Fall 2020 Semiannual Report

Fall 2020 Semiannual Report

JEA’s semiannual report contains updates from staff, board members, committee chairs, state directors and liaisons.

Kelly Glasscock, CJE
Executive Director, Journalism Education Association
105 Kedzie Hall
828 Mid-Campus Dr. S.
Manhattan, KS 66506-1500

Memberships: Voting membership stands at 2,541, which is 5% fewer than a comparable time last fall. Total membership stands at 2,783, down 6% from last fall. We still have members who reside in each of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 


JEA Advisers Institute was held July 6-9.

JEA assistant director began Aug. 11.

Orlando 2020 convention planning meeting (virtual) with local committee took place Aug. 29.

Seattle 2021 convention planning meeting (virtual) with local committee took place Oct. 3.

Headquarters: JEA’s new assistant director, Lindsay Porter, started in August overlapping with retiring program coordinator Connie Fulkerson by a few weeks. Fulkerson’s retirement Sept. 18 concluded her three decade stint with the organization. Porter took on several of Fulkerson’s responsibilities on top of coordinating all of JEA’s communications efforts. 

JEA staff worked to move JEAai from an in-person conference in New Orleans to a virtual conference for advisers. Record numbers turned out for the event, nearly doubling typical registration counts. 

Work is underway to convert the Fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention to a virtual experience. This move represents a significant shift in business model for the organization with extra work and attention needed at all levels. 

Conventions: Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Spring NHSJC scheduled in Nashville was canceled, the first convention cancelation in the organization’s history. The 2020 Fall NHSJC, with more time to plan for a major shift, moved to an all-virtual convention model. The new strategy represented a large-scale deviation from established routines and convention practices. Liabilities of the spring 2020 and fall 2020 conventions were mitigated by signing future contracts to return to each location in 2029 and 2030 respectively. 
Additional information: As of Oct. 7 — about a quarter of the way through the fiscal year — JEA has net operating loss of $68,557.47. That loss is nearly erased when we factor in our investments, which have gained $65,498.96 so far this fiscal year, giving the organization a total net loss of $3,058.51. However, investments are unrealized gains, and the recent increase represents a significant climb after experiencing a large drop last fiscal year. JEA’s net assets remain healthy at $1,537,307.77.

Lindsay Porter
Assistant Director

Communications by the numbers:

2,783 JEA members — down 3% from spring 2020
3,575 Facebook followers — steady 2% gain monthly
3,814 Twitter followers — 15% gain since Aug. 1
1,775 Instagram followers — 2.4% gain since Aug. 1
8,000 newsletter email contacts — 31% open rate, 8% click rate
1,209 JEA listserv followers
40,167 website page views — 28,088 unique page views, 2.25 minutes average visit, 2.7 actions (page views, downloads, outlinks, searches) per visit 

Communications highlights:

• Expanded the JEA newsletter to semi-monthly. 
• Working to expand the quantity and variety of news posts on www.jea.org. 
• Working to promote ongoing programs and services to members.

Convention highlights:

• Learned a lot about Hubb.me and Vimeo to program the virtual Fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention. 

• 120 educational sessions scheduled for NHSJC — pre-recorded video sessions with interactive chat, live stream sessions with interactive chat and live stream sessions with videoconferencing interaction. Most sessions will be available for on-demand viewing through Jan. 15, 2021.

Sarah Nichols, MJE
Whitney High School
701 Wildcat Blvd.
Rocklin, CA 95765

Wow. What a six-month period, right?

Thank you, journalism educators, for fighting the good fight. Thank you for reimagining your classroom and curriculum on a daily basis. Thank you for finding solutions to maintain continuity of learning, advising publications remotely, checking in on each other and modeling flexibility, grit and innovation for your students. Thank you for doing the impossible again and again.

Using the fall deadline as an opportunity to report and reflect, I’d like to highlight the outstanding scholastic journalism produced last spring at the height of the COVID-19 shutdown.

The strong coverage by students working remotely coupled with the incredible resilience of students finishing yearbooks by themselves without adequate technology, server access or school resources are remarkable examples of what student journalism is all about and how much students care about serving their communities.

I’m grateful for this powerful reminder of how valuable journalism skills are, and how having an authentic audience motivates students in their work. Having a platform to express themselves continues to be a powerful way for students to process what they’re going through as they attempt to make sense of their world, pandemic and all.

That isn’t limited to their work last spring and the initial wave of shutdowns in a public health crisis — as students navigate the rest of 2020 with regard to Black Lives Matter, elections, climate crisis (including wildfires) and senate hearings for a new Supreme Court justice, it brings to light how important it is for students to have a place where they can use their voices. Our work within JEA helps teachers with curriculum, training and support, including resources for how to do all of these legally, ethically and free from administrative censorship. What we do matters!

But enough preaching to the choir.

Since my last report, we also began a new three-year term. Working with new elected and appointed leaders has been a bright spot. We spent much of the summer engaging in various orientation, training and goal-setting activities as part of that transition. It’s an honor to work with engaged, passionate volunteers who aren’t afraid to ask questions, make suggestions and try new approaches. We’ve had more sessions on Zoom and Google Meet than I care to count!

Another transition was the farewell to Connie Fulkerson at JEA Headquarters as she retired and Lindsay Porter began JEA’s new assistant director position. It’s clear Porter shares Connie’s attention to detail and drive for excellence, so we’re all in good hands.

Since the last report, some of my efforts have included:

  • Presenting a session at Advisers Institute and coordinating the aiDIY workshop
  • Serving on the Society of Professional Journalists Journalism Ed Committee and working on its #Press4Education initiative
  • Contributing two posts to the JEA Digital Media site
  • Proctoring CJE and MJE exams virtually
  • Creating promotional items like T-shirts and stickers for Advisers Institute and First Amendment masks for the online store
  • Coordinating the First-time Convention Grant for the fall convention
  • Administering JEA’s online critique training, “You be the judge” (11 new credentialed judges, 327 users in the JEA community on Participate)
  • Helping create and launch anywhereJEA and developing free monthly resources
  • Participating in virtual state conferences and fall j-days for Indiana, South Dakota and Virginia by recording instructional sessions

Up next are two important projects related to our efforts to support and improve diversity in JEA programs and leadership with emphasis on creating opportunities for public dialogue on these topics. I hope to share details with you soon about a National Diversity Audit in collaboration with Bradley Wilson, MJE, and Kelly Glasscock, CJE. We also will begin work to collect member data in order to track various demographics of our membership beginning in January.

Connecting and providing support matters more than ever, and I’m so proud of Vice President Val Kibler, MJE, for her personal calls and online sessions with each state director over the past few months. With her leadership, directors in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin have hosted Zoom-ins for journalism advisers in their states. At the time of reporting, sessions are lined up in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi and Nebraska, too. Thank you to our incredible state director team for making these personal connections.

We couldn’t do what we do without our incredible headquarters staff. Kelly continues to juggle the demands of the executive director position with patience and grace, and in particular his continuous budget review and strong negotiation skills with convention properties are an asset. Porter has added so much value to the association’s communications and work flow in a short time. Behind the scenes, Cindy, Kate and Pam use their areas of expertise to serve members and leaders both from home and in the office to make things run smoothly, taking changes in stride.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I look forward to connecting virtually next month and in person as soon as possible.

Valerie Kibler, MJE
Vice President
Harrisonburg High School
1001 Garbers Church Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

As we kicked off our term virtually, the board and all JEA leaders have never been busier working to help our members. My hope is you have been able to utilize many of the resources we’re providing to make your life a little easier this fall.

In the time since last spring’s semiannual report, I’ve been involved in a variety of ways, which include:

  • Participating in monthly Google Hangouts with the board to communicate progress on reaching our goals and to continually update the budget for this organization.
  • Participated in JEAai (virtual edition), creating two presentation videos and leading a DIY session on creating staff manuals.
  • Appointing new state directors in California and Idaho. We are lucky to have Mitch Ziegler and Angela Zuroveste on our team. We continue to have active state directors in all states except Rhode Island and North Dakota.
  • Promoting the application process for the 2020 Partner Project and selecting instructors for the six schools to work with the Partner Project virtually this year.
  • Meeting with state directors in Google/Zoom meetings and kicking off an outreach initiative to have Zoom-in meetings in underserved areas of each state. I have attended Zoom-in meetings in Virginia, Florida, Hawaii, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Meetings are also scheduled for Mississippi, Indiana, Nebraska, Illinois and Maryland.
  • Collected over 100 instructional videos to replace our Virginia fall conference. We decided to open the collection to all teachers. Thank you SO much to many of our state directors and members from all over the country who contributed to this instructional library!
  • Created a JEA Zoom Best Practices one pager with Nina Quintana.

I know our members continue to give so much of their time and energy to advance scholastic journalism despite the added stress of our current climate. It’s hard to be a committed volunteer, and each day I’m more impressed by the work we accomplish together. I am so very appreciative of all of our state directors and other JEA leaders for all they do. Thank you!

Kristin Taylor, CJE
Scholastic Press Rights Director
The Archer School for Girls
11725 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

This is my first report as the new director of the Scholastic Press Rights Committee. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the committee has impressed me with their dedication and determination to provide support for scholastic press rights across the country. I am honored to take on this role.

SPRC works in teams with multiple members helping in a variety of areas. Members are Candace Bowen, MJE, John Bowen, MJE, Lindsay Coppens, Diana Day, Vince DeMiero, CJE, Mark Dzula, Chris Evans, Jan Ewell, MJE, Megan Fromm, MJE, Mark Goodman, Emilee Hussack, CJE, Cyndi Hyatt, CJE, Lori Keekley, MJE, Val Kibler, Mike Malcom-Bjorklund, MJE, Jackie Mink, Andrea Negri, Sarah Nichols, MJE, Tripp Robbins, CJE, Kathy Schrier, Teresa Scribner, Leslie Shipp, MJE, Matt Smith, CJE, John Tagliareni, Audrey Wagstaff, MJE, Mitch Ziegler, CJE, and Stan Zoller, MJE.

In addition to the specific items listed below, all SPRC members work with students and advisers who contact us with questions concerning press law and ethics. We often respond privately to those on the listserv or through the journalism Facebook group. I would like to especially thank John Bowen, Candace Bowen, Sarah Nichols and Stan Zoller for their insightful direct contact with advisers seeking help.

Constitution Day: (Led by Matt Smith) Our Constitution Day theme for 2020 was “Supporting Student Voices.” Members of the team were Matthew Smith, Mark Dzula, Kristin Taylor, John Bowen, Audrey Wagstaff and Michael Malcolm-Bjorklund. Lessons and student activities included Protecting Student Voices (laws and court cases), Expanding the First Amendment (New Voices state laws), Protest and the First Amendment, Reporting on Elections, Voting, Voice and the Constitution (15th and 16th Amendment), and Know Your News (news literacy). Complete lessons can be found here: https://jeasprc.org/constitution-day-2020/ 

Blogs: (Led by John Bowen) The blog team posts content weekly 10 months of the year. (We take off mid-June to mid-August.) Since March, contributors are John Bowen (four), Candace Perkins Bowen (two), Jan Ewell (one), Cyndi Hyatt (one), Susan McNulty (one), Mitch Ziegler (one) and Stan Zoller (two). See jeasprc.org for their work.  

National Student Media Contests: Vince DeMiero wrote the spring law and ethics test, which we are holding in reserve for the next in-person convention. John Bowen, Kathy Schier and Vince DeMiero developed an alternative, asynchronous version of the law and ethics test for this fall’s virtual convention and will be part of the judging team, which Kathy and I will co-lead.

Podcasts: (Kristin Taylor, Tripp Robbins, Diana Day, Lindsay Coppens) Due to the challenges of the pandemic, our podcast went on hiatus from March until October. We are now back up and running and plan to release monthly podcasts for the rest of the year. The first two episodes of season two are a discussion about ethical political coverage and endorsements in student publications and an interview with Mike Hiestand about the rise in censorship cases since the pandemic began.

Social media (Led by Andrea Negri; members are John Bowen, Emilee Hussack, Mark Dzula and Kristin Taylor): This group posts to social media daily promoting information and SPRC offerings. If you don’t already, please follow us @jeapressrights and like on Facebook.

Panic Button responders (Jan Ewell, Mitch Ziegler, Stan Zoller, Andrea Negri, Vince DiMiero, Lori Keekley, Kristin Taylor): I worked with Lindsay Porter at JEA to update the Panic Button form and the adviser/student PDFs to ensure the form was accessible and had the most current contact information for SPLC. The Panic Button team supports those in need of help who push SPRC’s Panic Button. Additionally, we reach out to those (individually) on the listserv when they post about censorship or prior review issues. Additional members have helped in their individual states with issues as they arise.

FAPFA Award: I am in the process of preparing to promote the 2021 contest. Applications will be due in December.

New Voices: (Kathy Shrier, John Tagliareni, Candace Bowen, Cyndi Hyatt, Andrea Negri and Stan Zoller) Work continues in many committee member states. The New Voices team has been working closely with Hillary Davis at the SPLC and co-hosted a Zoom-in with a panel of former students who fought and won New Voices fights in their own states on September 26. We have met twice as a committee with Hillary to coordinate our efforts, and Kathy and Vince have provided feedback for SPLC’s effort to create resources for implementation in states with new New Voices laws.

Student Press Freedom Day 2021: Sarah Nichols worked with Hadar Harris and Diana Mitsu Klos on initial plans to create synergy with Scholastic Journalism Week.

Other Presentations and Publications: In addition to blogging and podcasting, SPRC members spread awareness of student press rights through a number of platforms, including presenting at local, state and national conferences and conducting workshops. Sarah Nichols also published a letter to the editor in the October edition of School Administrator Magazine, which will be mailed to more than 20,000 members in school system administration across the country.

Shari Adwers, MJE
Educational Initiatives Director
794 McGurie Circle
Berryville, VA 22611

What a start to my term on the board! There’s nothing like getting thrown into the deep end of the pool to learn to swim. It’s been busy but so motivational, and we’ve accomplished a ton. I’m grateful to be working alongside a very supportive group of journalism educators who have made all the difference. (I consider them water wings.)

Since the spring, I’ve been:

  • Working with curriculum coordinators Megan Fromm, MJE, and Abri Nelson, CJE, to realign our priorities. While we began 2020 with a strategic plan for the next phase of the curriculum, our situation obviously changed that, so we shifted gears and spent the spring and summer months rolling out materials specifically geared to virtual learning and making those resources available to all journalism teachers and advisers regardless of JEA membership status. 
  • At the end of 2019, we’d developed a model for student-directed learning units that we tested in February just before schools closed. These simple, tech-friendly, self-paced lessons became the core of our Teaching in a Pandemic page that we’ve been working on since. 
  • We hosted several Curriculum Zoom-ins for back-to-school planning and curriculum support as well as some more specialized topics. Recordings are also hosted on the Teaching in a Pandemic page. Also, with the help of Val Kibler, MJE, and state directors, we gathered instructional videos that will be next to go live on the page. They are suited for both advisers and students.
  • Megan Fromm and I created Google Classroom and Schoology groups to support advisers as they teach remotely, and Megan, Abri and I continue to:
    • Fix broken links and update examples or lessons as needed.
    • Integrate suggestions for modifications for learners of different levels.
    • Respond to member requests or questions about the curriculum on social media and via email, including navigating lessons and putting resources to use.
  • Participating in board meetings and board chats as we continue to respond to changes in member needs and plan for upcoming conventions.

Sarah Verpooten, MJE
Lake Central High School
8400 Wicker Ave
Saint John, IN 46373

Since my term with JEA began in May, I have learned so much about this organization. We were warned that the onboarding process would be information overload, so I worked hard to ask as many questions as I could to better serve the membership for the duration of my term. Since then, I have worked with Kristin Taylor to roll out a new, two-pronged approach toward diversity, equity and inclusion within JEA.

