Spring 2021 Semiannual Report

Spring 2021 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

Membership: Voting membership stands at 2,375, which is a drop from a comparable time last spring. The year-long cycle marks a year since the start of the pandemic crisis. A membership decrease can be attributed in large part to the lack of in-person programming as national conventions drive membership signups and renewals. Last spring’s convention was canceled, with the fall moving online. Numbers were strong, but not on par with the previous in-person fall conventions. Total membership stands at 2,542. 

The organization is conducting a membership Roll Call to update profile information and collect data that will support future initiatives. 


Dec. 12: Convention planning meeting, Spring NHSJC
Dec. 13: Signed contracts to host JEA/NSPA NHSJC in Seattle in 2025
Jan. 23: Convention planning meeting, Spring NHSJC
Jan. 31: JEA Board of Directors budget meeting
March 4: NAMLE National Media Literacy Alliance meeting
March 5-6: Beyond Envisioning Equity: Situating Teacher of Color Voices conference

Headquarters: The headquarters staff is still working remotely with only one employee in the office at a time. This is to maintain university guidelines for social distancing. The staff is operating at full capacity after a transition and integration of an assistant director, Lindsay Porter.  

Financial Position: As of March 10, 2021, JEA’s expenses were $330,825.64 whereas total revenue is $287,833.01, which means JEA has a net operating revenue of $-45,3838.05. Investment revenue has fluctuated greatly this year with total other revenue at $133,975.43. The result is a Net Revenue of $88,599.37. Markets have been uneasy with large peaks and valleys. We have a long-term investment strategy, which means the day-to-day fluctuations have little impact on our operating budget. The losses in our investments from a year ago have rebounded this year. JEA’s financial position is $1,731,175.15 in total current assets.

Lindsay Porter
Assistant Director

Communications by the numbers:

  • 3,893 Facebook followers — 8% growth in Q1 
  • 3,992 Twitter followers — 2% growth in Q1
  • 1,874 Instagram followers — 5% growth in Q1
  • 9,524 newsletter email contacts — 32% open rate, 12% click rate
  • 1,124 JEA listserv followers

Communications highlights:

  • Updated JEA email newsletter template
  • JEA Member Roll Call has 41% participation rate. 
  • Working to expand the quantity and variety of news posts on www.jea.org. 
  • Scholastic Journalism Week 2021 had high engagement. The SJW Twitter saw 6% growth in Q1 and had 72,9000 impressions in February (the JEA Twitter averages around 50,000 impressions monthly).
  • Performing an audit of the membership process and communication points along the way. Hope to make some efficiency improvements this summer.
  • C:JET magazine webpages reformatted to display e-edition and online supplement on one page.

Convention highlights:

  • Spring convention platform is new to us — TalentLMS. Lots of learning and planning to program.
  • 60 educational sessions scheduled for NHSJC — pre-recorded video sessions including three keynotes, 10 archived sessions from fall, 12 sponsored sessions and eight live video conferencing meetups. 
  • 36 student workshop sections — 17 topics, 22 instructors.

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

So far 2021 is as fast-paced and unpredictable as last fall, but as spring approaches there’s much to appreciate. I am so proud of the constant shifts in teaching and advising practices by our members, the steadfast commitment to empowering student voice, the improvisation and flexibility of our leaders and the powerful work student journalists continue to produce.

“What We Do Matters,” as Scholastic Journalism Week showcased. Joining forces with the Student Press Law Center to add Student Press Freedom Day to the #SJW2021 lineup increased the impact and helped us all showcase “Journalism Against the Odds” as part of our ongoing advocacy for press rights legislation.

The uncertainty surrounding the likelihood of hosting in-person events has required a wait-and-see approach to much of our decision-making for the next JEA budget. At the same time, I’m thrilled at the scope and quality of the online convention experience JEA and NSPA have developed for spring 2021. We’re committed to providing teachers and students excellent opportunities to learn, interact, compete and celebrate, and we’re learning a lot through each experience. We’re equally committed to data-driven decisions and responsible fiscal operations for long-term sustainability of our programs and events.

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

  • Presenting a session at the fall National High School Journalism Convention online and developing a two-week virtual workshop for the spring model
  • Developing four new resources for anywhereJEA
  • Participating in monthly board meetings online to collaborate and report progress on three areas of focus: supporting teachers and advisers during a pandemic, expanding diversity, equity and inclusion efforts (including research, programming, anti-racism education and outreach to advisers of color) and conducting outreach to underserved populations 
  • Submitting a grant proposal to the SPJ Foundation for scholastic journalism research funding and a session proposal to NCTE for the 2021 Convention
  • Serving on the Society of Professional Journalists Journalism Ed Committee and working on its #Press4Education initiative, minority-serving institutions research and mentoring project
  • Contributing two posts to the JEA Digital Media site
  • Appointing Jane Blystone, MJE, to chair the JEA Mentoring Program and Laura Negri, CJE, to chair the Career and Technical Education Committee
  • Administering JEA’s online critique training, “You be the judge” (five new credentialed judges, 340 members in the JEA community on Participate)
  • Meeting with directors and board members from JEA/NSPA about the National High School Journalism Convention Joint Operating Agreement based on in-person, virtual and hybrid models
  • Conducting online instructional sessions and meet-ups for the JEA Partner Project with Megan Fromm, MJE, for Valley High School (Las Vegas, Nevada)

We also launched JEA Member Roll Call to gather information about our members. I requested our staff’s help in developing this initiative to enable JEA to maintain more detailed membership records with emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion, and they did a phenomenal job developing the system — huge thanks to Kate Dubiel and Lindsay Porter in particular. We will rely on the information to influence all strategic decisions and operations, from improving existing programs and making sure the organization’s budget aligns with our core values to seeking new funding sources and planning for the future. Many thanks to all of our members who have completed the Roll Call so far.

As I reflect on the past six months, I continue to be impressed by the innovation and commitment from our volunteer leaders at every level. We couldn’t do it without our partners at JEA Headquarters. Thank you Kelly, Porter, Pam, Kate and Cindy — you continue to go above and beyond the call of duty in serving our members.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and thank you for your trust in navigating such challenging circumstances. I look forward to connecting 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 and have continued that way the entire year, the board and all JEA leaders have never been busier working to help our members cope with multiple teaching situations across the nation. My hope is you have been able to utilize many of the resources we’re providing to make your life a little easier this year.

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
  • Serving on a Zoom meeting panel to discuss student journalist of the year portfolios
  • Appointing a new state director in Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. We are lucky to have Elizabeth Kenworthy and Mary Stapp on our team. We continue to have active state directors in all states except North Dakota
  • Joining the mentoring committee and attended monthly meetings, working directly with increasing our number of mentors
  • Attending the JEA Board budget meeting via Zoom to prepare the 2021 budget
  • Meeting with directors and board members from JEA/NSPA about the National High School Journalism Convention Joint Operating Agreement based on in-person, virtual and hybrid models
  • Promoting the application process for the 2021 Partner Project 
  • 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 Mississippi, Indiana, Nebraska, Illinois, Washington, Colorado and Maryland
  • Conducting online instructional sessions and meet-ups for the JEA Partner Project with Larry Steinmetz, CJE, for St. Mary’s Catholic School (Longview, Texas)
  • Presenting a session at the fall National High School Journalism Convention online and developing two two-week virtual workshops for the spring model

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. It’s been especially energizing to attend Zoom-in meetings state directors have been conducting to see the supportive environments they continue to provide for advisers. Journalism teachers are truly special people. Thank you!

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

It’s been just over a year since the country shut down and educators entered a time of unprecedented stress and extra work to keep our classes and publications going, yet the members of the Scholastic Press Rights Committee never stopped fighting for student press freedom. I cannot adequately express how grateful I am to the members of the SPRC for their dedication over the past year. 

SPRC’s members work in teams in a variety of areas. Members include Candace Bowen, MJE, John Bowen, MJE, Lindsay Coppens, Diana Day, CJE, Vince DeMiero, CJE, Mark Dzula, Jan Ewell, MJE, Brenda Field, MJE, Megan Fromm, MJE, Mark Goodman, Emilee Hussack, CJE, Cyndi Hyatt, CJE, Lori Keekley, MJE, Val Kibler, MJE, Jackie Mink, Andrea Negri, MJE, Sarah Nichols, MJE, Tripp Robbins, CJE, Kathy Schrier, MJE, 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.

We are always looking for new SPRC members! If you are passionate about student press freedom, consider joining us. Reach out to Kristin directly at ktaylor1164@gmail.com

Blogs: (Led by John Bowen) The blog team posts content weekly 10 months of the year. (We take off mid-June to mid-August.) Hits on the site remain consistent with a weekly average 100+, with a high this year of 350+. Since the fall report in November, contributors are John Bowen, Candace Perkins Bowen, Cyndi Hyatt, Stan Zoller and Teresa Scribner. See jeasprc.org for their work.

National Student Media Contests: Vince DeMiero will act as lead judge for the Spring 2021 NSMC Law and Ethics test, which Nancy Smith developed. John Bowen, Candace Perkins Bowen and Kristin Taylor are additional judges.

Podcasts: (Kristin Taylor, Tripp Robbins, Diana Day, Lindsay Coppens) Due to the challenges of the pandemic, our podcast has had a spotty publishing record; however, we have now published two episodes for this second season with two more coming soon. Topics for recent episodes include the role of student editorial boards as a layer of protection for student voices, an interview with a law professor about Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. and a spotlight on how independent school student editors at one of our new FAFPA recipient schools successfully advocated for an official Press Rights Protocol to protect student journalists into the future.

Social media (Led by Andrea Negri): 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. We have strong Twitter engagement but are looking for ways to increase our Facebook presence and engagement.

Panic Button responders (Lori Keekley, Stan Zoller, John Bowen, Jan Ewell, Andrea Negri) The Panic Button team provides confidential support for advisers and students in need of help who push SPRC’s Panic Button. We work in tandem with the Student Press Law Center: They provide legal support, and we provide advice and support from an educator perspective. Additionally, we reach out to those who post on the Llistserv and Facebook groups asking for help about censorship or prior review issues. The Panic Button team is currently working to expand awareness around the purpose of the button and ensuring our community knows the support is private and confidential. 

FAPFA Award: The FAPFA judging committee includes representatives from JEA, NSPA and Quill & Scroll. Kristin worked with JEA headquarters to revise the 2019-2020 forms and move them onto Submittable for 2020-2021. After two rounds of judging, the committee named 14 schools 2021 FAPFA recipients: The Archer School for Girls, Los Angeles; Brighton (Colorado) High School; Chantilly (Virginia) High School; Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Rockville, Maryland; Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, San Francisco; Harrisonburg (Virginia) High School; Kirkwood (Missouri) High School; McLean (Virginia) High School; Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, California; Mountlake Terrace (Washington) High School; South Salem High School, Salem, Oregon; St. Louis Park (Minnesota) High School; Stuart Hall High School, San Francisco; and Whitney High School, Rocklin, California. Three of these schools are first-time recipients. Read the complete news release here.

