students and advisers throughout the country and to share her knowledge, experiences and compassion with them.

“One of the things I appreciate about Mary Beth is that instead of basking in the admiration everyone wants to show her, she seems to feel, that because of her experience, it is her responsibility to encourage everyone to stand up for free expression,” said Diana Hadley, former Indiana High School Press Association executive director.

Now more than ever, Tinker’s actions and advocacy inspire scholastic journalists to do the important work of covering this time in their lives.

“Our students are living through a time more important than ever to speak out against the wrongs of the world, fight for good, stand up to those who attempt to limit or ignore the five freedoms of the First Amendment,” JEA President Sarah Nichols, MJE, said. “Seeing a vocal and renewed celebration of Mary Beth Tinker and her role in scholastic journalism — and specifically within JEA — will be a boost for us all.”

Jason Zhu

Jason Zhu, president of JEA China, travels throughout China and around the globe, teaching students how to broaden their horizons by sharing insights through stories.

Over the past five years, Zhu has forged partnerships and opportunities for students involved in JEA China, creating an outlet for Chinese students to engage in journalism and explore issues affecting their communities. Though his background is in management consulting, Zhu has proven himself an international educator, creating an infrastructure for scholastic journalism education that has allowed Chinese student journalists to compete at the highest level against their U.S. counterparts. 


Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, promoting professionalism, encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

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