  1. Better serve our members of color: We are working to provide a space for collaboration through affinity groups. We are surveying our members of color to gauge how we’re doing as an organization to serve unique needs. We are also looking for ways to amplify diverse voices within our leadership. 
  2. Provide antiracist education materials for all members: We reviewed our first resource, “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain” by Zaretta Hammond, and are hosting a Zoom-in in October to discuss how we can apply the concepts and pedagogical techniques from the book to a journalism class specifically. We will continue to recommend resources throughout the year so our members can ensure all voices are heard and represented in our student newsrooms. 

A new DEI page now exists on the JEA website to house these materials.  

I have also led a yearbook adviser panel discussion through Ball State University to discuss coverage within virtual and hybrid learning spaces. While this is not specifically a JEA initiative, it is always good to connect with advisers to see what we need as a group so JEA can better serve.

Brenda Field, MJE
Glenbrook South High School
4000 W. Lake Ave.
Glenview, IL 60026

Taking on a new office and learning all I need to know about JEA and its programs in the middle of a global pandemic hasn’t been easy, but I’m excited about the goals set forth by the new board for our three-year term and I’m more committed than ever to supporting advisers and staffs through the unprecedented challenges they’re facing.

To that end, my focus these past few months has been to provide assistance where needed and to determine a personal focus for my work as director-at-large. Activities have included the following:

  • Helping certification chair Amy Sorrell, MJE, test out a virtual solution for CJE and MJE exams and assisting with proctoring.
  • Supporting advisers and students facing press rights challenges.
  • Learning about and beginning to organize one-day virtual workshops for programs in need. 

Since taking office in May, I’ve learned there is a lot more to learn. There is also a lot more to do. I look forward to helping to find and craft solutions for advisers during this unusually demanding time.

Katie Merritt, MJE
Darlington School
1014 Cave Spring Road SW
Rome, GA 30161

My first six months on the board have been unique as we navigate our world during a pandemic. Welcoming new members and helping them find their way through all of the benefits of a JEA membership has been my top priority.

I am also working on a walk-through video of the JEA website to ensure all members can fully understand and appreciate all the site has to offer.

Erinn Harris, MJE
Awards Committee
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
6560 Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22312

The awards committee had an exciting fall announcement week, honoring an outstanding list of scholastic journalism advisers and supporters. 

Additionally, JEA named Jim McCarthy, broadcast adviser at Joseph A. Gregori High School in Modesto, Calif., its 2020 Broadcast Adviser of the Year Sept. 24. While we normally arrange for an in-person announcement, COVID-19 forced us to think creatively about how to surprise and subsequently honor McCarthy virtually. With the help of McCarthy’s principal, Derek Pendley, we were able to “Zoom bomb” McCarthy at a faculty meeting to make the announcement. 

In lieu of an awards luncheon, we will be creating a pre-recorded video awards ceremony that will air Saturday, Nov. 21. The video will include brief speeches from Connie Fulkerson, 2020 Carl Towley Award winner; Becky Tate, 2020 Yearbook Adviser of the Year; Jim McCarthy, 2020 Broadcast Adviser of the Year; and Gary Brady, 2020 Administrator of the Year. We will also recognize the CJE and MJE’s, Future Teacher Scholarship Award winners, Friends of Scholastic Journalism, Rising Stars, and Medal of Merit winners. The video ceremony will run approximately 30 minutes.

The awards committee met to discuss the upcoming Yearbook Adviser of the Year contest Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, as well as the new application platform, Submittable.

This new application platform is going to make the application process smoother on all levels. Submittable allows applicants to begin an application, save their work, and return to it later. It also allows applicants to send recommendation requests to recommenders; the email will include a direct upload link where they can send their application. Additionally, Submittable sends a receipt to applicants, letting them know that we have their materials and are looking forward to reviewing them.

For judges, this platform is a one-stop shop. All application materials, as well as judging rubrics and scoring guides, will live in Submittable. There are multiple ways to score the applications, and the committee is currently discussing the best ways to incorporate all Submittable has to offer with a fair, efficient and effective scoring process.

Awards Committee standing members: Martha Akers, Sara-Beth Badalamente, CJE, Leslie Dennis, Linda Drake, MJE, Ranae Duncan, Del Ellerton, Charla Harris, CJE, Thomas Kaup, MJE, Leslie Thompson, CJE, Cindy Todd, Ann Visser, MJE, Carmen Wendt, MJE, Andrew Young, CJE, Mitch Ziegler, and Bretton Zinger, MJE. 

Broadcast Adviser of the Year judges: Alyssa Boehringer, CJE, Michelle Coro, CJE, Christina Geabhardt, MJE, and Don Goble.

Yearbook Adviser of the Year judges: Renee Burke, MJE, Judi Coolidge, Mary Kay Downes, MJE, Mark Murray, and Becky Tate, CJE.

Nina Quintana, CJE
Career and Technical Education Committee
Bernalillo High School148 Spartan Aly
Bernalillo, NM 87004

There are no testing results to report as JEA did not test Adobe Certiport or Precision Exams in the spring of 2020. 

The committee would like to see the number of individuals signing up to take the exams increase; however, based on the previous two conventions, the trend has not shown an increase in numbers. We will continue to advertise and promote this initiative, with the underlying goal of JEA continuing to support CTE initiatives within respective states. Teachers and students who are not CTE programs can also benefit in building individual portfolios or adding to credentials, so this opportunity really is a win for all JEA members.

As a reminder from the Spring report: If a communications program is recognized under the CTE umbrella, participating in certification opportunities will assist in demonstrating that the program is highly qualified in the pathway of study. Remember, having opportunities for students to receive industry certification is an important component for CTE recognition. It is important to remember that if programs are currently classified as a CTE program or are trying to work into this pathway of study under the CTE umbrella, certifications for both the adviser and students adds to meeting full compliance for the program receiving funds under the Carl D. Perkins grant.

My over-arching goal is to continue to move the needle forward for journalism programs that would like to become CTE pathways of study and to assist with funding issues that might provide additional resources for the classroom. In order to gather information so the committee can identify the needs of the JEA community, information was collected on the CTE survey. The information gathered will assist in updating the CTE tab for the website and assist with setting goals for future projects. 

Work that the committee will focus on includes the continued development of the website such as adding examples of developed communication pathways of studies as these items are examples of how one school may build a program versus an exemplar of how to build a program pathway. Currently, I have had individuals reach out after viewing information on the site about how to start a program or individuals who have used items and information for presentation to their school board to discuss why journalism programs should be looked at as CTE pathways of study. Because of some of the technical aspects with setting up items appropriately on the website, I proposed a retreat for the CTE committee to focus on phase two of the website. This will include updating phase 1 to include quotes and images, building templates for various programs to house information on the website and developing phase 3.

Some challenges with the retreat include developing an engaging collaboration time in a virtual setting and coordinating a time that will work for both committee members and the College and Career Readiness Bureau. The planning or work time to move efforts forward have begun, and a solid date should be set for late October, early November. 

Moving forward, the partnership with Business Professionals of America as part of the CTE collaboration included providing judges to support the Photography competition JEA has sponsored in previous years. At this time, the committee feels efforts in looking at CTE-focused organizations such as ACTE (Association for Career & Technical Education) would better serve our efforts moving forward. The ACTE conferences focus on various CTE programs from across the country to present best practices. This would be a good opportunity to see how presentations are run and look to setting up sessions that will showcase journalism programs as quality CTE programs.

Amy Sorrell, MJE
Certification Committee
303 S. Harrmann Road
Antwerp, OH 45813

Members: The committee added four new members. RJ Morgan, MJE, is our new post-secondary member. He joins Candace Bowen, MJE, Jane Blystone, MJE, and Brian Hayes, MJE. Sandra Coyer, MJE, Andrea Negri, MJE, and Mark Hilburn, MJE, join Rod Satterthwaite, MJE, as the secondary education committee members. 

Information and Events: The certification requirements underwent an overhaul which included simplifying CJE to one option and updating and clarifying the requirements on the website to include information on deadlines, retesting, and activities. Mentoring was added as an activity for MJE renewal. We created a MJE project rubric. All of the applications were redone as Google Forms.

With the cancellation of the spring convention and summer events, we moved certification testing online. We recruited state directors and former committee members to help serve as proctors, which in addition to the certification committee members, gives us a total of 18 proctors.

We started testing in August and will continue to test through October. Candidates who were supposed to test in Nashville had the first opportunity to sign up for the August testing. In September, we opened it to new applicants. By the end of October, we will have tested 33 applicants. Online testing will continue to be an option. The committee scored the August tests and will score the remaining tests in November.

Since the spring, nine new CJEs and three new MJEs have been approved. In addition, 50 CJEs and 14 MJEs were renewed.

The committee is currently working to create a new Law and Ethics question for the MJE and will also review the current CJE questions this fall.

Nancy Smith, MJE
Lafayette High School
17050 Clayton Road
Wildwood, MO 63011


Nancy Y. Smith (MJE)  / nysmithjea@gmail.com
National Contest Chair

Priscilla Frost  / pfrost@lindberghschools.ws
Contest Office Manager

April van Buren (MJE) / msryanpchs@yahoo.com 
Broadcast Contest Coordinator

Bradley Wilson (MJE) /  bradleywilson08@gmail.com
Photo Contest Coordinator

Allie Staub (CJE)  / stauba@wws.k12.in.us  
Nat’l Quiz Bowl Coordinator and Jr. High/Middle School National Media Contest Coordinator

Mark Murray / mmurray@atpi.org


1. National Student Media Contests We had 2,125 contestants for the Washington, D.C. Fall 2019 (29% of convention attendance). We are offering almost all of our contests this fall in a virtual format and will provide contestants with online critiques as well as a video “critique” session. Because we will be having all contests judged virtually, we are providing some “stipends” to the critics and lead judges as a thank you for their time and expertise.

2. National Journalism Quiz Bowl This will be on hold until our convention event can be held in person.

3. Jr. High/Middle School Contest There were 367 entries in the Spring 2019 contest. We did cancel the Spring 2020 contest, but will hold the Spring 2021 contest and Jr. High/Middle School Contest Chair Allie Staub will begin promoting that and the contest revisions that were made once the Fall NHSJC is over. The new contest descriptions are all on the jea.org website and can be read here.

4) Upcoming JEA Contest Deadlines (*Tentative)

Fall 2020 VIRTUAL (Nov. 19-22)
NSMC Registration Opens/Prompts Available: Monday, Sept. 14 Noon Central
NSMC Registration Closes/Online Submissions Due: Monday, Oct. 19 6 p.m. Central

*Spring 2021 Seattle (April 8-10)
NSMC Registration Opens / Prompts Available: Tuesday, Feb. 2
NSMC Registration Closes/Online Submissions Due: Wednesday, March 10

Spring 2021 Jr. High/Middle School National Media Contest
Registration Opens (generally Wednesday after NSMC close) March 17
Materials Due (generally third Wednesday in April @ 7 p.m. ET) April 14 (due to early convention)
Judging finished May/Winners announced early May 

*Fall 2021 Philadelphia (Nov. 11-14)
NSMC Registration Opens/Prompts Available: Tuesday, Sept. 7
NSMC Registration Closes/Online Submissions Due: Wednesday, Oct. 13

Aaron Manfull, MJE
Digital Media Committee
2751 Cumberland Landing
St. Charles, MO 63303

Membership: Aaron Manfull (chair), Travis Armknecht, CJE, Michelle Balmeo, MJE, Jane Bannister, John Beale, Amanda Bright, MJE, Kathryn Campbell, CJE, AJ Chambers, CJE, Albert Dupont, Megan Fromm, MJE, Christina Geabhart, MJE, Don Goble, Fred Haas, Courtney Hanks, MJE, Tiffany Kopcak, CJE, Jamie Miller, CJE, Jim McCarthy, Sarah Nichols, MJE, Megan Ortiz, CJE, Michael Reeves, MJE, Jonathan Rogers, MJE, Matthew Schott, CJE, Tracy Anne Sena, CJE, Jim Streisel, MJE, Julie Tiedens, Jerred Zegelis

For the board: JEADigitalMedia.org has continued to grow our content and we have continually worked to reassess the most pressing needs of students and advisers. We have been tracking data so we can get a gauge of how we are doing with this. I will only touch on part of it here, please let me know if you’d like to have any other data and I will make sure to get it to you.

I have decided to compare six-month periods of the site (from March 13-Sept. 13 and Sept. 14-March 12) each year that I do this. They are even six-month periods and will allow us to get an annual report together in time for each convention.

In our 11 years of existence (March 2009 launch), we had more than 1,470 posts published (roughly three per week), 867,411 visits, and 1,493,599 pageviews. Eighteen different people contributed posts to the site during the past six months. Members were notified in the fall of 2016 to remain on the committee, they would need to contribute at least one thing to the site during a 12-month period. Twenty-five people have qualified to remain on the committee for posting once in the last 12 months. Two committee members are considered contributors for posting at least three times over the past six months or because they work with other parts of the site. They are:


  • Aaron Manfull – 21 posts
  • Tracy Anderson – 5 posts

Also contributing to the site during the time period were: Travis Armknecht, Jane Bannister, Amanda Bright, Kathryn Campbell, AJ Chambers, Megan Fromm, Christina Geabhart, Tiffany Kopcak, Jim McCarthy, Sarah Nichols, Megan Ortiz, Michael Reeves, Jonathan Rogers, Matthew Schott, Julie Tiedens, Jerred Zegelis

While some of the wording is cut off on the following charts, the graphs move from the least recent six-month period on top to the most recent six-month period, on the bottom.

Below are the most clicked posts/pages from the last six months:

We also have a presence on Twitter and Facebook (links below). With the efforts focused on creating posts and content for the site, those social accounts have not been as socially active as we would like. 

As a reminder, Aaron Manfull worked to create an advertising structure for JEADigitalMedia.org. Information on advertising on the site can be found here. School Newspapers Online has purchased the main widget area for another year. We also have a rotating ad area within posts and pages where we will work to push to summer journalism workshops and other advertisers as well. 

During our Fall meeting, we will discuss our goals this Winter, but I have a feeling we will work to continue some of our current areas of focus: 1) Continue to build a deeper broadcast presence on the site as it remains one of our biggest draws, 2) Continue to post relevant articles for those wanting help with their online journey, 3) Work to publicize the site more on the Listserv and other places to try to counteract some of the visitor trends, and 4) Work with the CTE Committee to help post resources that can be of help for that group. 

As always, if there is anything anyone would like to see on the site, please email us at info@jeadigitalmedia.org.

Here are the links I said I would make available:

Visitor data for JEADigitalMedia.org
Guide to Moving Online
Guide to Video and Broadcast
Guide to Multimedia Tools
Guide to Live Video Streaming of Sports Events
Guide to Adobe Tutorials
Guide to Podcasting

Joe Humphrey, MJE
Journalist of the Year Coordinator*
Farnell Middle School (Tampa, Florida)
but working from home at…
17911 Havenview Lane
Lutz, FL 33558

I truly appreciate the opportunity to serve JEA as the Journalist of the Year Coordinator. (* I believe my actual title may be Chair, but I consider that something you sit in and will refer to myself as coordinator barring any strenuous objection). 

First, let me extend heartfelt thanks to Rebecca Pollard, MJE, for handing over an incredibly organized JOY program, then taking time to walk me through resources, procedures and other institutional memory important to a successful transition. She is a true pro!

My primary focus in these first few months was to revise the JOY rubric. The new rubric refines some areas, combines others, adds new ones (including a new diversity component) and compresses the total possible score down to 80 points instead of more than 1,000. I expect this will lead to more ties among top-scoring applicants, which will then be adjudicated through side-by-side comparisons by a panel of experienced reviewers.

The next step is to revise the “applicant toolbox” to guide prospective JOYs in the creation of their portfolio. These resources will expand on the rubric and offer suggestions and best practices in each area. Such a toolbox was already in place, but with a new rubric comes updated expectations. That should be posted by late October and will be the subject of a virtual session for #NHSJC.

We also will be hosting some “JOY Zoom-ins” for prospective applicants as we roll into the new year. 

The JOY selection process begins at the state level, and we have shared these revisions with state directors and pledged to share resources to support those state contests. Some states have used the JOY rubric, while others have set their own criteria. Most state winners are provided an opportunity to make revisions to their portfolios prior to the March 15 deadline for JEA competition. State deadlines vary, typically from mid January to late February. The JOY wins a $3,000 scholarship and three national runners-up will receive $850 each. State winners must apply for the national contest by March 15 — and then it’s a sprint to review all the applications in time for the spring convention. 