New Voices: SPRC works closely with SPLC to support New Voices legislative efforts around the country. Work continues in many committee member states, including helping with New Voices law implementation in states where a law has passed. Kristin is in regular communication with Hillary Davis and has been part of multiple panels. Here are some other highlights from members’ work:

  • Kathy Schrier and Vince DeMiero have been working with SPLC to roll out new guidelines for states with new New Voices laws and helped copy-edit the upcoming “Guide to New Voices Law in Washington state” a booklet produced by SPLC, aimed to clarify the meaning and significance of the law to all stakeholders.
  • John Tagliareni has been active with getting New Voices legislation passed in New Jersey. The Senate bill passed unanimously, and the Assembly now has 21 cosponsors. Three of six members of the Assembly Education Committee are cosponsors. A team of teachers and students are very active and work closely with Hillary Davis at SPLC. The legislation has numerous  endorsements. However, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association has opposed the bill, and the Assembly Education Chair has not agreed to hear the bill in committee. 
  • Also from John Tagliareni: In New Jersey, we had a Student Forum hosted by a New Voices student team member, with four student panelists who discussed the importance of scholastic journalism, as well as censorship concerns they had. In addition, there were three legislators who participated and who were very impressed with our students. We also had Cathy Kuhlmeier for the last segment, and she gave some new insights and background information about the Hazelwood case. She offered to help us with our New Voices legislation.  
  • Candace Perkins Bowen helped the SPLC get an Illinois student who had been actively involved with their New Voices law passing to help with a Zoom to others interested in passing laws in their states. She is also coordinating with Sommer Ingram Dean of the SPLC to write a blog as they ramp up their web content about censorship of COVID-19 stories in yearbooks — or censoring of same.

Constitution Day 2021: Matt Smith led a strong celebration in 2020 with the theme “Supporting Student Voices” and will be gathering materials this summer for September 2021. If you have ideas for a new theme or would like to create a lesson plan or activity, reach out to him directly: matthewssmith17@gmail.com

Student Press Freedom Day 2021: Feb. 26 was an incredible celebration of student press freedom! The Student Press Law Center led this celebration with JEA support. Some elements of the event included a town hall discussion of what student press freedom means, an op-ed campaign calling for pieces on the importance of student press freedom, which were published in professional publications around the country, stories of students reporting against the odds, a new white paper on student censorship in 2020 and more. Check out their website here. We encourage everyone to use these resources to advocate for press freedom in your own communities.

Shari Adwers, MJE
Educational Initiatives Director

After teaching remotely for a year, I returned March 3 to my classroom in a hybrid, concurrent situation with fewer than two dozen students in person over the course of a week. I do love the daily live sighting, even if it’s only a handful of faces. And despite the challenges and unpredictability, the kids are thriving, inspiring me with their continued resilience and ability to adapt.

Since my last report, I’ve been:

  • Working with curriculum coordinators Megan Fromm, MJE, and Abri Nelson, CJE, to develop a plan for a refreshed and renewed curriculum to better serve our members and their students’ needs. I will be presenting this more formally at the board meeting and rolling it out soon. Highlights include:
    • Lessons that are created, packaged and delivered in a way that reflects and embraces today’s technology trends and are student-friendly and appealing
    • Flexibility for use in multiple scenarios (in-person, hybrid,virtual)
    • Options such as student-facing and self-paced lessons
  • Revising and modifying lessons within the curriculum based on member feedback and usability needs as we become aware of them.
  • Posting new lessons, most recently a trio created by Kristin Taylor, MJE, and Sarah Verpooten, MJE, for Black History Month. 
  • Attending the board budget meeting and focusing on creating a balanced, goal-centered budget.
  • Participating in monthly board meetings and chats as we continue to respond to changes in member needs and plan for upcoming events and educational opportunities.

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

What a year. Pandemic life is tough. Balancing in-person and e-learners is tough. Never knowing exactly what’s around the corner is tough. We’ve all lived through this bizarre period in history that we hope ends soon while working harder than we ever imagined. I’m so impressed by the teachers in JEA who have flipped everything around to make life work for their students and (sometimes virtual) classrooms.

This last six months I have worked to populate the DEI page on the JEA, adding a new resource each month with Kristin Taylor. These resources have included lesson plans, video guides, interviews with female former students and podcast recommendations. Going forward, I’m hoping to look ableism and including special education students into our programs. I’m hopeful that we can make positive changes in the ways JEA can help teachers face equity issues in their schools and on their staffs. 

I was also able to participate in the development of a nation-wide Praxis test for Journalism licensing. I was excited for this opportunity because many journalism teachers have no way to prove to the state that they are qualified or must pass an English or Art Praxis to get their teaching license. This pathway will allow journalism majors to concentrate and specialize specifically in our content area. If your state uses the Praxis test, the journalism test should be live and available in the next year.

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

Since the last report, I’ve been digging deeper into board and personal goals for leadership. I’ve been learning about and seeking to understand further the short-term and long-term challenges the pandemic has created for both advisers and the JEA organization.

Activities have included the following:

  • Joining the SPRC and continuing to support local advisers and students facing press rights challenges.
  • Facilitating a virtual workshop for a previous Partner Project applicant school designed specifically to cater to the program’s particular needs. I would like to run more of these workshops in the coming months. Like the Partner Project, these events are designed to bridge a training access gap. Please reach out to me if there is a program in your state that would benefit from this kind of outreach.

Even if the next school year begins to more closely resemble a typical school year, scars will remain and advisers will likely be faced with hurdles they didn’t anticipate. Staff training needs will likely be greater. School budgets will be stretched. Access to in-person workshops and conventions may be more limited than before. JEA will need to be ready to respond with solutions that meet advisers where they are.

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

As I begin to approach my first full year on the board, I am able to reflect on how far we have come; from budget concerns to virtual convention models, from discussions of really hard topics on race and equality to the incredible support we have for our members. Over the past few months I have been working to organize website welcome videos for new members and build a list of ideas for future videos to help our members better navigate JEA.org. Look for the first video in the coming weeks!

I had the opportunity to attend a virtual DEI conference via Kansas State University called “Beyond Envisioning Equity: Situating Teacher of Color Voices.” All speakers were Black, Indiginous and People of Color (BIPOC) and presented insights into the need for teachers of color in all schools, not just for the students who look like them, but for the culturally relevant content knowledge and experience they retain to inform all students and faculty members in order to teach students to be culturally-aware and actively antiracist.

It is our job as a board to think about what we can do to help advisers of color stay in the profession and succeed. We know that the representation of BIPOC teachers is imperative and that they are not a majority in our profession or our organization. I look forward to continuing my work with the board on DEI initiatives and working for a JEA that is full of culture and diversity.

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 spring announcement season, honoring an outstanding list of scholastic journalism advisers and supporters. 

We began our awards announcements Jan. 15, naming Mitchell Ziegler, CJE, yearbook adviser at Redondo Union High School, the 2020 H.L. Hall National Yearbook Adviser of the Year. With the help of three of Ziegler’s editors in chief, we successfully surprised Ziegler during his yearbook class, where students (past and present) and friends were able to join in the celebration.

During the last week of January, we announced winners of the Future Administrator Scholarship (Mark Hilburn, MJE), the Diversity Award (Teresa Scribner, CJE), Lifetime Achievement Award (Pam Bunka, Jack Denker, Lori Oglesbee-Petter), and the Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award (James Jordan). 

In lieu of an awards luncheon, we will be creating a pre-recorded video awards ceremony that will air in April. The video will include brief speeches from Ziegler, as well as recognition of spring award winners, First Amendment Press Freedom Award winners, and CJE/MJEs. The video ceremony will run approximately 30 minutes.

In early March, I made the decision to permanently change the Broadcast Adviser of the Year application deadline from March 15 to May 15. Judging will take place over the summer, with an announcement during the first week of September. 

I considered many factors in making this decision. By permanently moving the deadline, it allows JEA to focus on student awards in the spring. Additionally, it sets the Broadcast Adviser of the Year award apart from other awards, similar to the Oct. 15 deadline for the H.L. Hall Yearbook Adviser of the Year.

I plan to kick promotions into high gear in the next two weeks, but if you know of any deserving broadcast advisers, please encourage them to apply. 

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

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

Laura Negri, CJE
Career and Technical Education Committee
Alief Kerr High School
8150 Howell Sugar Land Rd.
Houston TX 77083


  • Curate resources for membership on CTE publications programs. The survey conducted by JEA in 2020 indicated many members would like more information on Career and Technical Education programs, how they might become CTE certified, advantages to their programs, etc. This presents considerable challenges because CTE functions differently from state to state in everything from course names to teacher certification. 

Action steps: 

  • Prepared information on certification requirements in more states to be added to the information already on the JEA website (in progress)
  • Collect state contacts to be used by the committee for advice and feedback on information to be posted or emailed to the membership (in progress).
  • Identify other revisions that need to be made to the CTE guide on the website (in progress).
  • Identify programs in different states that could be profiled on the JEA website (in the members only area) as guides or inspiration for aspiring CTE advisers.
  • Identify other organizations that support CTE journalism programs (such as PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)
  • Increase awareness and support for CTE teachers through networking. The committee conducted a CTE happy hour in the fall. This should be a regularly scheduled event. For now, Zoom seems the best medium; in the long term, meetings could take place as meetups at the conventions and/or on another video conferencing platform. 

Action steps: 

  • Conduct quarterly CTE happy hours.
    • April/May — What’s Next? Planning for 2021-22
    • August — What’s New? Starting off the school year
    • October — How’s It Going? Check in on the year so far
    • January — Lessons Learned: How last year has changed this year’s experience.
  • Identify other ways to connect CTE advisers in JEA (adding an asterisk next to names in the directory listings, for example).
  • Promote certification exams. Prior to the next face-to-face convention, we need to assess the mobile lab and encourage participation in the certification exams. The committee and the state contacts can help identify other tests we should consider offering, based on their states’ standards.

Action steps: 

  • Assess the mobile lab and identify repairs, replacements and upgrades that are necessary before it can be used.
  • Identify a proctor able to monitor testing.
  • Promote the tests 30+ days before convention registration opens using JEA social media and listserv. I think the testimonials used in the past were a good idea.