I didn’t mean to bury the lede here … but if you haven’t already seen it you can find the new rubric on the JEA JOY page here

I especially want to thank Kelly, Porter and Kate at JEA HQ for their efforts in the revision process along with past JOY judges for their feedback during the revision process.
The JOY coordinator also oversees the Aspiring Young Journalist competition for excellence in middle school journalism. I expect to make some minor revisions to that process as well, most likely after the Fall 2020 National High School Journalism Convention, as I am currently balancing both the JOY role and the “local team leader” job for the “Orlando” convention. The primary goal for AYJ will be increasing the number of applicants beyond the handful received last year, a dip that can certainly be attributed to COVID-related upheaval. We know there are some incredibly talented young journalists and the goal is to find them and get them to apply.

Julia Satterthwaite, MJE
Mentoring Committee
Monta Vista High School
21840 McClellan Road
Cupertino, CA 95014

The Mentor Program Committee is comprised of Linda Barrington, MJE; Jane Blystone, MJE; Vicki Brennan, CJE; Stephenie Conley, MJE; Peggy Gregory, CJE; Sheila Jones, CJE; Julia Satterthwaite, MJE; Mark Webber; Carmen Wendt, MJE. We meet every month on the second Sunday at 3 p.m. Pacific Time.

At the meetings, we discuss a variety of topics, including: mentor and mentee match-ups, mentor training, law and ethics resources, summaries of mentor and mentee reports, funding sources (including our program’s primary funding source, Yellow Chair, which we’ve opted to reach out to with a grant proposal next summer because of the lack of in-person conventions this year that make up a huge percentage of program spending), diversity initiatives, website updates, promotion and more.  

Currently, we have 58 active mentors from 19 states serving 147 active mentees, with 27 mentees waiting to be matched, from 35 states, including: Alabama, Arizona, *Arkansas, California, Colorado, *Connecticut, Florida, *Georgia, *Hawaii, *Idaho, Illinois, *Indiana, Kansas, *Louisiana, *Maryland, *Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, *Nevada, *New Jersey, *New York, North Carolina, *Ohio, *Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, *Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, *Washington, D.C., Wisconsin and Wyoming. The * represents a state where we don’t have active mentors at the moment and would love to have a few folks volunteer to mentor. 

Our greatest need at the moment is for more veteran advisers to mentor the ever increasing list of advisers who really need the type of one-on-one help that the mentoring program provides, particularly given this challenging time. Please consider signing up to take the digital mentor training from the comfort of your own home, which you can expect to take between 8-12 hours total, followed by an exit call with a Mentor Committee representative. Here’s the link to sign up. Feel free to reach out to Peggy Gregory if you have any questions about the mentor training.

Mentoring involves checking in with your mentees on an as-needed basis, typically about once a month and discussing what’s working for them, what’s not, what their next steps are and what the mentor can do to assist or support, filling out bi-annual Google Forms about how your mentees are doing at the end of each semester and being someone’s lifeboat when no one else at their school likely understands what they do. 

Here are what some of our mentees are saying about this incredibly important JEA program:

“Having someone who has ‘been through it’ as a mentor is incredibly helpful, since few people at the school really understand what we do. Also, having the mentor program formalized helps make sure that you stick with it and don’t allow too much time to go by without meeting.”
~Samantha Philllips | Vernon Hills High School, Illinois

“Having someone to bounce ideas off of is key. There’s no one else at my school who is an adviser, so simply being able to talk things out and bounce ideas off him was the most helpful. And, as mentioned, connecting with national organizations has been a game changer, both for the opportunity to take kids, and the chance to apply for — and win — contests.”

~Eric Ballas | Southridge High School, Beaverton, Oregon

“She talked me off the ledge! I was destroyed by administration, overrun with giant classes and little resources. She filled me up with courage, confidence and a newfound love of teaching journalism.” 

~Mary Maraghy | Jacksonville, Florida

P.J. Cabrera, CJE
Scholastic Journalism Week Committee
Judson High School
9142 FM 78
Converse, TX 78109

The Journalism Education Association has scheduled Scholastic Journalism Week for Feb. 21-27, 2021. Scholastic Journalism Week occurs during the last full week in February. The purpose of this week is to celebrate the phenomenal journalism programs across the country.

This year’s theme is “What We Do Matters.” Over the past few years, journalists and journalism have seemingly been under a growing microscope and unprecedented scrutiny with everything that comes out of their newsrooms. JEA and the Scholastic Journalism Week Committee want to emphasize the importance of The Fourth Estate, within the walls of your newsrooms and outside it.

Each day in the week will have a theme:

Sunday, Feb 21: Diversity Matters.
Monday, Feb 22: Why Do We Do What We Do?
Tuesday, Feb 23: Local Journalism Matters.
Thursday, Feb 25: Beyond Scholastic Journalism Matters.
Friday, Feb 26: What They Did Mattered.

The SJW Logo Contest was announced by Sept. 15 and closes in mid-October. The submissions will be judged by mid-November and winners will be announced at Fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention.

Throughout the week, and throughout the year, we ask that you use the hashtags #SJW2021 and #WhatWeDoMatters when you share works of journalism from your staff, reminding your community of the importance of scholastic journalism.

We also want to feature schools, putting a major focus on the many ways in which scholastic newsrooms around the country are diverse. We want to focus at least one school every week going into #SJW2021, and even beyond.

Bradley Wilson, MJE
Editor, Communication: Journalism Education Today
Midwestern State University
3410 Taft Blvd.
Wichita Falls, TX 76308-2099


Fall issue

Cover photo by Dylan Mitchell, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School (Shawnee, Kansas); Susan Massy, adviser

The fall issue was 60 pages (10% advertising). 

Last spring, the National Scholastic Press Association invited schools to submit material related to their coverage of COVID-19. Despite the fact that schools were closed, students had no access to servers and advisers couldn’t meet in person, some of the submissions illustrated best practices regardless of medium. Thanks to Gary Lundgren, the fall issue featured some of the best entries and commentary from advisers across the nation: Logan Aimone, MJE, Makena Busch, CJE, Andrew Chambers, CJE, Michelle Coro, CJE, Karl Grubaugh, CJE, Kathy Habiger, Joe Humphrey, MJE, William Love, Heather Nagel, CJE, Marcella Pieper, Sally Renaud, Kristi Rathbun, MJE.

Other articles

  • Photo assignments | Karl Grubaugh, CJE; Kate Peterson; and Jeff Gabbard, CJE, developed creative photo assignments. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE, with more assignments by Debra Klevens, Cary Conover, Pia Longinotti and Kim McCarthy
  • Zoom’s videoconferencing tool became the de facto standard almost overnight. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE
  • My life | For some instructors, being in isolation presented an opportunity. | By Shannon Oden 
  • In the field | Erin Ailworth, a correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, discusses how she covers breaking news.
  • Eye-Opener | A high school junior discusses how she covered Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Kansas City, Missouri. | By Noelle Griffin 


$1,686 owed with $304 outstanding.

Winter issue


Photo by Alice Liang, Cinco Ranch High School (Katy, Texas)

The winter issue was 44 pages (20% advertising). 

While this issue leads with an article by Krystle Hoisington, CJE, about sports coverage, based on a session by R.J. Morgan, CJE, at the 2020 JEA Advisers Institute, there’s a lot of great and varied content. Thanks to a partnership with Jeffe Browne at the Quill & Scroll Honor Society, Hoisington’s article has some award-winning images and stories to illustrate the concepts Morgan suggests to improve sports coverage. Another session Morgan taught at the 2020 JEA Advisers Institute is also the subject of a spread by Shari Chumley: “Journalism, at its heart, is a question.”

Other articles

  • Flourish | Flourish is an online tool for creating colorful and interactive stories in graphic form. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE
  • Photopea | Photopea is an online tool that looks, acts and operates a lot like Adobe Photoshop. But it’s free. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE
  • A question | Journalists need to go out in the world and seek information from many sources. | By Shari Chumley, CJE
  • B.L. v. Mahanoy | A case appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court may decide what free speech rights students have. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE
  • Try broccoli | The news hasn’t changed, but the way we access information has, according to Jim Streisel. | By Nancy Smith, MJE


$2,36 owed with $304 still outstanding. 


Deadlines — Both issues went to press on time or early. 

Online presence — We continue to use the hard-to-find magazine supplement to provide active links to content mentioned in the magazine and to provide additional content. The movie guide continues to be popular and I continue to reference the amazing section on covering suicides. However, the C:JET online content has never been promoted in JEA news or on the JEA website. It’s buried so deep, if it weren’t for social media, no one would ever find the one link that leads to it. Eventually, this one page is going to get way too long. I’m considering alternatives such as creating a specific site just for C:JET as a blog so the items don’t have to be viewed sequentially.  

Social media — I continue to use my personal social media to promote the articles and advertisers with two tweets for each article and advertiser during the six weeks following scheduled distribution. Several of the advertisers have said how much they appreciate this and often retweet the tweets with their ads. For the winter issue alone, I scheduled almost 40 tweets during the remainder of the semester, two for each advertiser and two to promote each article. I really wish @nationalJEA would retweet every single one of those.

PDF repository — I created a Filemaker database for someone at headquarters to enter the titles of all the articles, authors, etc. in. I hope this is the first step to having an index of all the articles published in the issues we have in PDF form and that we can make a searchable repository of PDF articles that can be downloaded. While past issues are available on EBSCO, they’re hard to find even if the library subscribes to that academic database. 

Research articles — We have one academic research article that was peer reviewed and accepted with modifications. I hope to get more. I promoted it heavily at AEJMC and within the Scholastic Division.

Diversity — I developed a plan, with Kelly Glasscock and Sarah Nichols, to do a national diversity study of student media staffs and their coverage modeled after the Associated Press Managing Editors Time Out for Diversity. My students and I accomplished this study almost annually for a decade and I hope we can take it out to other schools with a focus on the importance of covering all school populations.
Staffing — While congratulating Connie Fulkerson on her retirement, Beth Butler, Lindsay Porter and Cindy Horchem and I adapted to a new workflow and little kinks along the way. It is a great team.

Kelly Furnas, MJE
Global Outreach
Elon University
2855 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244

Membership: There are 20 international members.

Events/Happenings: Programming coming out of the Canadian Youth Journalism Project continues to set the bar for international educational opportunities, and many are relevant and useful to audiences in America and beyond. Specifically, members should consider checking out the partnering program that allows Canadian schools to build exchanges with schools in Canada and the U.S. The On The Record series has high school students interviewing professional journalists to learn more about the profession and industry (CYJP is always open to submissions from students around the world for this project). And this summer the organization developed powerful resources and a webinar about addressing anti-Black racism through student journalism. The Canadian Youth Journalism Project is also active on Facebook.

Judging for JEA China’s Youth Observation Contest wrapped up in August, and several JEA members and friends of scholastic journalism helped assess work from high school journalists in China. Thanks to James Jones, Robert Robbins, Joe Humphrey, Mark Webber, Michelle Rivera, Laura Negri, Jackie Mink, Bill Rawson, Tiffany Kopcak, Rachel Kidder, Michael Malcom-Bjorklund and Colin Donohue for their many hours of work supporting this important contest.

Awards/Honors: Congratulations to Jason Zhu of JEA China for being named a Friend of Scholastic Journalism in August.

For the board: With virtual convention experiences ahead, we are redoubling efforts to engage international audiences with NHSJC, since it removes the prohibitive travel expenses for many.

Susan Newell, MJE
1150 Valley Forge Road
Tuscaloosa, AL 35406

Membership: Alabama has 17 JEA memberships. JEA membership is encouraged at Alabama Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) workshops and conferences, at Troy University’s J Day, in emails, on Facebook and by word of mouth. JEA membership has tremendous benefits. JEA provides members access to curriculum and lesson plans. JEA members can be a part of an email listserv where specific questions can be asked. Twice a year JEA partners with National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) to offer conventions that offer extensive training to advisers and students. JEA has certification for teachers and awards for teachers and students.

Happenings: Alabama Scholastic Press Association (ASPA) and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association (SIPA) have traditionally coordinated their conferences. Check out ASPA here

ASPA is also on Facebook and Twitter. 

Find SIPA events online. SIPA convention is usually in early March.

Alabama provides mentoring for new advisers.

ASPA events and deadlines: ASPA continues to offer workshops virtually to schools throughout the  fall. Schools individual needs have been met.

April 1 is the deadline for the Multicultural Journalism Workshop and The Long Weekend

June 5-14 (tentative) The University of Alabama’s annual Multicultural Journalism Workshop.

June 5-7 (tentative) The Long Weekend summer camp on the University of Alabama campus.

December 2020 is the deadline for ASPA critiques, exact date will be announced later.

Feb. 12 & 13, 2021 was the original date set for the ASPA State Convention, but news just came out that the convention will be virtual. ASPA is collecting opinions from staffs to plan the event.

ASPA Fall regional workshop dates are set for September 2021. They are

Sept. 20, 2021 Mobile

Sept. 22, 2021 Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama

Sept. 24, 2021 Huntsville

Highlights: Normally, ASPA’s state convention hosts around 400. Troy University normally hosts J-Day each fall with about 400 in attendance. Faculty from the school, professional alumni and a JEA/ASPA representative speak. Registration begins in August. Hopefully, these face-to-face events will return next school year.

Paul Apfelbeck
Galena Interior Learning Academy
847 Challenger Rd
PO Box 359
Galena, AK 99741

Membership: Alaska currently has three members.

Christine Brandell Melendez
Paradise Valley High School
3950 E Bell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85032

Membership: Arizona currently has 41 JEA members. Mike Walker, VP of AIPA, would like to review the JEA membership list so he can cross reference Arizona JEA members with membership in AIPA. He plans to follow up with advisers who attended Direction Connection in September 2019 to become both JEA and AIPA members. 

Events/Happenings: In February, AIPA submitted a quilt block to honor Connie Fulkerson’s years of service and dedication to JEA.This was not submitted with the spring report as it was intended to be part of a surprise gift for Connie at the April convention in Nashville.

The election of AIPA officers for the 2020-2021 school year were postponed in March/April until July 2020 due to shutdown of schools and the Stay-at-Home order issued by Governor Doug Ducey. 

  • Results of the July election: 
    • Vice President: Mike Walker, Verrado High School 
    • Recording Secretary: Stephon Truog, Copper Canyon High School
    • Communications Director: Kristy Roschke, ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication
    • In Service Coordinator: Michele Coro, Desert Vista High School
    • Members-at-Large: Casey Hinde, Shadow Ridge High School; Jason Davis, Cactus Canyon Junior High School; Amanda Cline, Red Mountain High School; Carmen Wendt, Retired

These positions are staggered two-year terms to keep continuity on the board. AIPA will be seeking nominations for the positions of President, Treasurer, Fall Convention Coordinator, Summer Workshop Director, and two Members-at-Large in the Spring of 2021.

The May 2 Adviser Reception was cancelled due to Stay-at-Home orders issued by the Governor Doug Ducey as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An online Zoom happy hour was held at the end of the school year in lieu of the reception to connect advisers from across the state. 

The AIPA Fall Convention that was to be held for the first time at the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic due to the recommendation to not have large group gatherings. Contest results will be announced during the virtual NSPA/JEA Fall Journalism Convention in a separate Zoom meeting that does not conflict with the convention. 

Recognition: I would like to recognize the board of the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association under the leadership of Melanie Allen, Moon Valley High School, Phoenix AZ for their continued support of scholastic journalism in Arizona. 

Check out Arizona Interscholastic Press Association (AIPA).

For the Board: Could AIPA please get the names of the JEA members in the state of AZ? Please send the list to both Kristy Roschke at roschkekj@gmail.com and myself at msbrandell@gmail.com.

Justin Turner
1013 Shobe Road
Bryant, AR 72022

Membership: Arkansas has 40 JEA members. That number will increase by one, because I just realized I need to renew myself. Beginning last year, we have worked with our state level organization (ASPA) and now allow members to register with JEA when they sign up for ASPA. This year we worked with ASPA to make the JEA member signup process more efficient by limiting the number of people that have to process each membership. This should result in quicker processing and new members getting access to their JEA curriculum access quicker.  

Major Developments: Given COVID, things have been a little slower than normal. Before school started, I held a zoom “happy hour” with Arkansas advisers to discuss issues they were anticipating with the “hybrid” school year Arkansas is implementing this year. Attendance was slim, but I think most people didn’t really know what to even ask at the time. I plan to host another one Oct. 23.  

I recorded two sessions for Virginia’s virtual convention. I also participated as a virtual faculty adviser for the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.  

Arkansas State Press Association News: Like JEA, ASPA had to move our spring convention online. At the virtual convention, I was named the Arkansas Journalism Adviser of the Year.        

Outreach: Beginning this month, I’m going to send a monthly update to all members detailing a JEA resource they may not know about. I’m also going to see if I can get a list of administrator emails from the state to send information out to all of the new advisers in the state. In the past I had a student aide call schools to get direct emails to non-member advisers, but we’re not allowed aides this year due to COVID. I’m hoping this is a more efficient way to get the information.  

For the Board: I know I write this every time, but I think it would help a lot of journalism teachers justify convention attendance to leery administrators. Given the virtual convention, next year’s first return to the “real” convention may be the perfect time to introduce something new.  

My previous school has decided my students can only attend the national JEA/NSPA conference once every three years. They allow students to attend the national FBLA conference every year. The difference is that FBLA students must qualify at the state level before being able to compete at the national level, so the district views the FBLA conference as a greater honor.

My prior district is not alone in this logic. I would like to recommend ONE competition be held at each convention in which only schools that have won their state’s respective top award can compete. While I understand the benefits and honor of ANY award won at JEA/NSPA, not all school district administrations do. I believe it’s a small change that could benefit a lot of students.

Lastly, I’d like to reach out and thank the leadership for their work both this school year and last school year. I can’t imagine the stress of trying to figure out what to do with conventions when they are such a huge financial obligation, yet there is a pandemic going on. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys are rocking it as best as you can.

Mitch Ziegler
Redondo Union High School
One Sea Hawk Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Membership: California currently has 267 members. There are two major regional branches – JEANC (Northern California) and SCJEA (Southern California). 


  • Annual Contest: JEANC received 531 entries in over 50 publication categories judged by 28 judges in 15 states. The award ceremony was May 29, 2020
  • Photo contest: A free photo contest for students launched Sept. 1. Photos are based on a theme, and must be taken with a cell phone. 
  • Adviser teach-in Dec. 12 in San Francisco


  • The annual Wake-Up Call featured several Pulitzer-Prize winners and finalists in a virtual workshop that drew 115 students and their advisers. 
  • The keynote speaker was Erin B. Logan, a Washington DC.-based writer for the Los Angeles Times. She discussed covering race, diversity and controversial issues. Other Wake-Up Call speakers included L.A. Times Photographer Luis Sinco and USC professor Amara Aguilar, who presented on using gifs for social media. Erin wasn’t the only out-of-state speaker. Casey Mendoza, a Chicago-based writer for Newsy, presented on covering pop culture. In addition to breakout sessions, participants had the opportunity to sign up for a critique of their newspaper, news magazine, yearbook or website.
  • SCJEA was a co-sponsor of the J-Day Oct. 17. The event, which drew more than 250 students, is also sponsored by Cal State Northridge University’s Journalism Department and the Los Angeles Times. 

Awards and Honors:

JEA Broadcast Adviser of the Year: Jim McCarthy from Joseph A. Grigori High School, Modesto.

NSPA Pioneer Award: Paul Kandell, Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto. 

CSPA Gold Key Award: Mitch Ziegler, Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach

JEA Rising Star: Christina Levinson, Bear River High School, Grass Valley

Eleven publications received Pacemakers.

Twelve publications received Gold Crowns.

Justin Daigle, CJE
Brighton High School
270 S 8th Ave
Brighton, CO 80601

Membership: Colorado has 81 current members of JEA. CSMA’s membership year begins Oct. 1 (CSMA’s state conference J-Day and the associated Best in Show competitions sometimes result in a membership boost.) 

Events/Happenings: On July 28 & 29, our virtual CSMA’s Summer Adviser Workshop took place. Presenters included Adam Dawkins, Jack Kennedy, MJE, Jessuca Hunziker, MJE, Kristi Rathbun, MJE, and Hannah Shapiro. Due to Covid-19 our Rethink workshop was canceled and will return in the summer of 2021.

Over 700 students and advisers attended our virtual CSMA Journalism Day Sept. 24. We had 29 sessions in four time slots for attendees to watch a 30-minute video followed by a 20-minute question and answer session. The CSMA Adviser of the Year was Yvette Manculich of Powell Middle School. We also honored Jack Kennedy for his years of service to CSMA. 


In April and May, CSMA held four by-weekly Best of Colorado Contests for students to submit work in various categories: Print Design, General Coverage, The Prom that Wasn’t, Curbside/Delivery Restaurant Review, etc. This allowed for our membership to award students for the work they were doing in the spring despite the limitations of the pandemic. 

Individual student media contests – the CSMA Best of Colorado awards – were pushed back until July 15 and winners were announced in late August. Featuring $250 cash prizes for both the individual winners and their school student media programs, Designer (Emma Shea of Rock Canyon High School), Photographer (Taylor Yaun of Arapahoe High School), Middle School/Junior High Journalist (Will Beller of Sierra Middle School), Broadcast Journalist (Bella Rulon of Eagle Valley High School) and Reporter (Kira Zirro of Rock Canyon High School) of the year contest deadlines were pushed also to July 15. 

For the Board: After a nation-wide search, Elise Carlson stepped in as the new Executive Director of CSMA in August. She has been doing an AMAZING job in this new role. 

CSMA continues to offer Press Law and Ethics certification for advisers through its course headed by Adam Dawkins. Dawkins will chair a committee to get the course online for advisers to complete and earn their certification.

David Fortier
Rocky Hill High School
50 Chapin Ave
Rocky Hill, CT 06067

Membership: Currently, membership is 16, up four from the spring. 

Events/Happenings: Connecticut JEA is discussing a virtual event for students, their teachers and advisers as a followup to February’s High School Journalism Day co-sponsored by the JEA, CCSU Department of Journalism/Robert C Vance Endowed Chair in Journalism, and the CCSU Media Board, held at CCSU.

Awards/Honors: This year we posted materials for the Connecticut JOY but did not receive any applications. The plan is to try again this year.

For the Board: Still figuring out how to drive the conversation toward some common goals and more fruitful conversations with state members, as well as pushing for more participation from members to boost awareness.

Dennis Leizear, CJE 
Padua Academy
905 N. Broom St.
Wilmington, DE 19806

Membership: Delaware currently has five members

Events/Happenings: Delaware JEA will be holding it’s first Zoom meeting of the year in the coming weeks.  

Awards/Honors: None 

For the Board: Nothing at this time

Clare Berke
District of Columbia
Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
800 Euclid St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Membership: D.C. currently has 11 members.

Renee Burke, MJE
William R. Boone High School
1000 E. Kaley St.
Orlando, FL 32806

Membership: We currently have 126 members. We promote membership through email blasts and at our regional conferences.   

Events: More than 20 Florida advisers and volunteers proudly comprise the “local team” for the Fall 2020 National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 19-20. While it’s regrettable we cannot gather in the Sunshine State now, ALL OF US are excited about an amazing virtual convention and we look forward to welcoming you back to Orlando in 2026 and 2030. Joe Humphrey is the convention chair, and he has done an outstanding job pivoting to prepare for a world class virtual event.

FSPA is preparing for its first UNITED fall workshop Oct. 24. The virtual event will offer interactive sessions, awards, trivia and more.

Each Thursday, FSPA hosts Resources for Teaching Journalism Zoom sessions. Topics vary from roundtable discussions to teaching software. Each session is recorded and posted for future viewing.

Awards/Honors: We’re proud to be the home state of JEA’s 2020 Administrator of the Year, Gary Brady of Hillsborough County Public Schools. Brady was principal of Hillsborough High School in Tampa prior to his promotion this summer to the role of Regional Superintendent. 

Congratulations to Melissa Falkowski, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School newspaper adviser, for being chosen as the Morty Schaap Journalism Teacher of the Year at the state virtual convention in April.  

Each district is currently nominating its candidate for the 2021 Journalism Teacher of the Year honor. 

This FSPA fall digital contests received 538 entries – another record year. 

For the Board: JEA/FSPA hosted an Adviser Help Session Aug. 27. We shared information regarding upcoming events, curriculum available, mentoring and listened to their needs to address in future sessions and/or to provide resources. This is the presentation
Post COVID-19, FSPA will resume discussions with the Florida High School Athletic Association to develop a consistent set of policies for student journalists. This will include coverage and photography rules/procedures to help provide access to games and athletes. They are interested in student journalists providing content for their website and social media platforms. Their Public Relations team has been invited to the spring convention to help showcase the talent that exists within the state.

David A. Ragsdale, CJE
Odyssey Newsmagazine Adviser
Iliad Literary-Art Magazine Adviser
JEA Georgia State Director
Clarke Central High School

Membership: Georgia has 38 active members as of Oct.2. I have communicated with members via email blast roughly every three weeks. I have also re-opened the JEA Georgia Facebook Group. Membership has been a targeted area for growth.

Events: JEA Georgia Adviser’s Zoom session was held Sept. 3. A handful of advisers from across the state met to discuss resources, planning for student support during the pandemic and general tips on advising. Both members and nonmembers were in attendance. You can find the agenda here.

Due to COVID-19, rather than hosting a one-day conference, members will have free access to a plethora of digital workshop sessions, presentations, webinars, and other resources made available during the course of the semester. Some sessions will be live and include Q&A sections, but the bulk of the content will be designed for asynchronous learning to allow for flexibility in schedules. 

In addition to virtual sessions, GSPA will offer editorial staffs and advisers free professional critiques via video conferencing sessions in late October-November. 

Georgia Scholastic Press Association’s summer evaluations remained open until Sept. 30 to accommodate schools dealing with the pandemic.

Awards and honors: CLICK HERE to see multiple national/regional publication and individual awards won by Georgia publications and students.

For the board: Students and advisers have had questions regarding the flexibility in judging this year.  Many schools are still continuing to come across roadblocks in regard to access, contact hours, and availability of resources formerly taken for granted.  How would members of the board advise stakeholders to address these concerns nationally and within their state press associations?

What further support can be offered to advisers/students who are working remotely in regard to building community?

Cynthia “Cindy” Reves, CJE
Apt. 1707
Honolulu, HI 96824

Membership: Hawaii has nine JEA members. We have a working list of every scholastic journalism program for newspaper, yearbook, and broadcast in public and private schools. This list will assist us in sharing information about JEA and journalism opportunities in Hawaii

Events: The Hawaii Scholastic Journalism Association (HSJA) and JEA members have been meeting monthly to discuss curricular and policy issues related to scholastic journalism.

New Voices legislation: Hawaii New Voices  House bill and Senate bill must be reintroduced in the 2021 session.

Hawaii High School Journalism Awards: The annual HHSJA banquet was canceled because of the coronavirus, but winners were announced.Hawaii Journalism Day 2020 – HSJA and JEA members are helping to plan this virtual event for Oct. 17.

Angela Zuroveste
Rocky Mountain High School
5450 N. Linder Road
Meridian, ID 8364

Menbership: Currently, Idaho has 13 active JEA members.

Events/Happenings: There are no events planned at this time. This is my first year as JEA State Director for Idaho, so I will spend a lot of time at the beginning of this year learning all I can to raise more attention to journalism opportunities in Idaho. We have a website that will need a “reboot”, as the information and posts are currently outdated.

Awards/Honors: There were no Journalist of the Year students elected last year, but I’m hoping to raise much more awareness this year to get that opportunity recognized around the state.

For the Board: No comments at this time.

Katie Ferandez, CJE
2221 W. Belmont Ave. # 204
Chicago, IL 60618

Membership: Illinois currently has 130 members and will host our Zoom-In titled Illinois Media Advisers Round Table: Teaching in a Pandemic Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. CT. Our state organization IJEA has been promoting JEA membership through our joint membership application as well as through our new monthly newsletters. 

Events/Happenings: IJEA hosted their annual spring awards ceremony virtually this past June honoring our IJOY recipient Ryan Kupperman and our All-State Team. IJEA decided to not host a fall conference this year due to the uncertainty the new school year brought for many teachers. Other scholastic organizations have paused their planning as well. IJEA is moving forward with their annual yearbook contest and has already started receiving entries. The contest deadline is Nov.15. IJEA is also working closely with the Illinois High School Association to ensure a smooth transition to an online competition this spring after having to cancel all events last school year. 

Awards/Honors: IJEA delayed all other awards until fall. The James A.Tidwell Award recipient will be announced later this month.

For the Board: Thank you for seamlessly transitioning to an online convention!

Ryan Gunterman, MJE
185 S. Stonechase Crossing Rd.
Bloomington, IN 47403

Membership: Membership stands at 70 current voting members.            

Events/Happenings: My first few months as the Indiana director have been spent adjusting to the membership needs during a pandemic and learning about the inner workings of JEA. Fortunately, I have a great mentor in former Indiana State Director Nancy Hastings, so the transition has been a smooth one. 

Unfortunately, we did have to cancel the Indiana High School Press Association’s annual state convention due to COVID-19. However, several adjustments were made to accommodate Indiana journalism advisers and students:

  • On the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 21, IHSPA will convene the general membership meeting via Zoom to review the executive director’s report and discuss pressing issues within our community. Advisers and students will also be elected to the 2020-2021 executive board during this gathering.
  • Finally, in place of the traditional breakout sessions, convention chair Roth Lovins (Columbus North High School) and the current IHSPA board are developing educational programming featuring free, expert instruction all teachers may access on the IHSPA YouTube channel and utilize for in-person or online learning whenever needed. The goal is to have this library ready before the completion of the fall semester. There are currently 16 sessions available, and more are being regularly uploaded. 

The state’s calendar has been updated to reflect the changes caused by the pandemic. 

Around the state: The content standards for teaching Digital Media (formerly Mass Media) and Student Media (formerly Student Publications) have been updated and will be going to the State Board of Education for approval. One particular change that should prove helpful for journalism programs is the maximum number of credits students may earn by taking the Student Media class. Before, students could only earn 8 credits from anything labeled “Student Media,” whether it was yearbook, newspaper, broadcast, etc. That limit has been removed so that class participants may enroll in numerous courses with the Student Media title and continue to earn credits toward graduation. The changes are effective at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

The next initiative is to increase the number of classes in the Indiana course catalog that can be taught by educators with journalism certification.  

Awards and honors

  • The Diana Hadley Honor Roll Class of 2020 included 123 inductees from Indiana middle and high schools all across the state. 
  • The deadline for the Rowena Harvey Awards competition was extended and registration fee waived for 2020. There were 644 entries, and the winners will be announced Oct. 30. 

Yearbook Hoosier Star Winners
Division I (under 1,000 enrollment)
NorthWood HS – Logue
Scottsburg HS – Totem

Division II (1,000-2,000 enrollment)
Greenwood Community HS – The Woodman
Munster HS – Paragon
Plainfield HS – Silhouettes
Westfield MS – The Scrapbook

Division III (above 2,000 enrollment)
Carmel HS – Pinnacle
Columbus North HS – Log
Crown Point HS – Excalibur
Lake Central HS – Quiver
Pike HS – Pike’s Peek
Southport HS – Anchor

Newspaper Hoosier Star Winners
Division I (under 1,000 enrollment)
Paoli Jr-Sr HS – Paolite

Division II (1,000-2,000 enrollment)
Floyd Central HS – The Bagpiper
Greenwood Community HS – Timberlines
Munster HS – Crier
New Albany HS – The Blotter
Plainfield HS – Quaker Shaker

Division III (above 2,000 enrollment)
Carmel HS – HiLite
Columbus North HS – The Triangle
Lake Central HS – Scout
Lawrence North HS – North Star
Southport HS – The Journal
Zionsville Community HS – Harbinger

Leslie Shipp, MJE
Johnston High School
6501 N.W. 62nd Ave.
PO Box 10, Johnston, IA 50131

Membership: JEA members in Iowa number 35, with four new people this summer. Emails and contact by phone have been utilized to reach out to newer members. Attempts were made to entice them to attend the state convention.