For the Board: I have been slow getting started — this term has been the most challenging for me yet — but I feel I am on the right track. My greatest need is connections; the state contact list is started, but by no means done. (Just to differentiate from the committee: the contact list is intended to be people I can ask to review info about their state before I post it; for example, some publications operate in Florida under the Business cluster, while in Texas it is more commonly Arts and A/V, and I would clear that with my Florida contact and my Texas contact before posting it.)

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

Membership: The committee currently consists of seven members in addition to the chair: Jane Blystone, MJE; Candace Bowen, MJE; Sandra Coyer, MJE; Mark Hilburn, MJE; RJ Morgan, MJE; Andrea Negri, MJE; and Rod Satterthwaite, MJE. Brian Hayes, MJE resigned from the committee, which leaves a spot to be filled this spring. 

Goals: With several new members, our goal for the year is to calibrate the scoring of the written responses for CJE and MJE tests. CJE and MJE email badges are in the works. 

Happenings: The committee wrote a new question for the MJE test and made some revisions to the CJE test questions. All of the questions were moved from Canvas to Moodle. Moodle is set to be used for online testing in March. We are set to test 20 applicants. 

The committee members updated the Get Certified presentations that were on the JEA website. Sandra Coyer, MJE, added a new Broadcast presentation. These will be used at future conventions to prepare applicants for certification. 

Clarifications have been made on the renewal activities to better reflect the need for advisers to have a variety of activities. In addition, the application forms were clarified to emphasize the need for advisers to connect the renewal activities with professional development. The renewal activities are designed to encourage advisers to be involved in national, state and local organizations as well as to improve themselves as educators. 

Since the fall, 14 new CJEs and two new MJEs have been approved. In addition, 44 CJEs and 13 MJEs were renewed by the Feb. 1 deadline.

For the Board: I need state directors and board members to emphasize the importance of renewal activities. I’ve had a lot of pushback from MJEs who don’t feel that they have to renew or are upset when they clearly don’t meet the requirements. I want to emphasize the professional aspect of certification and that the activities are meant to make us better educators not to simply check a box. The requirement that advisers complete a variety of activities is reasonable given that applicants have five years to complete them.

Nancy Smith, MJE
Contest Committee
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, National Quiz Bowl Coordinator and Jr. High/Middle School National Media Contest Coordinator
Mark Murray / mmurray@atpi.org, Technology

Goals Summer 2021:

  1. If I am able to get to Manhattan, I want to meet with Asst. Director Lindsay Porter to go through all of the contest programs and talk through the on-site contest processes. In addition, I hope to get training to allow me to make changes to the contest pages on jea.org in the future to save the headquarters staff some work.
  2. Sarah Nichols and I talked about creating Teacher ToolKit resource pages to accompany the National Student Media Contests. They would provide a set of key concepts related to the contest with links to information and samples for students to help prepare them to compete. It would be a great way to tie the JEA Curriculum material to the NSMC. I don’t think I can get the ToolKits completed over the summer, but I would like to create an outline or plan for them for others to use possibly for MJE projects etc.
  3. We had a member talking about creating an informational brochure/handbook for local contest speakers for an MJE project. Hopefully when conventions resume in person, we can get this completed. If she is no longer going to do the project, that will be something else that I will put together when possible.


  1. National Student Media Contests We had 641 students compete this fall in a virtual format. We provided contestants with online critiques as well as a video “critique” session. We provided our critics and judges with $20 gift cards as a thank you for their time and expertise in lieu of being able to comp convention registration or provide a dinner event. We are hoping for larger numbers of contestants this spring now that more schools are in session and advisers have a bit more time to plan with their students.
  2. National Journalism Quiz Bowl This will be on hold until our convention can be held in person.
  3. Jr. High/Middle School Contest We did cancel the Spring 2020 contest, but will hold the Spring 2021 contest and Jr. High/Middle School Contest Chair Allie Staub has started promoting that and the contest revisions that were made once the Fall NHSJC was over. The new contest descriptions are all on the jea.org website and can be read here.

Upcoming JEA Contest Deadlines (*Tentative)

Spring 2021 Jr. High/Middle School National Media Contest

Registration Opens April 1 (noon Central)

Materials Due April 19 (6 p.m. Central) Judging finished May / Winners announced early May 

*Fall 2021 Philadelphia (Nov. 11-14)

NSMC Registration Opens / Prompts Available: Monday, Sept. 13

NSMC Registration Closes/Online Submissions Due: Monday, Oct. 18

For The Board: The contest team is always appreciative to all the board members who serve as judges and even more important who continue to spread the word and help us recruit judges. We do need more help in getting new members involved both as judges and also entering their students in contests.

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

Membership: Aaron Manfull, MJE, (chair), Albert Dupont, Amanda Bright, MJE,  Andrew Chambers, CJE,  Christina Geabhart, MJE,  Fred Haas, Jonathan Rogers, MJE,  Jerred Zegelis, Jim McCarthy, Julie Tiedens, Kathryn Campbell, CJE, Matthew Schott, CJE, Megan Ortiz, CJE, Michael Reeves, MJE, Michelle Balmeo, MJE, Sarah Nichols, MJE, Tracy Anderson and Travis Armknecht, CJE.

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 12 years of existence (March 2009 launch), we had more than 1,520 posts published (roughly three per week), 952,787 visits, and 1,606,585 pageviews. Seven 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. Four committee members are considered contributors for posting at least three times over the past 6 months or because they work with other parts of the site. They are:


  • Aaron Manfull – 28 posts
  • Tracy Anderson – 10 posts
  • Fred Haas – 9 posts
  • Michelle Balmeo – 3 posts

Also contributing to the site during the time period was: Sarah Nichols, Jonathan Rogers and Spencer O’Daniel.

While some of the wording is cut off on the following charts, the graphs move from the least recent 6-month period on top to the most recent 6-month period, on the bottom.

Below are the most clicked posts/pages from the last 6 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. 

The team is still working to update guides, expand guide offerings and maintain weekly posting schedules. In the past six months we have added a guide to Adobe programs as well as podcasting

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. Currently, there is one advertiser utilizing the summer camp space. 

We will discuss our goals this spring, 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 4) Work to 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

Goals: The deadline for this report falls at an awkward time, just a few days before JEA Journalist of the Year portfolios are due and judging commences so we can celebrate our 2021 winners April 10. So, my top goal right now is to ensure state winners are submitting the best work possible. I am aiming for similar results from prospective Aspiring Young Journalists as their deadline is also March 15. 

With that in mind, let’s jump into Happenings and then I’ll revisit Goals after I provide members with some sufficient context.

Happenings: Last fall, we updated the JEA Journalist of the Year scoring rubric, and then charted a course to communicate this and other changes to prospective applicants, state directors, advisers and other stakeholders. Those communication efforts included:

  • A Journalist of the Year overview session at the Fall 2020 National High School Journalism Convention, a session that now resides on the Journalist of the Year web page.
  • A live Q-and-A session at the fall 2020 convention that followed the debut of the pre-recorded overview session.
  • Five Zoom-in events that each took a closer look at a specific portion of the rubric. All have been added to our website.
    • Broadcast Journalism (Jan. 19, 2021)
    • Commitment to Diversity (Dec. 15, 2020)
    • Editing, Leadership and Team Building (Jan. 12, 2021) 
    • Law, Ethics and News Literacy (Jan. 26, 2021)
    • Personal Narratives (Jan. 5, 2021)

It has been fulfilling to see familiar names from these Tuesday night gatherings revealed as state winners in recent days.

  • A special Zoom-in March 7 for state Journalists of the Year to walk them through the application process and answer any additional questions
  • Outreach about deadlines, rubrics and these events on social media and the JEA Listserv, with major thanks to JEA Assistant Director Lindsay Porter for coordinating this work.

Another significant accomplishment this season, completed with the assistance of the fabulous Erinn Harris, MJE, was the migration of the application and judging process for Journalist of the Year and Aspiring Young Journalist to JEA’s account on Submittable.com. So far, so good.

Goals, Part 2:

  • One of my primary goals entering this role was to increase the number of state winners, and it does appear we are on track to see an increase this year despite COVID, working from home and more. State directors have confirmed 27 winners and reported another nine contests in the final stages of judging. That’s 36 winners from 52 qualifying contests (50 states, D.C. and international). My goal remains to have a “full deck of cards,” if you will, with 52 winners competing for the JEA Journalist of the Year award. Maybe this wasn’t the best year to expect that, but it remains the goal. 
  • While states have autonomy in their contests, many of them do build theirs based on the JEA expectations, and I will continue promoting our rubric and common language. One example that comes to mind is our shift this year from calling what was forever known as the “self-analytical essay” to a “personal narrative.” The “self-analytical” label endured in many states.
  • We made a goal to also increase our participation level in the Aspiring Young Journalist award, from the four entries received in 2020. That deadline is March 15 and we will see. We did make direct communication with our middle school advisers a priority, and we will soon see if that yielded some growth.
  • Looking ahead to 2022, I’m working with our board to discuss an expansion of the program, which I will discuss in the “for the board” section below.
  • I intend to record Zoom-ins for the remaining areas of the rubric during the 2022 contest cycle so we will have a specialized training for each area available to prospective applicants. 

Awards/Honors: I’d like to use this space to list all of the contributors who provided content for our introductory session and/or participated as a panelist in our Zoom-in. 

  • Louisa Avery, MJE, adviser in London, England
  • Renee Burke, MJE, Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools
  • Ava Butzu, Michigan adviser
  • P.J. Cabrera, CJE, Texas adviser
  • Adriana Chavira, MJE, California adviser
  • Roy Peter Clark, The Poynter Institute
  • Elizabeth Cyr, Michigan adviser
  • Omar Delgado, Florida adviser
  • Eric Fang, 2020 California Journalist of the Year (JEA runner-up)
  • Susan Gregory, MJE, former Pennsylvania adviser
  • Karl Grubaugh, retired California adviser
  • Claire Guo, Harvard University, 2020 Journalist of the Year runner-up
  • Hadar Harris, executive director of the Student Press Law Center
  • Marta Hill, 2020 Minnesota Journalist of the Year (JEA runner-up)
  • Emily Hood, University of Missouri, 2020 JEA Journalist of the Year
  • Christina Insua, Florida adviser
  • Lori Keekley, MJE, Minnesota adviser
  • Valerie Kibler, MJE, Virginia adviser and JEA vice president
  • Anna Mullins, 2020 Ohio Journalist of the Year (JEA runner-up)
  • Sarah Nichols, MJE, California adviser and JEA president
  • Kevin Patterson, CJE, Florida adviser
  • Jonathan Rogers, MJE, Iowa adviser
  • Kristin Taylor, MJE, California adviser and JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights director
  • Sarah Verpooten, MJE, Indiana adviser and JEA board member

Further, I’d also like to thank state directors and/or state association leaders for their work on state journalist of the year competitions. 

For the Board:

  • My preliminary budget request for 2021-22 seeks board approval to increase our runner-up prize to $1,000 (from $850) and also to grow from three runners-up to four. I am hopeful this request, which was received favorably, is ultimately approved. 
  • The increased financial commitment also has prompted discussion of sponsorship opportunities for the Journalist of the Year award, with work on that to come in late spring and into summer, and assistance requested from any and all with a knack for fundraising.
  • I am asking the board to consider providing free convention registration to our Aspiring Young Journalists throughout their high school career, in hopes of them bringing new high school programs in the JEA family.
  • I respectfully seek advice on how to grow the JOY program in states that attract low to no interest. A few state directors without submissions seem eager to do that but others fail to even return multiple emails seeking basic information.

Jane Blystone, MJE
Mentoring Committee

Membership: We currently have 56 active trained mentors and 146 mentees.

Goals: Our goals for this year include training more mentors and getting mentees paired with trained mentors.

Happenings: Working through a pandemic was never on the radar of mentors or mentees a year ago. However, 56 JEA trained mentors and 146 mentees from 20 states and Guatemala have survived that uncertain waters of advising in a virtual world. 

Some of the fall successes of mentees included: improving staff management, publishing content virtually, improving students journalism skills, submitting to journalism contests, completing adviser professional and personal development and retaining publications that were on the verge of disappearing. In addition, one mentee was published in the most recent issue of C:JET and several mentees are in the process of completing Certified Journalism Educator (CJE) certification through JEA.

Although yearbooks are the most common publication advised by mentees, online platforms increased among mentees. Convergent media programs are emerging as schools have put the advising of multiple media outlets under the supervision of one adviser. Working with mentors, these new teachers are finding ways to manage hybrid teaching and survive advising. 

Maintaining stability of programs during a pandemic required advisers to adapt to remote learning as they helped staffs negotiate the publishing process virtually. Creativity ruled as advisers found ways to do this even when their access to their computer labs or publishing software such as Adobe Creative Suite were not available to them.

The mentoring committee is working to get mentors trained as we have more requests for mentors than we have trained mentors. If you have earned CJE certification and would like to consider mentoring a new adviser, click here to join Participate and complete the online training program. Contact mentoring@jea.org with any questions.

The two-year mentoring program is supported through JEA funding and Yellow Chair Foundation grants. Although we were not able to host any second-year mentees at a live national convention this past year, the plan is to get second-year mentees still enrolled in the program to the Philadelphia convention in November of 2021.

The mentor program is free to mentees who will receive free membership in JEA during the two years in the program. If you are a new adviser and want a mentor, contact the program director at mentoring@jea.org to begin the process. Note that mentors are assigned by semester. 

During spring semester, the mentoring committee sadly bid farewell to chair Julia Satterthwaite, MJE, as she has moved on to other journalism endeavors. She is the developer of the JEA Mentor Training program through Participate that has assisted the committee in training more mentors more frequently in a virtual environment. Her impact will continue to be felt as new mentors complete training and begin advising new mentees. We have also added new committee member Val Kibler, MJE, to our team.

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

Scholastic Journalism Week was Feb. 21 – 27. The committee created seven lessons for advisers to use with their students throughout the week. In order to feature schools that rarely get national attention, the committee decided to create a Feature Schools option. During the week, the SJW Twitter featured 36 schools. Each school was sent a certificate which celebrated their school being featured and continuing to produce excellent journalism. A big shout out to the committee: Louisa Avery, MJE, Phillip Caston, Adriana Chavira, MJE, Jordyn Kiel, CJE, Julie Kuo, CJE, and Shanon Woolf.

The committee will begin planning for Scholastic Journalism Week 2022 this summer. SJW is typically scheduled for the last full week of February (Feb. 20 – 26, 2022). The Feature School component was a huge success. I suggest we move away from the Logo and Advertisement Contest and create one universal logo to use for branding that can be used for all Scholastic Journalism Week materials. I suggest we create a student-produced Poster Contest. Those can turn into collectible posters and could be sent to JEA members.

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


Delays: For the first time in 23 years, we had significant issues that caused me to miss my deadlines. We had problems with advertising, including bad file types, ads that missed deadline, and ads with errors, and miscommunications with the printer. But we have taken steps to improve communication so we don’t have these problems in the future. The goal is to have 80% of the magazines in the hands of members at the start of the convention in the fall (winter issue) and spring (summer issue). This issue, that’s April 10, 2021.

New Workflow: Our workflow with two new staff members (Beth Butler and Cindy Horchem) is working efficiently. I’d love to give a special shout-out to both of them for their timeline editing and attention to detail.

Communication: Kelly Glasscock and I met March 5 for a 90-minute Zoom meeting. We agreed that our No. 1 goal was two-way communication. Then we discussed the goals below and set timelines for completion.

Conclusion: Let’s stick to the things we’re good at: editorial (print, online and social media): Bradley; advertising (print, online and social media): JEA national office staff. Deadlines will be set by the editor in conjunction with national office staff.

Rate card for 2021-2022: Next year’s rate card will be distributed to Board members by editor on or before April 10 as we have done for several decades now.


  • Cover photo — Katlyn Dickey, Sparkman High School (Harvest, Alabama); Erin Coggins, adviser
  • 2020: A year we won’t forget — Classrooms all over the country have evolved. From going totally online to working in hybrid mode to working with students face-to-face, teachers, too, have evolved. All the while, student media operations find new ways to cover the students at their school. Contributions by Louisa Avery, Cherie Burgett, Kathleen Calder, Kyle Carter, Maggie Cogar, Cary Conover, Jackie Davis, Mary Kay Downes, Linda Drake, Kristen Hunter Flores, David Alan Foster, Kelly Huddleston, Warren Kent, Val Kibler, Erica Kincannon, Debra Klevens, Tiffany Kopcak, Alicia Merrifield, Andrea Negri, Sarah Sherman, Stacy Short, Nicole Brewington Smith, April van Buren, Cathy Wall, Jennie Wilson, Mitch Ziegler
  • Local Politics — From school boards to the statehouse, coverage of local politics provides so many opportunities for student journalists. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE
  • Keeping Up — Making surnames plural is generally as simple as adding an s or an es.
  • 40 photos, 55 days — Students turn in 10 photos per week for four weeks. This story includes a grading rubric and some workflow ideas. | By Josh Clements, CJE
  • Yellow and Gray — Pantone chose a pairing of yellow and gray as the colors of the year.
  • Words of the Year — From pandemic to lockdown to the coronavirus, various dictionaries released a word of the year for 2020, a crazy year. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE
  • Multimedia Packages — Julia Satterthwaite, MJE, discussed planning multimedia packages at last summer’s Advisers Institute. By Michael Ellson and Travis Armknecht, CJE


  • A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Kansas State University
  • ArchiveInABox
  • BetterBNC
  • Columbia Scholastic Press Association
  • Journalism Education Association
  • Kent State University
  • MediaNow
  • Newseum Institute / Freedom Forum
  • School Paper Express
  • University of Kansas, School of Journalism


  • Cover photo — Peyton Sims, Texas High School (Texarkana); Clint Smith, adviser
  • Editing —For advisers and student leaders, deciding who should do what and when is a delicate balance. Megan Fromm suggests that advisers work to ease the editing burden by setting editing goals and coaching their staff. | By Trisa Dyer 
  • Editing —Shari Adwers, MJE, recommends that advisers turn their staffs into editing machines. | By Laura Negri, CJE
  • Editing —The Associated Press Stylebook issues hundreds of updates each year. Includes two ready-to-use exercises.
  • Storytelling — Social media is no longer an option, an extra. It’s just as important as other media, if not more so, according to Sarah Nichols, MJE. | By Louisa Avery, MJE
  • Playing with Light — Four characteristics — quantity, quality, direction and color — describe all light, according to Mark Murray. | By Emily Jorgensen
  • Writing Captions — Photo captions are the most-read body type in a publication. Good captions tell stories. View some of the winning entries in the Quill & Scroll caption writing contest. | By Bradley Wilson, MJE
  • Steps to Autonomy — Extracurricular advisers face unique challenges in fostering autonomy. As part of her master’s degree program at Kent State, Coppens created a website to serve as a resource for such advisers. | By Lindsay Coppens


  • A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Kansas State University
  • ArchiveInABox
  • Association of Texas Photography Instructors
  • Balfour Yearbooks
  • BetterBNC
  • Columbia Scholastic Press Association
  • Five Towns College
  • Indiana University – Journalism Institute
  • Iowa Summer Journalism Workshops
  • Jostens, Inc.
  • Journalism Education Association
  • Kent State University
  • KU – Jayhawk Media Workshop
  • MediaNow
  • NSPA – Gloria Shields Workshop
  • School Paper Express
  • UF Summer Media Institute
  • University of Kansas, School of Journalism

Advertising declining. For the last three years, we have seen a decline in advertising. Several of our goals are related to increasing the overall advertising, including advertising for C:JET

  1. 2020-2021 $11,363 (84% of prior year)
  2. 2019-2020 $13,549 (91% of prior year)
  3. 2018-2019 $14,926 (93% of prior year)
  4. 2017-2018 $16,058 (107% of prior year)
  5. 2016-2017 $14,999 (103% of prior year)
  6. 2015-2016 $14,583 (93% of prior year)
  7. 2013-2014 $15,701 (105% of prior year)
  8. 2012-2013 $15,023 (74% of prior year)


  • ARTICLE DATABASE — Use Howard Spanogle’s donation of $2,000 to develop a database of past C:JET articles starting in spring 1998 that includes all information needed for a proper citation: author last, author first, author 2 last, author 2 first, article title, publication title, publication volume, publication issue, publication date, publication city, publication state, keywords (five), URL to PDF. Timeline: Spring 2021 = creation. Timeline: Spring 2021, summer 2021 = data input by college students paid from Howard’s donation (Bradley)
  • DATABASE ONLINE — Put this database online with all fields being searchable in a public place for anyone to access. Timeline: Fall 2021 (Bradley / national office staff)
  • PDF LINKS —  Create PDF files of all individual articles since spring 1998 that includes a copyright page as a cover sheet. The copyright page also includes proper citation as exported from database above. PDF files would be protected so that users could not copy content from them but that they could be printed in high-res format. Timeline: Fall 2021, spring 2022; merge, PDF creation by college students paid for by Howard’s donation (Bradley)
  • PDFs ONLINE — PDFs would be put online in members-only area. Direct URL to the PDF would be accessible from the database. JEA members could download PDF files and print them. PDF files, as indicated above, saying that these PDF files could not be posted online (except as part of an online class management system to which only enrolled students had access), etc. TBD: PDFs need to be downloadable and printable; simple links? Timeline: Summer 2021 completion (national office staff)
  • ADVERTISING PACKAGE DEAL — JEA would have one rate card with package deals for advertisers including all advertising over which JEA has purview including but not limited to:
  • C:JET magazine
  • JEA.org/wp
  • JEAdigitalmedia.org