Events: The Iowa High School Press Association’s state convention will be virtual. It will be held Oct.19-22 from 7-8:30 p.m. each evening. Different keynotes will speak all four nights including Roy Peter Clark, Lori Oglesbee, Aaron Manfull and Roxanna Scott. After keynotes, students may choose which sessions they want to attend, most sessions being prerecorded. Awards presentations will occur all four nights with highlights being the News Teams of the Year, the Yearbooks of the Year and individual yearbook contest awards. Instead of individual student fees, a flat fee of $50 for each school was charged, the thought being that this would open up the convention to some students who would not have been able to attend.

The Summer Journalism Workshop at the University of Iowa went virtual in July. Three classes – investigative reporting, personal writing and photography – saw 29 students attending. Each morning began with a keynote speaker who spoke to all three classes before students participated in their individual workshops. Pumping in a keynote as a way to begin each day may be used when the workshop returns to an in-person experience.

Awards and Honors:
An Iowa High School Adviser of the Year will be announced at the state convention.

Susan Massy
Shawnee Mission Northwest H.S.
12701 W. 67th St.
Shawnee, KS 66216

Membership: Kansas currently has 117 JEA members.

Larry Steinmetz, CJE
Bullitt East High School
11450 Highway 44 E
Mount Washington, KY 40047

Membership: Kentucky is at 21 members.

Events/Happenings: Bullitt East and Manual students attended a New Voices seminar with hopes of learning more about the bill they will reintroduce in the next legislative session. KYJTA cancelled its summer adviser workshop and is looking at an online format in January. 

Awards/Honors: None

Albert Dupont
Loyola University
School of Mass Communication
6363 St. Charles Ave. Box 201 New Orleans, LA 70118

Membership: We have 17 members as of Oct. 2, 2020 which is up one from the Spring 2020 report.

Events/Happenings: Unfortunately we had to cancel the Spring 2020 JEA/Loyola Conference. The date we scheduled was Jan. 14, 2020 which just happened to be the day after the National Championship game between LSU and Clemson.  Many of our guest speakers and schools that were planning to attend were having to drop out. We made a frantic search for a replacement date, but the venues on campus we use for the conference did not have open dates.

Our next conference is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2020 and will be held virtually via Zoom and YouTube. Considering the circumstances, we feel this may open up the conference to the parts of the state of Louisiana where traveling to the New Orleans area is not feasible. We will post updates on the JEA Louisiana website.

We recently held a JEA Louisiana Zoom-In to share resources from the JEA National organization and announce the JOY for 2021 and our upcoming 2021 Louisiana virtual conference. Thanks again to JEA Vice President Val Kibler for attending and talking about JEA and the resources it is providing to teachers and advisers.

Awards/Honors: Unfortunately we did not award a Louisiana Journalist of the Year Award for 2020, but are making an extra effort to get the word out to promote the JOY for 2021. We will also hold the JEA/Loyola Silver Scribe Awards for Yearbook, Journailsm, Broadcast and Photography in January of 2021.

For the Board: Nothing at this time.

Marcie Young
Presque Isle High School
16 Griffin St
Presque Isle, ME 04769

Membership: Maine currently has 5 members

Events/Happenings: Nothing statewide to report at this time.

Awards/Honors: Nothing to report at this time.

For the Board: Nothing at this time.

David Lopilato
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
4301 East West Hwy
Bethesda, MD 20814-4420

Membership: Maryland has 24 members.

Events/Happenings: In MCPS, we are currently working on two printing initiatives that I hope to expand out to the state level.

  1. The Amplifier (a fully funded and approved magazine (hopefully featuring pieces from all participating high schools). The county has agreed to print a few hundred copies of this magazine for each participating high school.
  2. A countywide fundraiser ensuring that every school can print their own school magazine at least once this year or next. Why a magazine? MCPS does not do newsprint and they are promising us a sweetheart deal on magazine printing. 
  3. We have also started a speaker series we are calling News Makers and Breakers featuring people in and behind the headlines. Here is a link. All students in MCPS are welcome to attend. We are hoping to expand this to the state.

Finally, we are rolling out the second year of SDTV- a news show by students/for students. After a successful pitch from a group of motivated students, the producers at Montgomery County Media are hooked. They want to air our show monthly. 

We will reach out to student editors, film makers, on-air personalities, columnists, bakers, musicians, and animators from schools throughout Montgomery County (public, private, home schooling). For the Board: How do we join forces to bridge the opportunity gaps between schools flush with resources and those schools struggling to do journalism of any kind? We need to create programs that include voices across the high school spectrum. How best do we do that?

Bretton Zinger, MJE
238 Austin St
West Newton, MA 02465

Membership: There are 23 members in Massachusetts, down from 26 last fall.

Events: I attended the fall 2019 convention in Washington D.C.

I attended and presented at the spring conference for the New England Scholastic Press Association (NESPA), as well as represented JEA at the adviser luncheon. I also served as a judge for the annual Special Achievement Contests, which honor individual student work.

We announced six students as the 2020 All-State Journalism Staff, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the talent in our high schools — five full selections and one honorable mention, with the Journalist of the Year being Dina Zeldin of Newton South High School. MASPA originally planned a reception for this year’s winners  April 1 at the Boston Globe, but that was cancelled, of course, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Brian Baron, MJE, MASPA President, ran the contest and is organizing the ceremony, and I served on the selection commitee. We’ve streamlined the process so that applications for All-State are automatically entered into the JOY contest, and vice versa. (I don’t expect students to apply for JOY instead of All-State, though, simply because the All-State application is not as extensive.)

As I serve on the boards of both NESPA and MASPA, as well as JEA state director, I continue to try to use that position to spread the word on scholastic journalism and increase participation for publications, students and advisers in all of the organizations.

Outreach continues to try to bring new members into JEA, including directly contacting teachers/advisers.

Awards and honors: Dina Zeldin of Newton South High School was named Massachusetts Student Journalist of the Year.

For the board: The “watch list” for the All-State honors continues to be the way forward. Brian Baron, MJE, sends out something to journalism advisers asking for them to send along names of current juniors to be on the “watch list” for All-State recognition during their senior year. It’s a good way for kids to become aware of it and start thinking about portfolios with a year’s notice. We’ve had six entries the past two years, up from three in 2018 and one several of the years before that.

The Covid crisis has upended things, of course. I think our lower membership is a direct result of that. I am currently in the process of planning a virtual meeting for journalism advisers across the state, as part of Val Kibler’s initiative to all state directors. The focus will be one getting non-members (or never-been-members), but because of our low and declining membership, it will be open to everyone. I plan on having the meeting before the national convention. My original date for mid-October ended up not being feasible for many reasons, mainly because a lot of advisers didn’t want it so early in the year. (Most schools in Massachusetts started Sept. 16.)

Timothy Morley, CJE
PO Box 396
Topinabee, MI 49791

Membership: We are currently at 68 voting members in Michigan. That’s a net loss of seven members since the spring report, down 16 from a year and a half ago. (We typically see this trend in the years following JEA/NSPA in Chicago.)


Spring Awards Conference: MIPA held its annual spring awards ceremony online, rolling out individual, Spartan and Golf Medal Awards over multiple days for Newspaper, Yearbook, Video and Digital Media.

Fall Conference: MIPA will hold its annual Fall Conference online this fall. The rollout will be Oct. 28. Entry fees will be tiered, adjusted to the size of the school’s journalism program. The entry fee will allow everyone in the school’s program access to the online content through the end of the year. As the home of MIPA, online content will be hosted through Michigan State University’s online learning platform. A few sessions will be held live and recorded. Additionally, veteran advisers have been asked to volunteer as virtual coaches, meeting with staffs throughout the state to help students focus on areas for improvement and reinforce the amazing things they’re already doing during challenging times

MIPA  Summer Workshop: This year’s workshop was held online during 2-week sessions. Session 1 was July 6-17, Session 2 was July 20-31. The theme was “Find Your Voice.”
Awards:  Cody Harrell, CJE, the yearbook and newspaper adviser at East Lansing High School was awarded the JEA Rising Star, and Jeremy Steele, the executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association, was named a JEA Friend of Scholastic Journalism.

Kathryn Campbell, CJE
St. Paul Academy and Summit School1712 Randolph Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55105

@minnesotajea on Facebook
@mn_jea on Twitter
@minnesotajea on Instagram

Kathryn Campbell, CJE
State Director, Minnesota
@minnesotajea on Facebook
@mn_jea on Twitter
@minnesotajea on Instagram

Membership: Membership is at 33 members.

Events/happenings: We entered into two new partnerships this fall. Board Member Glenn Morehouse-Olson is taking the lead on a partnership with Hennepin Theater Trust, whose Critical Review program connects students to a year-long training, as well as providing teachers with a distance learning curriculum on review writing. 

I worked with my journalism student, Nikolas Liepins and the Minnesota State Governor’s Office to bring students to the Capitol Oct. 2 for a press conference with Gov. Tim Walz about the state of the state. What a day to be there; after the news broke about President Trump testing positive for COVID-19, it was the topic in everyone’s notebook.

We also hosted our first virtual convention. JEM / MHSPA planned “One Connected Minnesota,” a series of four T/Th events over two weeks (Sept. 29-Oct. 8) including a Keynote Speaker, Roundtable Discussions, Virtual Working Sessions, and an Awards ceremony. Outreach was a priority, and one of the Roundtables was the JEA state session.

JEM Awards/Honors – Adviser volunteers judged 27 publications with a short critique over the summer and awarded 12 All State Golds, 12 All State Silvers, and 3 All State Bronzes at the state convention.

For the Board – Minnesota is a big state, and while outreach is a huge priority for us, it’s hard to know which schools even have publications anymore, especially small rural schools. We’re searching for ways to accurately identify publications and survey schools about their journalism programs.

We’re also hoping to renew New Voices Minnesota advocacy in November.

R.J. Morgan, CJE
The University of Mississippi
102 Farley Hall
PO Box 1848 University, MS 38677

Membership: There are now 18 JEA members in Mississippi, down one from last year. Membership is encouraged at all Mississippi Scholastic Press Association (MSPA) events and a link to future JEA conventions is posted on the MSPA website. JEA Membership is one of the first planks we talk about with new advisers at our Overby Adviser Institute each June.

Events/Happenings: Due to the pandemic, MSPA hosted its annual statewide spring convention virtually March 31 and canceled its annual Overby Adviser Institute this summer. The state’s fall convention, typically held in Hattiesburg at the University of Southern Mississippi, will also be virtual-only. 

Awards and honors: JEA recently honored Terry Cassreino (St. Joseph Catholic School) as a Distinguished Adviser for his Bruin News Now broadcast/streaming program. Way to go, Terry! At MSPA’s spring convention, Thomas Richardson (newspaper) and Roben Nobles (broadcast) were named 2019 Advisers of the Year and The Warrior Beat (Oak Grove HS) and Patriot Vision (broadcast) were named 2020 Publications of the Year. Gina Nguyen was selected as our Mississippi JOY alongside 11 other students who were recognized as “All-Mississippi” honorees based on their portfolios. 

For the board: I applaud the way our organization’s leadership has handled the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic. You have opened the door to curriculum, events and contests for a lot of schools who would have otherwise never gotten involved. Despite the current challenges, this may ultimately end up making us a more open and equitable organization, another mission-critical goal in our current social climate. 

Erin Sucher-O’Grady, CJE
Clayton High School
1 Mark Twain Circle
Clayton, MO 63105

State Organization Websites:





Membership: As of March 5, 2020 there are 123 voting members in Missouri. Voting members include Teacher/Adviser, Emeritus Teacher/Adviser, Lifetime Teacher/Adviser members, Affiliates (with director as voting member).


  • In the St. Louis area, Kirkwood High School adviser Mitch Eden hosted adviser discussions via Zoom to discuss online learning. These sessions included yearbook, broadcast, online, and newspaper and were held Aug. 3-4.
  • MJEA (Missouri Journalism Education Association)
  • Now that we’ve all pushed through the first five weeks of school, let’s celebrate by jumping back into MJEA together! Renew your membership today here
  • We’ll be adding a few more yearbook categories to our contests this year as well as an overall yearbook critique/contest.
  • We’ll be adding some contest options for audio/podcast work.
  • Though a larger conference is looking unlikely, we are hopeful to offer a few virtual speakers to tune into, EIC series and virtual student leadership roundtables later this semester and early next semester. 
  • MIPA (Missouri Interscholastic Press Association) 
    • MIPA has a monthly “Photo of the Month” contest. Submissions are due on the last day of each month.
    • They will be introducing a MIPA Honor Roll this spring.
    • MIPA will also have the annual spring contests, and with luck, we will change the format to BetterBNC, which we hope will be more user friendly for schools and judges. 
    • We also have our first MIPA Challenge coming up which involves Marketing Social Media and Photography/Caption writing.  
    • Finally, MIPA will host a Mizzou J-Day (at the University of Missouri-Columbia), but it will possibly be a virtual format. 

Awards and Honors: Missouri Student Journalist of the Year named NATIONAL JOY winner: Emily Hood was named the 2020 JEA Student Journalist of the Year. Emily served as the Executive Producer for FHNtodayTV at Francis Howell North High School. 

As a freshman, Emily started her own news show, The Hood Report, a weekly news program with a format designed for teens. The Hood Report has now become a show that the broader community consumes through her popular youtube channel. 

Emily also demonstrates her journalistic talents in her coverage of tough topics. This past December, Emily produced a four-part series titled “Life After,” examining the obstacles faced by those coming out of incarceration. 

Emily’s adviser, Aaron Manfull, MJE, described Emily’s role in FHN’s broadcast production program as pivotal. “In October of 2018, we worked to move the broadcast program from one with a traditional broadcast focus to one that’s more in line with current video journalism realities, with everything ranging from traditional feature stories and illustrated video stories to podcasts and social media motion graphics. It’s been a gamechanger for the broadcast program at FHN and wouldn’t have been possible without Emily’s approval, ideas and execution to make it work,” Manfull said.

Linda Ballew, MJE
2212 4th St. S.
Great Falls, MT 59405


• Although Montana has always reported a small but relatively stable membership, interest in attending and participating in fall/spring meetings/contests has once again diminished. The number of returning members has stayed basically the same. Although retiring advisers and cuts in co-curricular programs have impacted the number of programs available, the number of new advisers seeking membership in JEA has started to encourage the MJEA board. Currently, MJEA has 19 active members, which is another minor decrease from last spring, and although we have recently had an addition of two new JEA members, these advisers have not joined MJEA.

• MJEA’s highly motivated and action-orientated president. Beth Britton, the CMR adviser of the Stampede and Russellog from Great Falls, Montana, continues to diligently work to assist the state’s journalism advisers through the dissemination of information and resources, working closely with the University of Montana School of Journalism and JEA’s state director Linda Ballew. She continues in her eighth year as MJEA president.

• Both Beth and Linda continue to request input on how to reorganize the association as well as what kind of resources would assist Montana advisers more effectively. Advisers are willing to use the resources Beth and Linda provide; however, they are not willing to engage in working within the framework of the organization.

• To gain a better understanding of this issue, we have reached out to former members and high school journalism programs throughout the state with surveys, emails, letters and requests to submit and participate in adding content and providing suggestions for updating mjeajournalism.com

• This website, provided by SNO, allows us to provide information and resources to our members. It has been a vital link in our messaging and communication with members. Updated regularly, it is an aspect of the organization of which our members speak highly.

• The gap left in MJEA’s executive board continues to not be filled. We hope to encourage younger members to become engaged in MJEA. Montana journalism programs have continued to undergo dramatic turnover with new advisers taking the helm of journalism programs in many of the small, rural as well as larger high schools. It is obvious that younger advisers need to find reasons to be professionally involved with our organization to revitalize what MJEA can offer to a diverse state membership.

• Covid-19 has taken a toll on co and extra-curricular programs. Britton and Ballew have reached out to many advisers who are now taking on the roles of both newspapers, online and yearbook programs by themselves. Remote learning has made these productions a challenging new adventure, but overall, advisers are working to rise to the occasion.

• Maintaining and expanding MJEA and JEA membership continues as always to be a top priority.

  • Britton and Ballew continue to email advisers encouraging them to communicate with us, retain membership in MJEA and JEA and participate in adding content and discussion to mjeajournalism.com
  • Britton and Ballew have continued to send resource materials and membership forms in the mail encouraging communication and membership in MJEA and JEA.
  • Yearbook advisers comprise a majority of MJEA’s membership. Britton and Ballew have decided to take on more responsibility for the state journalism contest to ensure that yearbook programs as well as social media programs will continue to have critique and contest services as well as the current newspaper and online publications. These continue with an emphasis on broadcast workshops as this is how our advisers will be able to apply for CTE in Montana.
  • Mjeajournalism.com Information regarding the fall convention, the MFPE Montana Teacher Convention can be found on our website along with resources from the New York Times, various articles and a look at an amazing multimedia project. This site continues to provide resources and information. Britton has also requested and encouraged participation with the following from our members and state advisers encouraging them to post to the site:

1. Photos of their students in action, their classrooms, guest speakers, etc.

2. Short opinion pieces written by advisers. Britton would like to have their voices on the site.

3. Ideas for other advisers – lessons, celebrations, classroom set-up…

  • We will have a virtual presence at the 2020 MFPE Montana Teacher Convention.
  • We are hoping for a larger presence at next year’s teachers’ convention and in the future – The 2021 teachers’ conference will be in Great Falls. We will be there!
  • Developing interest in JEA membership has also been encouraged by pointing to the value of JEA’s dynamic journalism curriculum. This continues to perk interest in JEA. Advisers express their appreciation for the thorough and in-depth lessons, rubrics, Common Core Standards’ alignment and assessments that they can access for both in their classrooms as well as with administrators who want advisers to demonstrate curricular accountability. Thank you for the recent upgrade to the curriculum portion of the jea.org site. This is refreshing, current and relevant to the issues teachers and advisers now face.
  • So, too, are the Zoom video events/workshops like the upcoming one sponsored by the Canadian Youth Journalism Project.

Awards: GFPS Foundation announces BNSF Teacher of the Year: Beth Britton

Great Falls educator Beth Britton has been designated as a 2020 BNSF Railway Teacher of the Year. BNSF Railway Director of Public Affairs Maia LaSalle congratulated the educator on her title. “Congratulations to Ms. Beth Britton of C.M. Russell High School. BNSF applauds your commitment to your classroom and your community!” LaSalle said. Moments after hearing the announcement, C.M. Russell High School journalism teacher Beth Britton shared her reaction upon hearing the news. “It’s just such a good feeling to know that the hard work that you put into your job is being recognized,” Britton said. Britton explained she had applied for the BNSF award previously, with the hope she could use the $2,500

award for her students. “This is the second time I’ve applied for BNSF- knowing that the money can be used in my classroom or taking kids to the legislature to watch the reporters in action there….that’s what I really want to do with it, is get kids out and watching professional journalists,” Britton said. Britton is passionate about her profession and hopes her teaching makes a difference in the lives of her students. “My life is my job. I can’t imagine not doing it,” Britton said.

Meet the 2020 Montana Journalist of the Year: Grace Carr

In the fall of 2020, Grace, the editor in chief of the Stampede from C M Russell High School, will attend the University of Montana to earn a degree in journalism. Thanks to the Montana Newspaper Association, Grace will arrive there with a $1,000 scholarship.Grace wrote, “I grew up knowing my grandfather fought in the Vietnam War, but that was the extent of my knowledge. The only facts I had were 1) he was shot and 2) he was paralyzed on the right side of his body. I never understood what happened and how it has affected the rest of his life. After watching him sit inside on the Fourth of July, hating the sounds of fireworks booming outside, I finally asked for his story. The information I learned stuck with me from that day on. After two years of service as a medic, Mel Overmeyer was shot in 1967. He was attempting to save his

lieutenant, who had also been under fire. The incident allowed him to return home adorned with medals, including two Purple Hearts for injuries and one Silver Star for putting someone else’s needs before his own. But shiny medals were not the only souvenirs he lugged back to the states. He came home paralyzed on the right side of his body, missing 30 percent of his brain capacity, and carrying the emotional toll of two years filled with blood and violence. Over nine million military personnel fought in the Vietnam war, and listening to only one personal account brought me to tears. The lesson I learned from this experience was that everyone has a story; you just have to be curious enough to spark a conversation. I cannot admit that this exact scenario led me to pursue a future in journalism. In fact, there were many events in my short 18 years that slowly pushed me in this direction. Yet, this moment was the most memorable to me because I realized there is an infinite number of stories to be told, and I wanted to be the one to share them. I want to inspire people through others’ experiences. I want to be on the scene of a major event and share it with the world. I want to inform anyone with an electronic device or newspaper of happenings across the globe. I want to give individuals the ability to make connections with people they never would have interacted with otherwise. I want to show everyone they are not alone.

Journalism is more than just reporting. It’s about impacting your community, giving a voice to the silenced and

spreading the truth. My passion for storytelling is what drives me to pursue a career in journalism.”


• Journalism Day at the University of Montana was cancelled due to Covid-19. High school students from across the state of Montana were invited to still submit their high school accomplishment in the work that has been published throughout the 2019-2020 school year. Awards were mailed to participants.

• The university would like to schedule a summer camp that UM is hoping to conduct this coming summer, 2021. The Journalism School cancelled the workshop this past summer because of Covid-19 restrictions. They aim to teach classes on design, photography and various kinds of journalistic writing and podcasting.

• Britton and Ballew will invite advisers to attend a virtual meeting Oct. 16, 2020 during the Montana Teachers Convention. Before that, Britton will put together a little “care package” to mail out to all of the advisers, Using a little money from the MJEA account.

• New Voices Legislation will once again be on the docket for the 2021 Montana Legislative session starting in January 2021.

For the Board:

• The JEA office has been an essential asset because of the wonderful people in the office. Happy Retirement, Connie! Having the Zoom link to see you and tell you how wonderful you are, made my day. Thanks for all you have done and will continue to do, my friend…

• The staff continues to help advisers by sending to MJEA, support materials as we try to enlist new members. The staff has also been essential in helping with materials that reinforce classroom issues and how to deal with these conundrums.

Thank you so much!

From MJEA president, Beth Britton:

“Funding and support for scholastic journalism in the state of Montana continues to find itself on shaky ground. Few schools offer journalism classes, and even many of the largest AA schools offer little more than a yearbook class or club. There are a few programs that continue to publish newspapers, offer introductory journalism classes and produce broadcast options. We at MJEA continue to stress the importance of journalism in the overall curriculum and aim to grow our numbers. Developing a support system for the few of us who teach journalism in the massive Big Sky Country is key – we need to bridge the hundreds of miles that separate our schools.” Please visit mjeajournalism.com.

Marsha Kalkowski, MJE
Marian High School
7400 Military Ave.
Omaha, NE 68134-3398

Membership: Nebraska is 64 JEA Members strong (according to 10/2/20 report). We typically have advisers renew their JEA membership with NHSPA membership registration in the fall before our state convention, but we have no NHSPA Fall Convention, so we are asking all members to renew their membership on their own. We are crossing our fingers that we don’t lose members this way. But, new members have been trickling in this fall, which is great!

Events/Happenings: Nebraska did not hold a 2020 Summer Workshop and will not hold a NHSPA Fall Convention because of COVID and travel restrictions at almost all schools. We are having a Zoom-in adviser meeting Oct. 19, the date that our fall convention would have been. Advisers have been encouraged to utilize yearbook company workshops and webinars and other resources through JEA.  

The Nebraska New Voices bill did not advance last spring so we have to start all over with the campaign. Thanks again to all who have supported our efforts.

Congratulations to Ralston High School and adviser Kelley Lange, who was named a JEA Partner Project school for 2021. Thanks to our mentor Stephenie Conley who has been instrumental in assisting this effort. We also will be having a few new mentors named very soon (I had a phone call this week confirming two…but I don’t know if I can release their names yet.)  
For the Board: Thanks for the efforts to make a modified 2020 Spring convention happen and for all the work in making a virtual 2020 Fall convention happen. We hope that a number of Nebraska advisers and students will participate. Hope to see everyone next fall in Philly for sure!

Matthew LaPorte, CJE
Southwest Career and Technical Academy
7050 W. Shelbourne Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89113

Membership: Nevada is doing a fantastic job staying 28 members strong, which is no change since spring. But that’s okay, because the members of Nevada are hanging in there and enjoying the benefits that JEA provides. As the pandemic continues, it is possible that more individuals will reach out for support and sign-up to be members. 

Events/Happenings: A JEA General Roundtable will be happening at the end of October/early November. At the moment, I am scouring school websites across the state to identify administrators and journalism teachers to invite to the event. I am hoping for a healthy turnout for this event. After the first meeting, I am hoping to make this a regular event for advisers to share ideas, concerns, or to just have a place to vent. 

Awards/Honors: Congratulations to Green Valley High School and SWCTA for earning the 2020 Gallup Award from Quill and Scroll this year. For the Board: The virtual convention in November is fantastic. After the event, will that treasure trove of materials be uploaded to the JEA Curriculum initiative for additional use?

Adam Theriault
New Hampshire
Souhegan High School
412 Boston Post Rd
Amherst, NH 03031

Membership: New Hampshire membership keeps growing as we have increased membership to eight teachers.

Events/Happenings: The New Hampshire JEA is currently in the process of creating a working database of school publications, advisers, and locations from around the state. The current goal is to introduce the newly forming network to our members and to share with educators the various opportunities, resources, and events available through JEA and throughout New England education organizations. This year, we will start promoting our first round of workshops, contests, and programs available to students and educators.

Greg Gagliardi, CJE
New Jersey
Cherry Hill High School East
32 Lumber Lane
Mt. Ephraim, NJ 08059

Membership: New Jersey’s membership is holding steady at 65. Of those who advise a publication, a little more than half of our members advise newspapers; the remaining percent advise either yearbook or broadcast.

Events/Happenings: The annual Garden State Scholastic Press Association Fall Conference has just been canceled.  The GSSPA was originally planning the event as an all-virtual event, but with the National Convention just a couple of weeks later, and with New Jersey advisers not showing a lot of interest in a virtual state event, leadership would like to encourage advisers and students to attend the national convention instead. However, plans are underway for a spring conference for New Jersey students and advisers, whereas normally the spring conference is only for advisers. The annual contest results, typically announced at the fall conference, will be announced online in November or December.

For the Board: New Jersey advisers have expressed interest in helping with the JEA/NSPA Convention in Fall of 2021.  Although we seem to be a state away, many of us are very close to Philadelphia. As a whole, New Jersey advisers are continuing to work with their students to publish online or in print, or both, despite many of us teaching remotely right now. Telecommunications has opened up many options.

Nina Quintana, CJE
New Mexico
Bernalillo High School
148 Spartan Aly
Bernalillo, NM 87004

Membership: Current membership is 15. We are up 1 member from my spring report. I will continue to work on educating new advisers of what JEA has to offer as far as resources to support new advisers. There has already been more inquiry and interest in how JEA can assist with professional development.

Here is an update from the pathway of study report I gave in my 2020 spring report. Based on JEA supporting industry standard certification with Adobe Certiport testing for teachers and students, a huge win for New Mexico was announced based on the course recommendations submitted to the New Mexico Public Education Department for the Multimedia Production program of study. The Multimedia Production program of study as well as the Adobe Certified Professional credential has been added as an option which students can use to demonstrate competency toward graduation in the subjects of Reading and Writing. This change will be recognized for the graduation class of 2022. This is a huge step forward in recognizing journalism programs for graduation requirements.

Currently, one of the top focuses for the state will include the film industry, which falls under the Arts, AV & Communications POS. With Netflix and NBC Universal opening film and TV studios in the Albuquerque area, the demand for this POS is considered a high demand industry; therefore, the College and Career Readiness Bureau is looking to fund through the Carl D. Perkins grant. While this is good news for broadcast programs, this may prove challenging when building in POS to fund photojournalism or other print programs. 

I will continue to reach out to New Mexico journalism advisers to increase New Mexico membership. However, I believe this initiative will be a positive catalyst to increasing these numbers with broadcast and film advisers. 

Events/Happenings: The NMSPA State Leadership Conference was hosted by Highland High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jan. 23.  There were seven schools that competed in this NMAA event. The numbers were alarming as the conference saw less than average attendance. I plan on working with NMSPA to see how I can assist in promoting the event for next year.

However, this event did see a new event included: Podcast. As CTE initiatives continue to move forward in New Mexico, the conference will need to continue to move the needle forward in effectively managing the increasing demand for more multi-media production type events.

Awards/Honors: No awards or honors at this time.

First Amendment Issues: There are not current First Amendment Issues to report at this time.

For the Board: As I continue to meet with representatives of NMPED/CCRB, the focus of these conversations is the continuous development of the communications pathway of study. It is important to continue promoting the resources and opportunities for professional development considering JEA as the vehicle for training and further development for future journalism educators will be a key as these conversations move forward.

Katina Paron, MJE
New York
Hunter College
582 20th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11218

Membership: From last spring, our membership increased by 12%, with a total of 28 members.  

Events: We hosted a scholastic journalism meeting in September for JEA and nonJEA members throughout the state. Turnout was low–five advisers from four schools (including the director). The focus of the meeting steered toward support and sharing of resources. We also touched upon our state’s New Voices proposal. To get involved in the effort, please email katinaparon74@gmail.com.

Marva Hutchinson
North Carolina, English Department Chair
Literary Magazine Adviser
Providence Senior High School
1800 Pineville-Matthews Road
Charlotte, NC 28270

Membership: Current JEA membership total for North Carolina is 59. Advisers currently may join/renew JEA through a joint membership opportunity with North Carolina Scholastic Media Advisers Association.

Events: North Carolina Scholastic Media Association’s Mountains to Coast fall regional workshops will be held in a Virtual Fall Workshop on Oct. 15 featuring sessions representing six college campuses and two in-state news outlets. announce a virtual fall workshop opportunity this fall. Schools are welcome to attend, regardless of region.

The fall workshop will take place Thursday, Oct. 15, from 9 a.m. – noon, and is co-hosted by The Charlotte Observer, Elon University, N.C. A&T State University, Queens University of Charlotte, The News & Observer, East Carolina University, N.C. Central University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Deadline to register is Oct. 9.

The workshop will feature an opening webinar on Reporting in the Age of Covid-19 and on Covering the Elections. The workshop will feature keynote speakers, and breakout sessions in seven divisions:

  • Literary Magazine
  • Broadcast/Podcasting
  • Yearbook
  • News/Online
  • Art/Photography/Design
  • Editorial Leadership/Issues Forum
  • Advising Student Media

The closing webinar will feature campus tours of co-hosting campuses.

Former SI writer Tim Crothers continues to offer top-notch sports journalism instruction to students who participate in the Carolina Sports Journalism Camp. The 2020 virtual event went forward with rising seniors who were accepted to camp. They enjoyed a behind-the-scenes sports media tour, interviewed a Tar Heel athlete, attended a UNC-CH sports writing class and learned sports play-by-play. The 2021 dates are June 23-26. 

The 2020 summer North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute provided four days of intense virtual instruction in yearbook, news/online, broadcast, literary magazine, design, advising and photojournalism for students and teachers from across the state. All scholarships, presentations and bootcamps (creativity and leadership) were included, with additional opportunities for daily keynotes in the virtual format. The 2021 dates are June 14-17.

Each summer NCSMA offers graduate-level courses in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, specifically for high school journalism teachers. Funding for tuition and fees is available to North Carolina high school journalism teachers through NCSMA’s Journalism Education Fellowship Program. The summer 2020 course, “Teaching Online News in the Secondary School,” was offered online this July. Educators who completed the one-week, short-term course received three hours of graduate credit. 