Advertisers would be offered package deals for buying more than one ad, more than one ad in a medium, etc. Timeline: 2021-2022 (Bradley production with deadlines set by editor and national office staff at the April 10 Board meeting as normal); 2022-2023 (national office staff production with deadlines set by editor and national office staff)

  • C:JET ON SOCIAL MEDIA – National office staff will schedule social media mentions for each advertiser at minimal cost to JEA and value added to advertiser. Over the year, whether this is value added (no cost to advertiser) or an added value (with a cost to advertiser) will be determined as part of the previous goal and included on the 2022-2023 rate card as part of the advertising package deal. Bradley will continue providing social media plugs for authors and editorial content hopefully with retweets by @nationaljea.
  • C:JET ON JEA.ORG/WP — Reduce to three pages: opening, editorial submissions, advertising submissions. Timeline: Summer 2021 (Bradley)
  • C:JET ONLINE SUPPLEMENT — Content related to each issue will be tied to online presence for that issue in the members-only area maintained by national office staff including a list of advertisers with appropriate hyperlinks. Additional editorial content will be moved to JEA Digital Media where C:JET staff will provide content and upload. 

For the Board

Bullet List of Goals:

  • Database of past C:JET articles. Timeline: Spring 2021 = creation. Timeline: Spring 2021, summer 2021 = data input by college students paid from Howard’s donation (Bradley)
  • Database of articles online. Timeline: Fall 2021 (Bradley / national office staff*)
  • Create PDF files of all individual articles since spring 1998. Timeline: fall 2021, spring 2022; merge, PDF creation by college students paid for by Howard’s donation (Bradley)
  • Put PDFs online in members-only area. Timeline: summer 2021 completion (national office staff*)
  • Advertising package deal. Timeline: 2021-2022 (Bradley production with deadlines set by editor and national office staff); 2022-2023 (national office staff production* with deadlines set by editor and national office staff)
  • C:JET advertisers on Twitter @nationalJEA by national office staff through summer 2022. Bradley will provide editorial plugs.
  • C:JET presence on jea.org/wp reduced to three pages: opening, editorial submissions, advertising submissions. Timeline: Summer 2021 (Bradley)
  • Content related to each issue will be tied to online presence for that issue in members-only area maintained by national office.* Additional editorial content will be moved to JEA Digital Media where C:JET staff will provide content and upload.Timeline: 2021-2022.

* Has actual cost to JEA in terms of time and resources of national office staff.

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

Membership: There are 23 international members.

Awards/Honors: We more than doubled the number of international entries in the Journalist of the Year competition, with this year’s winning international portfolio coming from Emily Forgash of the American School in London (Louisa Avery, MJE, adviser).

For the board: The increase in our foreign Journalist of the Year entries has exposed a few question marks for the board (or appointees) to consider with regard to how international students are welcomed into the competition.

First, the two-year minimum of student media experience is certainly a U.S.-centric situation where high school students have space in their academic schedules and program sizes that can often accommodate a two-year commitment. Abroad, we are seeing a lot of students who are exercising their journalistic skills outside the classroom — and outside the school — through their own publishing platforms or even professional media.

Second, the Journalist of the Year FAQ page notes that “high school seniors studying in American international schools” are eligible for the competition, which implies limitations for students at other foreign schools.

Finally, if international entries continue to grow, the board might wish to consider how such entries are comparable (or not) to “state winners” being moved along to the finalist round. In other words, should each country’s winner be submitted to compete against state winners, or should a single international entry represent all non-U.S. students?

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

Membership: There are currently 17 members in Alabama. 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. Normally, JEA partners with National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) to offer conventions featuring extensive training to advisers and students twice a year. JEA has certification for teachers and awards for teachers and students.

Happenings: Alabama Scholastic Press Association and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association coordinate their conferences. Check out ASPA events here. ASPA is also on Facebook and Twitter. Find SIPA events online. SIPA convention is in early March. This year the convention was virtual. Alabama provides mentoring for new advisers.

Upcoming ASPA events: 

April 1 deadline for Multicultural Journalism Workshop (TBA based on pandemic)

TBA The University of Alabama’s annual Multicultural Journalism Workshop.

TBA The Long Weekend summer camp on the University of Alabama campus.

ASPA Fall Regional Workshops are

  • Sept. 22, 2021 Mobile ASPA workshop, Place TBA
  • Sept. 22, 2021 Tuscaloosa ASPA workshop, The University of Alabama campus
  • Sept. 24, 2021 Huntsville ASPA workshop, Place TBA

Dec. 17, 2021 deadline for ASPA critiques

Jan. 7, 2021 Senior Awards deadline

Feb. 2022 ASPA State Convention at the Ferguson Student Center

Highlights: ASPA’s 2021 virtual state convention had 356 participants and 262 awards were given.

Troy University normally hosts J-Day in the fall.

Awards and honors:

Madison Duboise from Sparkman High School won Alabama’s Journalist of the Year, the Rick Bragg Award for Feature Writing, and the J. B. Stevenson Scholarship. Grace Moore from Sparkman High School won the Bailey Thompson Award for Editorial Writing. Sarah Chase from Sparkman High School won the Alex House Award for Journalism Sustainability

Brad Lewis from Thompson High School won Broadcast Journalist of the Year given by the Broadcasters Association.

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

Membership: Alaska currently has five members, up two from last spring!

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

Membership: There are currently 36 members in Arizona. This is an approximate decrease of 22%. The decrease can potentially be attributed to a lag in the renewal process. The Arizona Interscholastic Press Association would like to review the JEA membership list so it can be cross referenced with membership in AIPA. The goal is to have more involvement at both the state and national level. 

Events/Happenings: The election of AIPA officers for the 2021-2022 school year will take place in April 2021. Officer positions open are: 

  • President
  • Treasurer 
  • Fall Convention Coordinator
  • Summer Workshop Director
  • Members-at-Large (2) 

These positions are staggered two-year terms to keep continuity on the board. AIPA will be seeking nominations for the positions of Vice President, Recording Secretary, Communications Director, In-Service Coordinator, and three Members-at-Large in the Spring of 2022.

The Spring Adviser Reception is currently on hold due to COVID-19 recommendations by the CDC for large gatherings. We are considering a virtual happy hour much like we did in May 2020. 

The AIPA Summer Workshop and Fall Convention is currently on hold due to COVID-19 recommendations by the CDC for large gatherings. At this time, AIPA does not have the resources to hold a virtual workshop.

Awards/Honors/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, Arizona for their continued support of scholastic journalism in Arizona. 
For the Board: Could AIPA please get a detailed JEA membership list for the state of Arizona? 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: There are currently 47 members in Arkansas. That is a 7-member increase from when I typed this report in the fall. According to the data provided by Val, we had 47 in the fall, so those seven must have joined in the fall but after my last report.  

Major Developments: Given COVID, things have been a little slower than normal. Second semester I hosted a Zoom-in for any advisers or potential JOY contestants.  

I will be participating in a virtual conference through George Mason University’s Washington Journalism and Media Conference around spring break.

Arkansas State Press Association News: Like JEA, ASPA is moving our spring convention virtual. I’ll announce (virtually) our journalist of the year winner.   

Goals: Truthfully, with COVID and starting a brand new program from scratch at a brand new school, my goals are pretty modest. I hope to craft a series of newsletters for Arkansas JEA members. I’ve had this goal in the past, but it is hard to keep up with in the thick of the school year. This summer I’m going to try to prewrite a few newsletters and link to existing resources and leave a “current events” section so there’s less to update in the thick of school before I send them out. I’m hoping this helps me increase my frequency.  

For the Board: While HUGE work needs to continue in promoting New Voices legislation, many states already have protections and administrators violate those protections because they’re either unaware of the law or think no one is paying attention. I would LOVE for JEA to form a committee to reach out to administrator organizations to help them understand the law. A law no one knows about isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. JEA can do a lot to help make administrators know there’s more to scholastic press law than the Hazelwood blurb in their admin textbooks.  

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: There are currently 250 members in California. There are two major regional branches – JEANC (Northern California) and SCJEA (Southern California). 

JEANC continues to offer critique services and training services to member schools. 

The JEANC web site offers remote teaching and learning resources. 

The annual SCJEA Student Media contests drew 247 students from 27 schools to virtually compete in nine categories March 13. 

This year, the number of applicants doubled for our senior scholarship. We received 34 applications for four scholarships, totaling $2,000.

Being in distance learning didn’t stop Southern California schools from entering SCJEA’s California All-Stars Contest.  Fourteen news websites, nine newspapers/news magazines, three yearbooks and two broadcast programs entered. Winners are being announced March 19. 

Five Schools received the JEA First Amendment Press Freedom Award:

  • The Archer School for Girls, Los Angeles
  • Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, San Francisco
  • Monta Vista High School, Cupertino
  • Stuart Hall High School, San Francisco
  • Whitney High School, Rocklin

Anna Vazhaeparambil from The Harker School (Ellen Austin, CJE, adviser) was named California Student Journalist of the Year and will represent California in the national JEA JOY competition. Since Anna is from a school whose adviser is a JEANC member, Anna also wins the $500 top prize in JEANC’s Arnetta Garcin Memorial Scholarship. Second place winner in the Arnetta Garcin Memorial Scholarship is Avery Hanna from Palo Alto High School (Paul Kandell, MJE,  adviser). Avery will receive $300 from JEANC. Third place winner is Oishee Misra from Monta Vista High School in Cupertino (Julia Satterthwaite, MJE, adviser). She will receive $200 from JEANC.

Itzel Lu, Daniel Pearl Magnet (Adriana Chavira, MJE, adviser) is the SCJEA Journalist of the Year

CPSA named 33 publications from California as Crown Finalists. NSPA awarded eight publications as Pacemaker winners at the Fall Convention in November and has named seven California yearbooks as Pacemaker finalists

Jim Jordan, formerly from Del Campo High School, Fair Oaks, received the Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award.

Mitch Ziegler, CJE,  Redondo Union High School, Redondo Beach, received the H.L. Hall Yearbook Adviser of the Year Award. 