North Carolina’s High School Journalist of the Year receives a $3,000 scholarship, the Rachel Rivers-Coffey Scholarship, funded by the North Carolina Press Foundation. The tradition of providing funds to each winner’s journalism program continues. The statewide winner’s journalism program receives $500. The scholarship program now awards three scholarships to three alternates. Each will receive $1,000. Each student’s journalism program will receive $250.

North Carolina continues to participate in the JEA Mentor Program. Candace Brandt, Brenda Gorsuch and David Jackson now serve as mentors.

Awards: Click here for a complete list of North Carolina Scholastic Media statewide contest results. During the N.C. Scholastic Media Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, NCSMA awarded 16 Tar Heels, the highest student media recognition.

NCSMA also awarded its annual Kay Phillips Distinguished Service Awards to Institute instructors Erica Perel, general manager of UNC’s Daily Tar Heel, and Steve Hanf, adviser at First Flight High and immediate past president of the North Carolina Scholastic Media Advisers Association board.

NCSMA’s endowed workshop scholarship program allowed the organization to recognize four top-performing students at the annual North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute. The Daily Tar Heel awards went to Ella Sullivan of Northwood High and Caroline Chen of East Chapel Hill High. The Don Curtis awards went to the two top broadcasting students at the event, to Shelby Swanson of East Chapel Hill High and Abigail Hayes of Wake Early College of Health and Sciences. Each of the four students will receive $625 cash scholarships.

For the Board: We respectfully request that the Certification Committee and the board reconsider rescinding JEA’s long-held certification coursework option. That option had recognized the importance of subject matter expertise, mirroring certification and licensure approaches in state departments of education. Without the coursework option, JEA misses the opportunity to recognize educators who bring journalism studies to our classrooms, notably those who decide to teach in private and charter schools as well as those who pursue lateral entry options in public schools. In North Carolina, we have five board members of NC Scholastic Advisers Association who have journalism degrees. Anecdotally, these teachers run longstanding programs, giving stability to their journalism classrooms and student media operations. We also have a state licensure endorsement program here that recognizes journalism coursework. This state and your national program together have been important opportunities for teachers, showing administrators and prospective employers important areas of professional stature. Without the JEA coursework option, a void now exists on the national level for teachers who seek this important credential. The decision to award certification based only on the completion of a test may, on some level, convey JEA’s regard for testing and its place in education. But as JEA works to focus efforts on diversity, inclusion and access, please consider how allowing more than one certification option recognizes the value of diverse experiences, backgrounds and expertise. Those are important elements of any diversity effort.

North Dakota

Maggie Cogar, CJE
Ashland University
401 College Ave.
138 Center for the Arts
Ashland, OH 44805

Membership: The Ohio JEA membership is currently at 64 members, which is up from 55 in the spring. Efforts are continuous to recruit JEA members in Ohio. The Ohio Scholastic Media Association (OSMA) currently offers JEA membership through the state registration forms and Maggie Cogar, CJE, Ohio JEA state director, and Candace Bowen, MJE, executive director of OSMA, use state press association events to inform Ohio advisers on the benefits of joining JEA. Also, email marketing using Constant Contact newsletters continue to be sent to all JEA and OSMA members, as well as to a database of over 800 administrators across the state, in an attempt to increase membership for both JEA and OSMA. The OSMA executive board also continues to discuss member outreach for both OSMA and JEA, with a few board members initiating direct contact with non-member schools.

Events: While the annual fall workshops for advisers and students were cancelled due to the pandemic, Ohio JEA and OSMA have tried to adapt to the world of covid and find ways to be available for Ohio advisers and their students. 

Over the summer, OSMA held adviser roundtable meetings via Zoom in an effort to get a sense of what adviser’s needed during these challenging times. Out of those roundtable meetings, the idea of the “speakers bureau” began. For this initiative, the OSMA executive director, Candace Bowen, as well as members of the OSMA executive board are actively recruiting qualified speakers to be part of the speakers bureau. With this, advisers in Ohio (whether they are members of OSMA, JEA, or both) will be able to select a presenter and a time for a virtual session on the topic of their choice and that virtual session will be taught by university faculty (from varying universities in the state or from across the country), alumni, and other newsroom professionals. The OSMA board, along with Ohio JEA, hope to launch this initiative by the end of October 2020.

The 2020-2021 annual state convention is currently scheduled to be held April 16-17 at Kent State University, where the board usually anticipates around 375-500 students and advisers in attendance. Besides more than 50 breakout sessions and individualized school team-building and training sessions, students receive awards from pre-entered contests and overall publication critique ratings. OSMA will award over 1,000 individual awards to student journalists in pre-entered categories in writing, design, photography, broadcast, yearbook and online at the annual banquet, and will also name Ohio’s Journalist of the Year for 2021. However, amid the pandemic, the OSMA executive board is not yet sure whether this event will take place. The board is waiting until the event is closer to decide the fate of the state convention.

For the board: The Ohio Scholastic Media Association continues to support Wayne Dunn as the JEA mentor for the state. His work is invaluable in connecting advisers to resources offered at both the state and national level. However, amid the pandemic the in-person mentoring in Ohio has been put on hold (though mentees have still communicated via email). 

One of the largest accomplishments and highlights of OSMA in recent years is the addition of an active OSMA student board. This student board is comprised of student representatives from across the state who provide input to the OSMA executive board and help run sessions at the regional workshops and state conference. The student board continues to be actively involved in the organization and is currently recruiting student representatives for the 2021-2022 school year and they have continued to serve OSMA during the pandemic by meeting virtually and continuing to provide input OSMA conventions and contests.

My dissertation survey for the research proposal titled “Gatekeeping in Scholastic Journalism: Examining factors that influence student content decisions” was delayed in the spring due to the pandemic. The survey recently went out to the JEA listserv and closes Oct. 15. This research will focus on factors that correlate to student self-censorship rates, including examining the correlation of student comfort level in publishing controversial material to the rate of perceived administrative censorship. The research will be analyzed between November and January and results of the study will be written up and available sometime before May 1, 2020. A sincere thank you to all advisers on the listserv who sent the survey to students and encouraged their participation in this important research.

Darla Tresner, MJE
3512 Harvey Road
Bartlesville, OK 74006

Membership: Oklahoma currently has 24 JEA members. Our Facebook page will begin a series of informational videos after the first of the year. Monthly Zoom meetings are planned.

Events/Happenings: Oklahoma advisers are looking forward to our fall scholastic journalism conferences. The University of Oklahoma will host its fall 2020 conference virtually this year Nov. 2. At that time, state awards for last year’s yearbooks will be presented.  Also, a wide variety of learning sessions for students and advisers will be presented by area professional journalists and advisers.

No information concerning the First Amendment Conference or Oklahoma State University’s Media Day, both of which usually are held in the fall, has been shared.

Brian Eriksen, CJE
South Salem High School
9375 SE Hillview Drive
Amity, OR 97101

Membership: State membership in JEA currently stands at 41 members.

Events: Due to the current pandemic we are looking into creating a virtual “Fall Media Day” as well as hosting regular “adviser get togethers.”

Awards and honors: Kyle Pinnell of Southridge High School in Beaverton is the Oregon 2020 Journalist of the Year. Hillary Currier, from Tigard High School, is our 2020 Mary Hartman Oregon Journalism Teacher of the Year. John Fitzgerald of Wilsonville High School is our 2020 Rookie Adviser of the Year.

Adviser Workshop: OregonJEA will again be offering workshops in advising newspaper and yearbook publications (beginning and advanced), digital photography and broadcast journalism. Whether you are a veteran or beginner, the workshops will have valuable content for you.
This is a great opportunity to improve your skills, log PDU or CTE hours and get college credit if you choose. For more information on the 2021 Adviser Workshop, check out their website: www.Adviserworkshop.com

Cyndi Hyatt-Crothers
Northeastern High School
Conestoga High School
Berwyn, PA 19312

Membership:  Pennsylvania has 62 members, one fewer than last spring.

Events:  The Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA) plans to hold virtual contests before the end of the year.  Dates and regions are TBD after their next board meeting. This past summer PSPA in partnership with Point Park University hosted free journalism webinars for students and advisers. Sessions were presented by Point Park faculty and advisers from across the state.

New Voices: Comprehensive bills have been introduced into the Senate and House and are currently in committee. The Pennsylvania team held a meeting last week to re-organize and re-group. Membership has tripled and student leaders have emerged. Three teams are strategizing to promote endorsement and support for the bills including a social media team, an outreach/endorsement team and a recruitment team to reach out for wider state support and involvement.

No Director
Rhode Island

Leslie Dennis
South Carolina
S.C. Scholastic Press Assn. and SIPA
800 Sumter St. School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Columbia, SC 29208

Membership: The JEA directory shows 21 members in JEA, down one member from this time last year.

Fall Conference
SCSPA will hold its fall conference virtually Monday and Tuesday, October 26-27. Literary magazine and yearbook evaluation and individual awards are presented during the fall conference.

Spring Conference
The spring conference was canceled due to COVID-19 and a virtual awards ceremony was held on April 30 to celebrate achievements in excellence. 

SCSPA Fall (2020) awards:
These awards have yet to be determined and handed out.

Spring 2020 (awarded virtually April 30) –
You can find a full list of winners online

Journalist of the Year: Eva Chillura, Wando HS (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)

Best Broadcast: “RNE-TV Live,” Richland Northeast HS (Columbia, S.C.)

Best Newspaper: Tribal Tribune, Wando HS (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)

Best Online Media: SPiNwired, South Pointe HS (Rock Hill, S.C.).Find a list of South Carolina’s NSPA and CSPA award winners here.

Marina Hendricks, CJE
South Dakota
South Dakota State University
Box 2235
Yeager Hall 224
Brookings, SD 57007
W: 605.688-6515

Membership: South Dakota has nine members – an increase of one from the spring 2020 report. 

Events: Cancellation of in-person events, while frustrating, has brought opportunities to expand high school journalism programming – and our reach – through virtual platforms. I offered a series of Zoom sessions for South Dakota teachers in July 2020. In my dual role as vice head of AEJMC’s Scholastic Journalism Division, I organized a virtual pre-conference “teach-in” that was opened up to high school educators across the United States. Ordinarily, this one-day workshop draws modest in-person attendance in the AEJMC host city. My thanks go to Rod Satterthwaite, Sarah Nichols and Peter Rodrigues of JEANorCal for their support and assistance. 

As I write this, I’m preparing for the virtual South Dakota High School Press Convention, a one-day event Oct. 19 featuring presenters from across the state as well as Texas, Colorado, Kansas and California (thank you again, Sarah Nichols). I plan to follow that with a series of virtual sessions during the remainder of the school year. The first one, scheduled for December, will feature Mike Hiestand from the Student Press Law Center. My goal is to get our total membership number into double digits by the spring 2021 convention. 

Awards and honors: The South Dakota High School Activities Association sponsors the annual statewide contests in newswriting, photography, newspaper and yearbook. Winners are recognized at the fall convention. 

For the board: N/A

Heather Nagel, CJE
Christ Presbyterian Academy
2323 Old Hickory Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37215

Membership: We currently have 46 state members.

Events/Happenings: Tennessee High School Press Association hosted a Virtual Fall Workshop for state members. There were 14 live sessions at the Virtual Fall Workshop and dozens of “fast-track” videos from which viewers could choose. The keynote speaker was Tracy Kornet, anchor at NBC affiliate WSMV-TV. 

We at THSPA were saddened to learn of the passing of Bonnie Hufford Oct. 2. Bonnie was former director of THSPA and delivered the keynote address at our 2019 Fall Workshop. Our state award for the adviser of the year bears her name.

Awards/Honors  (1) At the THSPA Virtual Fall Workshop, there was a State Journalism Contest for Feature Writing. Here are the winners. (2) Last spring, CSPA awarded Crown honors to two Tennessee Publications: A Silver Crown to Calliope, St. Agnes Academy, Memphis, Tennessee and a Silver Crown to Lion’s Roar, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville, Tennessee. (3) Last spring, Tennessee High School Press Association awarded many schools all across the state with team and individual awards. (4) Many schools across the state received a National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences award for video production. 

Leah Waters, CJE
Heritage High School
14040 Eldorado Pkwy
Frisco, TX 75035

Membership: Texas JEA membership sits at 287. Membership totals 320 for the Texas Association of Journalism Educators.

Events: TAJE hosted a virtual Fall Fiesta Oct. 10-11 with semi-live and prompt contests in writing, photography, design and multimedia areas. The event also allowed schools to sign up for one-on-one media critiques and shared dozens of pre-recorded sessions for programs. 

 TAJE maintains Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to disseminate information from JEA and TAJE. 

The Interscholastic League Press Conference State Convention will be April 30 – May 2, 2021 at the University of Texas in Austin. The Association of Texas Photography Instructors will host its Winter Conference February 26-28, 2021 at the University of Arlington. Both these events are tentatively scheduled for in-person at this time. However, the boards could vote to change to a virtual model should local health data show a moderate level of COVID activity in the state.


  • In order to help advisers across the state stay connected and mentor each other, the board has been hosting a weekly TAJE Talks Zoom call every Monday evening. Topics have included covering controversy, handling school pictures, New Voices legislation and curriculum.
  • The New Voices Texas organization elected officers for service and leadership: Keana Saberi, Education Officer; Mylo Bissell, Legal Officer; Christine Vo, Communication Officer; Mia Nguyen, Regional Organizer Officer; Cade Spencer, Club Development Officer; Katlynn Fox, State Organizer Officer; David Doerr, Faculty Adviser. Texas’ State Legislature resumes again in January 2021.

Awards and Honors: Nothing new for the board at this time.

For the Board: Nothing new for the board at this time.

Morgan Olsen
Rockwell Charter High School
3435 E Stonebridge Lane
Eagle Mountain, UT 84005

Membership: Utah has 10 JEA Members.

Events: UCMA (Utah College Media) re-introduced the Coverage Cup at the symposium held at Utah Valley University in September 2019. In its fourth year, this category for the Futures Awards is exclusively available to schools that participated in a Utah College Media Alliance program in the 2019-2020 school year (the Symposium in September 2019 or the Virtual Futures Awards in May 2020). There is no entry fee for this category and all schools are entered to compete after completing the Initial Entry Form.

Schools compete against each other by covering a special-interest topic of their choosing all year long and submitting their work in late April as part of the Futures Awards. New categories of competition have been added this year, including audio and podcasting. This year’s deadline for submitting entries will be announced at a later time. More information can be found here.

The UCMA Futures Awards will happen sometime in May 2021, Covid-19 regulations pending. The awards ceremony is free to attend for any teachers/advisors and students who are part of their school’s journalism program. According to the UCMA website, “The Futures Awards are designed to recognize excellent journalism by Utah high school students. Sponsored by the Utah College Media Alliance in collaboration with the Utah Press Association, the contest is judged by Utah’s college journalists, journalism professors and professional journalists. The Futures encourage high school students who show an interest in journalism to pursue their media interests into college. More details will be sent to contest entrants, but mark your calendars for a red carpet awards night to celebrate the best of journalism and media from Utah’s high schools. Oh, and there’s a cash award for the high school that accumulates the most points throughout the contest in each classification (6A/5A/4A & 3A/2A/1A).”

Rules and instructions for the Futures were sent out via email to high school advisors at each high school, but can also be found by clicking the “Rules” link here. A list of categories for submission and rules for the contest can also be found on the UCMA website.

Advisers who are interested in being added to the Utah High School Advisor Email list can sign up here.

Awards and honors: We did not have a Student Journalist of the Year for Utah this year.

For the board: The student-led New Voices movement is still well underway in Utah, but nothing has been formally passed yet. More information can be found on the New Voices of Utah Facebook page.

Nancy A. Olson, CJE
45 Pratt Road
Putney, VT 05346

Membership: Vermont has four voting members.

Events/Happenings: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vermont schools are open in a variety of formats, usually a hybrid model, with some students on-line only and other students in-person on a staggered schedule. Marilee Attley, faculty adviser to the Brattleboro Beacon at Brattleboro Union High School, said that there is no time built into the schedule for clubs to meet. In these circumstances, she is finding it a challenge for students to produce the print edition of the paper. She is wondering about going virtual instead.