  • Continue to promote JOY competition in Southern California. As a JOY judge, I intend to provide guidance to schools and students with my insights about the competition. I recently met with the California JOY winner and her adviser to advise Anna about ways to make her portfolio better for the competition. I also have planned an April or May meeting with Southern California advisers to talk about JOY. 
  • As I move into retirement from teaching, I will be working with SCJEA President Adriana Chavira to promote and help journalism programs in Los Angeles Unified.
  • I will become active in the JEA Mentor program.
  • As a longer term goal, I want to encourage collaboration between JEANC and SCJEA. 

For the Board: At present I do not know enough about my goal to ask for help. I will definitely consult with board members as I develop ideas about working with programs that need help and support. I will always welcome advice from the Board before I request specific help.

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

Membership: Colorado has 89 current members of JEA. In year’s past, we have witnessed membership increase in the spring because our individual contest deadlines are in April and publication critiques are due in June.

State Director Goals:

GOAL 1: To develop a strong social media presence for CSMA for communications and celebration purposes.

  • Action Plan
    • Create posts to recognize programs that excel in JEA, NSPA, CSPA and CSMA competitions. 
    • Create posts for various action items like build up to big events like JDAY or SAW and general information like contest due dates. 

GOAL 2: To collaborate with CSMA Board to create professional development experiences such as ReTHINK/SAW and Journalism Day to fit a hybrid model. 

  • Action Plan
    • Meet with CSMA Board members to identify different skills and align them to strands/courses that need to be taught in a hybrid model. 
    • Create marketing materials that will encourage advisers to attend these professional development experiences.

Happenings: Starting in January, CSMA began Adviser Meet-ups on Zoom to contact membership about concerns and successes felt during the pandemic. In February, PJ Cabrera visited by sharing ideas of how to celebrate students on our programs the rest of the year. 

To increase membership, CSMA was brainstorming different ways to increase membership. One way was to hold a raffle of schools that renew or have renewed CSMA and pay for their JEA Spring Convention fee. 

The CSMA Board also began the process of hosting their election for officers for the 2021-2023 term. Elected officers will be announced in May of 2021. 

Awards/Honors: Colorado’s student journalist of the year (Dorothy Greer Scholarship) is Carter Josef from Eagle Valley High School (adviser Hannah Shapiro). Runner up winner is Amelie Bauer, senior at Arvada West High School (adviser Ellie Norwood). 

Yvette Manculich, CJE, the adviser of The Prowl yearbook at Powell Middle School, was named the JEA H.L. Hall Distinguished Yearbook Adviser of the Year. Her program was highlighted by her district in this article.

During National News Literacy Week, this segment from our local news featured CSMA Vice President Kristi Rathbun, MJE and her student journalists from Rock Canyon High School. Kristi was also honored with the NSPA Pioneer Award in November. 

We have eight Colorado yearbook programs nominated for Columbia Scholastic Press Association Crowns. See the list of them here. 

Brighton High School earned the First Amendment Press Freedom Award for the first time. The journalism programs include the Brightonian Media (adviser Kathy Gustad) and Reflections Yearbook (adviser Justin Daigle, CJE).

National Scholastic Press Association Honors: Colorado placed in 17 categories in the Individual Awards competition. Two news magazines were named Pacemaker Finalists in November. 

For the Board: House Bill 1357 (read about it here) presented by state Rep. Lisa Cutter and co-sponsored by state Rep. Barbara McLachlan, was being introduced in a legislative session. The bill would create an online resource bank of materials on media literacy and provide technical assistance on policies and procedures to school districts that request it. 

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

Membership: There are currently 14 members in Connecticut.

Events/Happenings: For a second year, JEA Connecticut co-sponsored with CCSU its second annual High School Journalism Day on Press Freedom Day. This year’s event was virtual and attracted 108 students, their teachers and advisers. The program was underwritten by the CCSU Department of Journalism/Robert C. Vance Endowed Chair in Journalism and the CCSU Media Board.

JEA Connecticut is working on a website, expanding responsibilities to members in the state and possibly pursuing New Voices legislation.

Awards/Honors: This year we posted materials for the Connecticut JOY but did not receive any applications. The plan is to try again this coming 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: There are currently four members in Delaware.

Goals: Work to increase membership in JEA as well as the number of schools participating in Delaware Press Association contests.

Happenings: None to report

Awards: None to report at this time.For the Board: Love the new convention formats (both Fall and Spring). Hoping some virtual component can be incorporated into all future events. It would be nice for schools who can’t/don’t travel long distances. Also, hoping we can be in person (at least a little bit) for the Philly convention.

Mary Stapp
District of Columbia

Membership: There are currently seven members in Washington, D.C.

Goals: As I am just beginning this position, I’d like to

  • Establish contact with members to see what they are doing this year and their plans for next year. 
  • Find out their status (if any) regarding CJE and MJE. 
  • Talk about the JEA/NSPA fall convention in Philadelphia and inform them about JOY competition. 
  • Contact former members to see if there is any journalism happening at their schools.

Happenings: I stay connected with Maryland advisers via the Maryland D.C. Scholastic Press Association (MDCSPA). We spoke on Zoom in the fall, which got me connected with a teacher in Prince Georges County. I am now collaborating in her journalism classes at Charles H. Flowers High School. The MDCSPA plans to Zoom again in March.
For the Board:A recent tussle over an AP Stylebook Tweet made me think I should alert the Board to the preferences of people who live in D.C. We call it D.C. or the District, not Washington, as AP prefers.

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

Membership: There are currently 133 members in Florida. We promote membership through email blasts, at our regional conferences (which was one United conference this past fall), and at state convention.

Goals: To send more reminder and celebratory emails to state members. I’ve used Smore to send these bi-monthly. Ideally, I’d like to send monthly. However, hearing from numerous advisers, they already feel inundated with information, so I am going to hold until summer. I also want to continue to support new advisers. 

Happenings: The 2021 spring convention will be an all-virtual event April 22-23, appropriately themed “Outside the Box.” It will feature sessions, contests and many more offerings designed to highlight, support and celebrate how Florida scholastic publications are surviving and thriving this year. 

We had 2,200 Spring Digital Contest entries and have been rolling out the announcement of winners. 

Tampa Bay Times reporter Jeffrey Solochek understands making a yearbook during a pandemic is no easy task. Check out his story.

Awards/Honors: Congratulations to the 2021 Todd C. Smith Student Journalist of the Year: 

  • First: Catherine McCarthy, Boone High School (Orlando)
  • Second: Maggie Taylor, Hagerty High School (Oviedo)
  • Third: Anna Woodward, Robinson High School (Tampa)

Congratulations to multiple other Florida schools who have garnered awards. They can be found here.
For the Board: Advisers are interested in how to create a more diverse staff to reflect their school populations, as well as how to motivate students in these unique times.

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

Membership: Georgia has 43 active members as of March 7. I have communicated with members via email blast roughly every three weeks. Membership has been a targeted area for growth, and we’ve been able to welcome some new members this spring. Additionally, a handful of JEA mentors were recruited from the ranks of Georgia advisers.

Events: A handful of Georgia programs attended the Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s annual convention March 4-7. Students and advisers attended sessions taught by national award-winning instructors, competed in on-site competitions, and enjoyed social and networking opportunities with their peers from the Southeast.

Georgia advisers have been encouraged to register for the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention.  

The Georgia Scholastic Press Association will celebrate the best in scholastic journalism across the state during a virtual awards ceremony April 30 at 4 p.m. The presentation will be in the form of a YouTube video and will be shared on social media and on GSPA’s website.

Awards and honors:

Cedar Shoals High School, Athens, Georgia, earned the Student Press Law Center Courage in Student Journalism Award. Winners included Jackie Wright, Brittany Lopez, Stephany Gaona-Perez

Clarke Central High School, Athens, Georgia, (adviser David Ragsdale, CJE) was named a JEA Diversity Award honorable mention winner. Odyssey Media Group has also garnered multiple other awards and nominations from national associations.

Darlington School in Rome, Georgia, has earned multiple recognitions, too.

McIntosh High School, Peachtree City, Georgia, had their Legend Yearbook named a 2020 Jostens National Program of Excellence. Adviser Shannon Woolf was named a JEA Rising Star in August. 

Georgia Journalist of the Year: Georgia’s Journalist of the Year as determined by the Georgia Scholastic Press Association is Owen Donnelly from Clarke Central High School in Athens, Georgia.  

Multiple George students have also won Additional awards
For the board: As JEA continues to address issues of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in scholastic journalism, members from Georgia will be keenly interested.

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

Membership: There are currently eight members in Hawaii, three of whom are CJE. 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

Happenings: Three schools participated in the virtual Fall National High School Journalism Convention. Two of those schools participated in a virtual “lunch” to let the students connect with fellow student journalists in the state. The Hawaii Scholastic Journalism Association and JEA members have been meeting monthly to discuss curricular and policy issues related to scholastic journalism.

New Voices legislation: Hawaii New Voices House  House bill and Senate bill were assigned to committees, but did not get hearings.

Awards/Honors: Hawaii High School Journalism Awards: The Hawaii Publishers Association and the Journalism Program at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa School of Communications are working together on this contest. The awards banquet will be held virtually April 21.

Hawaii Journalist of the Year: Two schools participated this year and Savannah Rose Dagupion of Kamehameha Schools Maui won.

Goals: Have an application for at least one more award or scholarship (beyond JOY) available through JEA.For the Board: I don’t have much to say here. I do want to say that the material JEA has been putting out during this pandemic has been AWESOME. I have found it useful for my non-journalism classes, too. I am sad that we only have eight members. Hawaii has about 20 high schools with student newspapers, and many more with yearbook and broadcast programs.

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

Membership: There are currently nine members in Idaho.

Goals: My biggest goal is to be MUCH more active in my role as state director. This year has hit me hard, so I have not been able to reach out to people and provide direction and helpful guidance to new members like I would have liked to. In the future, I would definitely like to be more involved and active in my role. I would like to help develop the JEA state website, advertise the student journalist program and become a better resource to JEA members around the state. In the summer, I plan to begin posting on the website and reach out to all JEA members (and potential members) through the state to develop an open communication line with them.

Happenings: Unfortunately, we really haven’t been able to follow through on this end.

Awards/Honors: n/aFor the Board: I have just been lost as to how to reach out to programs across the state. I developed a list of all newspaper and yearbook programs in all of the high schools, but that (as you can imagine) became quite lengthy and all-consuming. Is there another way of doing this? I would really love to reach out and find new people, but the process of doing this feels quite overwhelming.

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

Membership: We currently have 134 members, down three from last year.

Goals: This spring I would like to host another JEA Zoom-in. I am hoping to increase attendance by gauging what time and date works best for everyone prior to scheduling the meeting. The IJEA board has discussed having the topic center around diversity in our newsrooms. 

Events/Happenings: IJEA chose Sam Bull from Downers Grove North High School as our Illinois Journalist of the Year. We have provided Sam with feedback to improve his portfolio by the national deadline. IJEA is currently accepting entries for the annual newspaper and digital media contest until March 22. Advisers may also nominate their students for the All-State team, which will be announced in the spring when we honor our IJOY recipient. The Illinois HIgh School Association has moved their annual sectional and state competition online in April. The Scholastic Press Association of Chicago is hosting a virtual contest, conference and award ceremony online this March. 

Awards/Honors: Click here to see a list of Illinois Award winners. In addition, we would like to recognize:

  • James A. Tidwell recipient (IJEA’s highest teaching award) – Dan Kerns, Richwood High School
  • Administrator of the Year – Eric Hurelbrink, Meridian High School
  • IJEA’s Adviser Service Award – Brad Bennewitz, Galesburg High School 

For the Board: We have received very positive feedback about the JEA anywhere access. For the future conventions, I think more guidance on how to use the videos/sessions in the classroom would be helpful. Many of us are running into new roadblocks for attending virtual conventions due to privacy concerns, missing class time (even remotely) and fundraising to cover the cost.

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

Membership: There are currently 68 members in Indiana.


  • Create structure and procedure for mentoring program implementation at the start of the 2021-2022 academic calendar
  • Revitalize publications exchange programs between schools
  • Increase membership in rural, urban schools
  • Get Indiana journalism educators authorized to teach new communications CTE pathway  
  • Find a way to hold an in-person state journalism convention


Awards & Honors:

For the Board: Indiana is pushing more and more courses into CTE pathways, but journalism instructors are not licensed to teach them. The only way for a current educator to earn CTE certification is to basically take a sabbatical from the classroom and spend months working in the area they want to teach. We need to find a path for our current journalism educators to be approved for CTE while they still lead our student media programs. And on a related note, it would be great to see some examples of journalism-rich career pathways with the intent of school corporations using them to model their own course sequencing in communications.

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

Membership: There are currently 38 members in Iowa.


  • To continue to promote the Iowa JOY contest.
  • To continue to advocate changing Iowa law to protect students who self-censor because they fear adviser retaliation.

Partnering with IHSPA helps with both of these goals. IHSPA coordinates the prize and judging for JOY. It has also encouraged advisers to write their legislators about the self-censorship bills in both the Iowa House and Senate.

Happenings: The state convention was held virtually over four nights. Advisers felt too overwhelmed to hold a virtual adviser PD day in February. The number of JOY entries holds steady at between five and eight, with seven this year.

The self-censorship bill made it out of funnel day in the Senate.

Awards and Honors: Alyce Brown of Pleasant Valley High School is the Iowa representative for the national JOY contest. Maureen Dyer is her adviser.

For the Board: At the urging of IHSPA executive director Paul Jensen, Senator Liz Mathis again submitted a revision to Iowa Code 280.22, a law that affords students strong First Amendment rights. It was signed into law by former Governor Terry Branstad in 1989 shortly after the Hazelwood ruling. In an attempt to further strengthen student press rights, SF238 would make it unlawful for school officials to retaliate against journalism advisers for students’ work that is lawful, but may ruffle feathers. This year, we were wiser and encouraged the formation of HF159 in the House to have the identical bills progressing in both the House and the Senate.

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

Membership: There are currently 108 members in Kansas. Advisers have the opportunity to pay their JEA dues along with their dues for the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. This goes a long way to maintaining a consistent number of JEA members in the state.

Goals: As the JEA State Director for Kansas, I hope to survive this year and be able to take on new projects and improve my support of JEA initiatives and projects as well as be more responsive to requests from the JEA Board. The one area in which I have been successful this year has been in keeping the KSPA Board apprised of JEA’s plans and actions and in passing information that needed to be disseminated to the Kansas JEA membership on to the KSPA executive director who posts it on the KSPA website. I am also serving on a committee that will create a packet of educational materials on student press law and will incorporate the Kansas Scholastic Publications Act video that KSPA created a couple of years ago. We plan to complete this project by the end of the summer. I will also be working with a task force looking at the restrictions placed on student photojournalists at state-sponsored athletic competitions.

In the 40+ years I have taught scholastic journalism, never has the camaraderie of fellow advisers been so important. Not only am I thankful for the friendship and support of my fellow Shawnee Mission advisers, but the number of teachers from throughout the state and the country who have reached out to check on me has made me realize the importance of simply staying in touch. Inspired by how much I appreciated these connections, I made a point of sending a brief hello out to someone every week or two. I was surprised by how often a simple “how are you doing” sent via text or email solicited a long and heart-felt response. The need for connection is real and too often devalued. There are so many lessons we each learned during this past year that will be valuable moving forward. Let’s hope that we find a way to put those lessons into action.

Happenings: Eric Thomas’ executive director’s report from Dec. 2020 pretty much sums up the big picture of scholastic journalism as well as the condition of our state organization. Thomas taught for Kansas University, worked from home for nearly a year and still managed to keep KSPA moving forward.

“The pandemic continues to provide significant challenges to our programming, engagement, and logistics. Key events like the fall conference have taken more time from KSPA staff while producing less registration and excitement from advisers – to this point. As the staff member who recruits and vets much of this content, I can say that it is of higher caliber than fall conferences that I have previously organized, from the featured speakers on down. However, stalwart programs have not participated in the numbers they suggested they would, when surveyed….Of course, the bright sides are many…. We are finding new partners during a moment when we simply must be more creative. Principle among these partners is our continuing connection to KU. Their financial support paired with strong membership numbers has helped keep our fundamental finances strong.”

It is important to underscore his note about the support of the University of Kansas. They absorbed university invoices during the lockdown when KSPA was unable to process payments as well as granted KSPA support for the organization’s share of the executive director’s salary and fringe benefits. Without this support, KSPA would likely be in a deficit position and eating up a significant portion of its endowment fund. Dean Ann Brill deserves our deepest thanks.

2020 VIRTUAL FALL CONFERENCE: The Fall Conference became a virtual event with some sessions available live and more than 40 sessions available on demand. Two collections, each containing approximately 20 instructional videos, were made available to those who registered for the conference. Highlights included sessions from Bobby Hawthorne, Getty Images sports photographer Jamie Squire, Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Sheeler as well as presentations from yearbook companies, journalists with local connections and Kansas journalism teachers.

REGIONAL CONTEST: All Regional contests were moved online due to COVID-19. As if that were not enough change, the board approved three “wild card” entries in addition to the two entries in each of the nine writing categories and 12 visual categories. The board also approved the addition of four new visual categories including Social Media, Video PSA, Video Sports Promo and Video News. In addition, KANSAS! Magazine sponsored a category in the Regional Contest, giving students a chance to be published in the magazine as well as a chance to win a share of the $250 in prize money. The category, Winter in the Heartland, replaced the Academic Photography category for this year due to anticipated difficulties with photographing on school campuses during the pandemic. Because photo categories proved to be the most popular, particularly among smaller schools, KSPA will look into expanding them for next year.

STATE CONTEST: With regional results announced in early March, Kansas students and advisers are now preparing for the state contest which will also be a virtual event.

PRESS CREDENTIALS FOR STUDENT JOURNALISTS: KSPA is also forming A TASK FORCE ON CREDENTIALS for student journalists. This group will be meeting to discuss press credential policies at KSHSAA events (primarily post-season play) and KSHSAA guidance to athletic directors regarding student press access. Several KSPA member schools experienced frustrating limitations being placed on student photographers at KSHSAA events even before the pandemic. As fall sports opened across the state, additional restrictions were placed on student photographers at the recommendation of the state activities organization. This task force will look into equal access for student journalists to areas which may be reserved for professional journalists/photographers including the press box and the field.

STUDENT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: Five applications were submitted for SJOY which is down significantly from the 10-12 entries in previous years. In spite of the decrease, these five entries were exceptionally strong.


  • May 1: State Contest Award Ceremony (virtual)
  • June 4: Middle School Yearbook Critique deadline
  • June 25: Earlybird All-Kansas 2021 Yearbook deadline

Awards/Honors: Individual Adviser Awards

  • HL HALL NATIONAL YEARBOOK ADVISER OF THE YEAR: Becky Tate from Shawnee Mission North High School.
  • CARL TOWLEY AWARD: Connie Fulkerson, CJE. Although Connie is officially part of the national organization staff, we consider her “our” Connie Fulkerson.
  • RISING STAR: Tucker Love from Shawnee Mission South
  • RISING STAR: Julia Walker from Olathe West

Individual Student Awards


  • Riley Atkinson, Shawnee Mission East: Kansas Overall Student Journalist of the Year
  • Alyssa Andoyo: Chanute High School, 3A/4A Kansas Student Journalist of the Year

Click here to see more awards earned by Kansas journalism students and staffs.

For the Board: Kansas journalist teachers are lucky in that the University of Kansas has made sure KSPA survived the pandemic financially. What can JEA do to support state organization’s that may not have had such a generous benefactor?

It’s hard to talk about what Kansas scholastic journalism teachers need from the JEA board. We are all so focused on surviving and thriving in our own schools and classrooms. More than anything, I think JEA is offering what we need most: academic support on several fronts, a lifeline when it’s needed and a bunch of people with similar interests and passions to talk to through the Listserv and virtual opportunities. Right now, that’s what all of us need.

Oh… and the opportunity to have a live national convention in the fall (fingers crossed!) All of us could use those HUGS!

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

Membership: There are currently 16 members in Kentucky. We are reaching out to all lapsed memberships. COVID-19 continues to slow some bookkeeping functions within districts.

Goals: In a partnership with KYJTA, we are trying to get our first awards contest organized for this year. KHSJA has struggled to keep up with a change in leadership and COVID-19. They have been our primary awards at the state level for years. Western Kentucky University also holds a contest. We are working to carve out some unique categories to avoid overlap.

Happenings: House Bill 187 was introduced in the Kentucky State Legislature. The New Voices Bill is gaining momentum with a dedicated group of students from across Kentucky contacting state representatives. This year’s session is very short, so we are using it as a get-out-the-word effort. With COVID-19 at the forefront, it isn’t likely that many non-related bills will pass. Our strategy is solid and we will persist.

Awards: Ella Olds from Bullitt East High School was selected as the 2021 JOY from Kentucky.
For the Board: Really excited to see what happens with the CTE committee. Kentucky has some good programs already, but there are certainly more opportunities on the horizon.