Awards/Honors: None at this time.

For the Board: You all are amazing, meeting the challenges in your own teaching situations and at the same time offering support to other journalism teachers and students. You are even more of an inspiration than you were before. Thank you.

Erinn Harris, MJE
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
6560 Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22312

Membership: Virginia’s voting membership has gone down four members, with 82 current members.

Events/Happenings: Due to COVID-19, our VHSL Media Championship workshop was cancelled, but thanks to the efforts of Valerie Kibler, MJE, and Dan Reinish, CJE, our workshop has evolved into the Multimedia Championship Digital Resources. This database of instructional videos features advisers and experts from around the country, covering topics relevant to all publications. Free for anyone – not just Virginia advisers – to use in their classrooms, this resource continues to grow as we regularly add new videos to help teachers and advisers navigate pandemic instruction.

In order to connect with Virginia advisers – members or non-members – we have started weekly meet-ups on Thursdays where we can talk shop, but also simply make connections. We’ve been going strong every week since Aug. 20, covering everything from prior review to photography to puppies (yes, puppies). Despite the fact that we meet Thursdays at 5 p.m. – after a full day of Zoom classrooms – our meet-ups have become a space for advisers to come and relax with others who understand what we’re all trying to do.

Awards: The PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, headquartered in Arlington, Va., was named a JEA Friend of Scholastic Journalism Aug. 25. 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.
For the Board: Our annual jRetreat in January will move online, but will take place, as usual, over MLK weekend. We normally invite an adviser-in-residence to lead us through a hands-on workshop, but given the pandemic, the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers has decided to move to a virtual model. There will still be opportunities for learning and fellowship, and as always, advisers from around the country are more than welcome to join us.

Anne Hayman, MJE
Arlington High School
18821 Crown Ridge Blvd.
Arlington, WA 98223

Membership: We currently have 115 members (not including students) in the WJEA. As a state, we have 60 JEA members. This is the season for membership renewals, and with the Covid Shutdown, much of the spending was suspended. I expect things to start increasing as registration for convention and renewals pick up. 

Board: May 9, 2020 a new board was voted into office for WJEA. Anne Hayman continues as the President. Scott Collins is the Vice President. Teresa Scribner moves to Secretary, and Sandra Coyer is our Treasurer. 

Events: Our spring conference was cancelled. Our summer workshop/camp was cancelled. We still had critiques and Emerald Awards on a delayed timeline. We have just finished scoring for the Emerald Awards, but results have not been shared. The critiques are in progress still; yearbook deadline was October. 

In June, we had our Board Retreat to shape the next two years with the board. We have revamped our website and are increasing our PD opportunities. In fact, in August, we held a virtual Professional Development with a series of different courses. Due to the timing, we only had 13 participants, but they were very complimentary of the offerings and are asking for more. Our annual J-Day West at University of Washington went virtual this year. Even with all the craziness of virtual schooling (a large portion of the state is entirely distance learning), we had 260 registered participants. Registrants and members will have access to the content after a month. J-Day East at Whitworth University is still under construction. We want to have some virtual event, but the details are unclear at this time. 

Additionally, the WJEA is in the beginning stages of setting up our own diversity and inclusion training. We will be focusing especially on helping advisers and students to diversify their newsrooms and to cover their diverse populations. 

We have been working on the Spring JEA/NSPA 2021 Convention planning. Obviously, things are looking different than we expected, but we are excited about some of the offerings that will help the spring 2021 convention stand out.

Jessica Bramer, CJE
West Virginia
John Marshall High School
1300 Wheeling Ave.
Glen Dale, WV 26038

Membership: West Virginia has seen an increase in membership since spring and now stands at seven members.

Events/happenings: A Microsoft Teams group has been started so J teachers can utilize the state-suggested platform to network with each other.

Matthew Smith, CJE
Fond du Lac High School
801 Campus Dr
Fond du Lac, WI 54935

Membership: Wisconsin JEA membership currently stands at 61.

Events/Happenings: In light of the ongoing pandemic, most, if not all, upcoming events are planned to be virtual. The Wisconsin Journalism Education Association (WisJEA) has begun operation for the first time this year. Since the start of this school year it has held two virtual chats to share and discuss relevant topics: one on virtual team-building with guest Abrianna Nelson and another with guest Mark Goodman on student press rights and legal topics. Chats will continue to be held every few weeks for the rest of this school year. Unfortunately, the Kettle Moraine Press Association (KEMPA) was forced to cancel its annual Summer Journalism Journalism Workshop this past summer. KEMPA, however, will be holding its Fall Conference virtually (but still live) Oct. 16. The focus of this year’s conference is “Innovating in a Time of Crisis.” The Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association (NEWSPA) is still finalizing plans for its Spring Conference, currently scheduled for April 21. This year’s event, which was forced to be cancelled last year, will also be virtual.

Awards and Honors: The Wisconsin Journalism Education Association will once again host the Wisconsin Journalist of the Year contest. We have streamlined the application process to encourage more entries and moved the deadline to Jan. 31.
For the Board: It can be difficult for advisers and students to find the time and motivation to take advantage of virtual conferences (both regionally and nationally). Numbers for such events in Wisconsin will almost surely be down significantly, but we continue to work to come up with ways to get the word out and provide resources and activities that are flexible and particularly helpful during a year unlike any other.

Erika Quick
Cody High School
1225 10th St
Cody, WY 82414

Laura Widmer
Liaison- NSPA
2829 University Ave. S.E., Suite 720
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Thank you for this opportunity to share what is going on at our office. We want to reiterate that our partnership with the Journalism Education Association is invaluable to us. We love the opportunity to collaborate on education, resources and

events relative to student journalists and advisers. We are stronger together.

What’s new? We’ve had an excellent year. We’ve had initiatives, awards and resources added to our website. We’ve added individual awards, Pacemaker Master Classes, Town Halls and student leadership resources.

NSPA’s new student competition, Clips & Clicks, launches in fall 2020 and honors current work. Open to all NSPA members, Clips & Clicks offers multiple categories for student and publication achievement, and each contest segment encompasses one semester of work. 

The fall-semester competition opens in September and closes in December, with winners announced by mid-January. The spring-semester contest opens in mid-December and closes in mid-May, with winners announced in early June.

The cost is $10 per entry, with no limit on entries. Any student on staff at an NSPA-member publication is eligible.

Campaign 2020 Photo Exchange has been a success. We’ve created a Flickr archive of student-produced photos of the 2020 national candidates and campaigns, and we’re making them available to our member student journalists for use in their student media. It’s sometimes a challenge for student media to find high-quality images that are current, let alone affordable or free. 

NSPA Advisory Committee continues to be an asset to our organization. I love the conversations we have with our members, and I love the focus on how we can offer better services, contests and critiques for our student journalists and all members. 

Board member Mitch Eden has taken the lead on our Student Advisory Committee. The first meeting was in D.C., and since Nashville was canceled, the student leaders have helped with virtual Town Halls and Pacemaker classes. You can see those on our website.

NSPA and JEA have definitely faced challenges since COVID-19 has changed our norm. Canceling conventions and extending contracts with no penalty has been our biggest accomplishment to date. These hotel penalties could be devastating to both organizations, but to date, The Gaylord and The Orlando Marriott World Center have been great to extend contracts in future years.

Kelly and I spent the summer doing extensive research finding a virtual convention platform that would be affordable and provide multiple sessions and an exhibit hall for our registrants. Hubb is the platform and we look forward to rolling it out in November.

I’d love to chat about what we can do at NSPA to make your journalism life better. Reach out to me at Laura@studentpress.org.

Hader Harris, Esq
Executive Director
Studen Press Law Center
1608 Rhode Island Ave. Suite 211
Washington, D.C. 20036

The past eight months have been a period of unprecedented challenge for us all. While you have been struggling to maintain your classes and publications, we at SPLC have been developing resources, teaching tools, advocacy kits and, of course, staffing the free legal hotline, to help in every way we can think of during this chaotic time. 

In many ways, the period since March 2020 has been transformational for SPLC. Despite shutting our physical office in March, we pivoted quickly, expanded our outreach, created new training opportunities, and provided proactive resources to enable student journalists to report the important stories of our time. Whether providing guidance on reporting on COVID-19covering racial justice protests, securing financial viability for student media, or expanding legislative efforts to secure press freedom (New Voices), our efforts have been wide and deep. As always, our free legal hotline continues to field inquiries from across the country on a range of issues and is open and available to your students at any time.  

In our efforts to give you the support you need during this challenging time, we have developed many new materials so I want to focus on a few of these efforts to ensure that you see them and your students can use them in the most effective ways possible. 

New SPLC Letters to USE: 

Based on issues we could see emerging from the SPLC free legal hotline, we have developed a series of letters, on SPLC letterhead, for student journalists to save, download, print and use. These are meant to help student journalists anticipate difficult interactions and have tools on-hand, literally, to confront difficult situations. Please use them. And if you need more help, please call the legal hotline to speak to an SPLC staff attorney.

  • FERPA Is No Excuse Letter. In order to counter the use of FERPA as an excuse to deny student journalists (and others) access to public information about FERPA, SPLC has developed a letter for student journalists to download or forward explaining why/how FERPA cannot be used to deny access to many forms of COVID-related information.mThe letter was developed to help student journalists respond immediately to a denial of information, rather than necessitating a call to the SPLC free legal hotline before responding.
  • Student Media is an Essential Service Letter. Directed at administrators who may seek to limit the role of student journalists (or even cut the journalism program) during the pandemic, this letter reinforces the integral role that student journalists – like all journalists – play in reporting through crises. This letter is part of the Coronavirus Reporting Toolkit, which provides legal FAQs about reporting during this time, coverage guides and more. 
  • Student Journalists are Media Letter to Law Enforcement. This letter was developed for student journalists to print out and take with them when covering a protest which could result in interactions with law enforcement. It confirms that student journalists covering protests are journalists and perform an essential service. This letter is part of a broader set of new tools for covering protests which SPLC has created to assist student journalists understand the risks and safety protocols needed to cover all kinds of protests, including 20 key tips to stay safe

Confronting Financial Crises for Student Media 

We know that as the pandemic and resulting recession affect school funding, student media could weather potentially devastating cuts. We also know that budget cuts can be a form of censorship. As a result, this summer SPLC launched the Student Media Financial Survival Strategies Hub. You’ll find tools and resources for high school programs to advocate, innovate, reinvent and rethink their financial survival strategies. There are two resources, in particular, which are directed at high school programs, but in order to be most effective, we need your help to get the word about them and to encourage people to use them: 

  • High School Budget Advocacy Toolkit.  Many teachers, students and their allies may not know how to strategically respond to looming budget cuts (be they intentional or opportunistic) and may need help figuring out how to advocate for your important programs. This comprehensive set of tools is meant to be used:

1) if a class has been eliminated and the adviser reassigned.

2) the program was reclassified from a class to a club.

3) the student media’s budget has been eliminated and needs to be self-funded.

4) the budget was significantly reduced or cut altogether.  

The toolkit includes letter templates, speaking points, arguments and tips to mobilizing others. Materials are focused for particular groups of activists (teachers, students or parents) and targeted for each of the above scenarios. All four scenarios are starting to play out and we are hoping that by providing these resources, we can help journalism supporters recognize when budget cuts are occurring and help them to advocate for themselves. 

  • Student Media Budget Cut Tracker. To document and monitor anticipated cuts in student media program budgets, SPLC has developed a tracking tool that was developed in consultation with teachers and advisers from around the country. As more information is gathered, we will confer with JEA and other partners about how the data will ultimately be used.  


FRIDAY, FEB. 26, 2021!  WRITE IT DOWN!!! Timed to coincide with the last day of Scholastic Journalism Week 2021, Student Press Freedom Day gives us all something to look forward to and to plan! As you know, Student Press Freedom Day is a national day of action when we celebrate the contributions of student journalists and highlight the need to support their independence without censorship or threat to their advisers. This year we are recruiting students and advisers to join a broad organizing team to help ensure that Student Press Freedom Day reaches as far and wide as possible. We anticipate that SPLC will again have limited small grants to help support programming (more on that soon) and we look forward to broad partnerships. If you would like to help in planning on a national, regional or local level, please sign up here. And remember, it’s not too soon to start organizing at your school or throughout your region!

New Voices

The momentum around New Voices continues to build, even with the COVID-related shut-down of state legislatures last spring. With New Voices introduced this year in 11 states, we have made unprecedented progress, as New Voices legislation advanced each and every time it was considered by a legislature anywhere in the country. No small feat, indeed, and a great way to be ready when legislatures are open for business again!  This period has also given us an opportunity to focus on four key things: 1) expanding organizing with state-based groups; 2) producing an implementation toolkit to expand education and outreach to ensure robust implementation of New Voices in states where it has been recently adopted; 3) recruiting and training a new group of New Voices High School Leadership Fellows to lead student efforts on the ground; and 4) solidifying and expanding work and coordination with the JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee. 

Of particular note, 22 high school students from nine states participated in a four-day online training and strategizing workshop in July led by New Voices Organizer Hillary Davis. They committed to working with New Voices in the 2020-2021 school year as state-liaisons. The students and adviser-organizers are working together as they prepare for the reopening of many state legislatures in January 2021.

In addition, we all know that just getting a New Voices law adopted is not enough. The true impact of New Voices is ensuring that it is implemented fully on the ground, with real, meaningful change in student press protections. The pandemic-induced shutdown of legislatures has enabled our New Voices team to focus attention on creating a set of core materials – including a model school board policy and various know-your-rights materials. We are piloting the implementation work with in-state partners in Washington state (thanks Kathy and Vince!) to educate key stakeholders about the legal obligations of New Voices laws and to hold schools and school districts accountable. As we learn from these pilot efforts, we plan to expand these efforts to other states. 

One of the other very positive developments for New Voices has been the close collaboration which has developed with the JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee. The SPLC and SPRC have been meeting regularly to coordinate outreach and recently held a joint event for student leaders to familiarize them with New Voices and the ways they can join the movement. 

If you have not signed up for the monthly New Voices newsletter, please sign up here. To learn more about New Voices in your state, contact Hillary Davis at hdavis@splc.org.  

New Resources and Training Opportunities

In addition to the resources outlined above, we are very proud of a few additional initiatives which have launched to help us use this time effectively:

  • This summer SPLC held the first Media Law & Policy Institute for law and pre-law students (with targeted outreach to underrepresented communities through HBCUs and HSIs). Eighteen students participated and spent three weeks learning from experts from across the country and participating in practical exercises to apply their knowledge. The last week was spent in a Moot Court Competition which involved more than 25 prominent media lawyers as judges and coaches and a final round of argument in front of a panel that included Federal judges and a State Supreme Court Justice.  
  • To respond to current events, we have expanded the Virtual Speakers Bureau to include two new topics – Covering the Coronavirus and Covering Protests. Teachers and editors can invite an SPLC expert into their classroom or newsroom for live 40-minute presentations and Q&A via Zoom. Launched in August 2019, Freedom of/Access to Information is the most requested topic.

SPLC issued a strong statement condemning systemic racism and committed to a set of actions that we as an organization are undertaking.  

SPLC is welcoming four new members to our Board of Directors. Media attorney Matthew Cate of Ballard Spahr; veteran journalist Lynette Clemetson who currently heads the Knight-Wallace program at the University of Michigan; Steven A. Holmes, recently retired executive director of Standards and Practice for CNN; and Ava Lubell former general counsel of Quartz.com and current Legal Fellow at the Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic. As journalists and lawyers (and former student journalists), they each bring tremendous insight and perspective to our Board and we look forward to working with them.

Finally, we look forward to seeing you at the Fall Convention! SPLC will be conducting a variety of sessions – from traditional student press law topics to discussions with experts on some of the more pressing issues of our day. We look forward to continuing to support the Convention and “seeing” you all online!

We hope you and your families are staying safe during these difficult times. Our hearts go out to those of you who have been personally affected by COVID-19 and we look forward to the time that we can all be together again in person. To get the latest news from SPLC, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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