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

Membership: Louisiana has 22 members as of March 5, 2021.


  1. Have an in-person State Conference in Spring 2022
  • We will see how things are going in the beginning of Fall 2021 Semester and plan accordingly.  We will shoot for the traditional one-day “media day”, but if that is not possible we have also talked about a multi-day small groups conference where schools would sign up for particular times.
  1. Enhanced promotion of the JOY contest
  • We have run the contest in its current form for the past four years and we typically get 3-5 applicants almost exclusively from Southeast Louisiana.  
  • Want to reach out statewide to promote this contest.
  • Loyola University New Orleans will continue to offer a full tuition scholarship to the School of Communication and Design for the Louisiana State JOY winner.

Events/Happenings: We held a virtual Media Day via YouTube.   We released a playlist of videos on Jan. 14, 2021 that advisers and students can access at any time.  CLICK HERE FOR PLAYLIST   We had a Loyola student do a newscast style introduction and a brief synopsis of the videos. We also introduced the State Journalist of the Year details.

In conjunction with the Loyola University Tom Bell Silver Scribe Awards contest for high school students, we are partnering with Walsworth Yearbooks to do a virtual contest and awards ceremony. This contest will be held April 2021  CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.

Awards/Honors: We awarded the Louisiana State Journalist of the Year to Hannah Darcey who attends Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans. Hannah had a very strong application and will represent Louisiana well.

The Silver Scribe awards contest will be held in April 2021 (see details above).

For the Board: My biggest challenge as a state director is to identify journalism teachers and advisers in my state and establish contact with them. I am relatively sure I am not alone in this struggle. I had over 30% bounce back on emails on a bulk email I sent out in January. This list was up to date in the summer of 2020.  

Mining school and district websites to find contact information is hit or miss at best. There are 558 high schools in Louisiana according to Google and we are a relatively small state.

Could JEA partner with yearbook companies to get up-to-date lists of current yearbook advisers and provide this information to state directors? I realize this is probably “top secret” information they may be reluctant to share, but the yearbook reps are the “boots on the ground” and would have the most up-to-date information.

I feel this information would benefit JEA and most certainly state directors. Maybe there could be some kind of non-disclosure agreement where the information would not be shared and only used for certain purposes such as announcements of state contests and conferences.

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

Membership: There are currently three members in Maine.

Goals: To simply have the time to move in any forward direction. I’m hopeful the back-to-normal plans we have for next school year will allow for some breathing room in the day to make organized efforts happen.

Happenings: There are no organized statewide events at this time.

Awards/Honors: None to report.

For the Board: Nothing at this time.

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

Membership: There are currently 28 members in Maryland.

Happenings: We are currently working on two cross-school initiatives:

  • Coming of Age in a Pandemic, featuring pieces from participating high schools state/country wide. The county has agreed to print a few hundred copies of this magazine for each participating high school.
  • SDTV, a broadcast TV show (now countywide-hopefully growing to statewide) 
  • We also hosted a successful Trust Falls! (a forum on America’s Falling out with Mass Media). You can see the program attached and a video of the closing panel here.

In the county, we are working on initiatives to make printing cheaper for all schools. If successful, we want to expand this statewide. We have also started a speaker series: News Makers and Breakers featuring people in and behind the headlines. You can see details attached. Here is a link. We are hoping to expand this to the state.

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

Membership: There are 30 members in Massachusetts, up from 23 last fall and 27 a year ago. Great to see the membership rise. In my years of being state director, I have yet to see a correlation between my outreach and the memberships.

Happenings: I “attended” the fall 2020 virtual convention.

The spring convention of the New England Scholastic Press Association was cancelled. Discussions are underway to hold something in the fall of this year, rather than the spring.

The Journalist of the Year is Sophie Lewis of Newton South High School, and she will represent Massachusetts in the national contest. Submissions were down this year for the contest. For this coming year, I will push it earlier and more often in order to get our numbers back up. I would like to restart the “Journalism Honor Roll” that the Massachusetts Scholastic Press Association (MASPA) has run the last few years.

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.

In November, I hosted two video conferences for advisers across the state. About 10 in total attended at least part of one. Feedback was very positive, and I’m planning on having another either the end of March or early April.

Goals: Increasing the participation in the state JOY contest. In emailing with another adviser in the state, I came up with this wholly unscientific breakdown for why there were notably fewer entries: 

  • 65% the pandemic
  • 5% the way the contest is structured — I go back and forth on whether our process should mimic the national competition or be less onerous
  • 5% the state of scholastic journalism in New England — lots of senior-only or -dominant programs, lots of club-only programs. 
  • 25% me not pushing it harder or earlier

I plan on starting the process right after school starts in the fall, prodding advisers to have at least one student from their program to apply — the “somebody will win even if only one person applies” approach. That way, we can have a winner and a “Journalism Honor Roll” again.

Awards and honors: Sophie Lewis of Newton South High School was named Massachusetts Student Journalist of the Year.For the board: Some concern (anecdotal) about the cost structure of the virtual conference. While it is cheaper than travelling to a convention, the actual registration fee has increased. It is great that the one fee covers the entire program, but when going with students, a “chaperone fee” or something could help offset the adviser’s cost. (This is for those who must pay for the conventions out of their own pockets.) And there is no longer any way to volunteer service in order for the cost to be reduced.The short of it is that the increased fee may end up being too much to afford, even though the overall total cost of the convention is actually lower.

Timothy Morley, CJE
PO Box 396
Topinabee, MI 49791

Membership: There are currently 76 members in Michigan. That’s a net loss of three members since last spring’s report. (Remarkable in this pandemic era. This shows JEA’s value to advisers for education and collaboration.)

Goals: I need to be more actively visible to the state’s JEA membership. A monthly or biweekly email of highlights, pro tips, stories, etc. is what I view included in this. 

Judging Day: The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association recently began the first of several online judging days for its individual category contest. Yearbook individual awards were judged via Zoom. Newspaper, Digital and Video judging will each take place in the coming weeks.

Spring Conference: Last spring, MIPA executive director Jeremy Steele, with the aid of numerous board members, filmed, produced, edited, and presented a week-long awards celebration in place of the cancelled April 20 face-to-face awards conference. A similar program is scheduled for this spring. The awards include:

  • Individual Category Contests
  • Michigan’s nominee for JEA Journalist of the Year
  • Student Journalist Staff (MIPA’s 16-student member ALL STATE staff (one “wild-card” added to the normal 15 member staff).
  • ALL-MIPA winners: recognition for the top overall student in the following areas of emphasis
    • Digital Media
    • News Writing
    • News Design
    • Photography
    • Broadcast
    • Yearbook Writing
    • Yearbook Design
  • Administrator of the Year
  • John Field Award (Friend of Scholastic Journalism)
  • Golden Pen Award (Adviser)

MIPA  Summer Workshop: Planning, promotion and registration is being finalized for the annual MIPA Summer Workshop. Last year, after the filing of this annual report, the workshop successfully moved online. A similar online program will take place July 19-22 and July 26-29, as Michigan State University recently informed the MIPA director that on campus student programming will not be allowed until summer 2022.

Awards: Journalist of the Year: Michigan is proud to announce the selection of Eva McCord of Grosse Pointe South High School as our 2020-2021 Journalist of the Year. Eva is associate editor of The Tower newspaper, advised by Kaitlin Edgerton, and the editor-in-chief of the The Looking Glass art and literary magazine. Overall, Michigan received 27 portfolios from student journalists. This was down from 41 last year (understandable in the current pandemic).
JEA Lifetime Achievement Award: Pam Bunka, retired adviser from Fenton Hig School, was awarded JEA’s Lifetime Achievement Award Feb. 1.

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

Membership: There are currently 21 members in Minnesota.

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

Membership: There are currently 17 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 fall convention virtually in October and had around 2/3 of its normal participation rate. We also used a group pricing model instead of the normal per-student pricing model we use for in-person events, and that went over extremely well. Aside from the convention, MSPA hosted mostly zoom roundtables for editors and advisers alike. Participation was low, but those who attended were really appreciative of the effort. Our spring convention will be virtual as well. 

Awards and honors: At MSPA’s fall convention, Jamie Dickson (lit mag) and Tiffani Pollard (yearbook) were named 2020 Advisers of the Year and Pleiades (Murrah HS) and Landmark (yearbook) were named 2020 Publications of the Year. 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. On that topic, I’d also like to praise the work you’re doing in terms of addressing the disproportionate demographics of our profession. This is something we in the South are all too familiar with, and I hope we can be ground zero for test-driving innovative solutions.

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

Membership: There are currently 108 members in Missouri. Voting members include Teacher/Adviser, Emeritus Teacher/Adviser, Lifetime Teacher/Adviser members, Affiliates (with director as voting member).

Goals: To increase adviser membership through our state organizations: MIPA, MJEA, and JEMKC memberships. 


  • Missouri Journalism Education Association Partner Events
  • Missouri Interscholastic Press Association 
    • MIPA to host virtual J-Day March 31
    • One advantage to going virtual this year is that the sessions will remain available for months after J-Day, so some sessions can even be viewed by your classes at the start of next school year.
    • All programs including the monthly photo contests, three timed Challenges and regional workshops were successful this year.
    • SchoolJournalism.org, supported by MIPA, reaches hundreds of online readers each week, and over 9,000 subscribers with its email newsletter. If you have an amazing lesson or an article you’d like to share nationally, or know a pro who would make a good feature in the new “Q and A with the Pros” series, drop them a line at mipajourno@gmail.com. SchoolJournalism.org welcomes new contributors!
  • JEMKC (Journalism Educators of Metro Kansas City)
    • Is running their annual awards contest. 
    • JEMKC offers 5 student awards/scholarships for excellence in journalism
    • A Zoom ceremony will be held at the end of April to announce the winners and recipients. 


Missouri Student Journalist of the Year:

Pleased to announce that the 2021 Missouri Student Journalist of the Year is Claire Smith from St. Teresa’s Academy! Claire serves as the co-Editor-in-Chief of the St. Teresa’s Academy student publication in Kansas City, MO: the Dart & Dart News Online. In addition to her journalistic work at St. Teresa’s, Smith is also co-creator and editor of the published podcast, “The Cashew Project” on iTunes and Spotify. 

From Claire’s adviser Riley Cowing, “Watching Claire lead this year as co-editor-in-chief has been really wonderful to witness. She has so much passion for the paper and wants to share that love and passion with all the new staffers (as well as the larger school community). She comes to each class period prepared, creates presentations and lessons on different topics that could improve in that particular deadline and brings so much energy and enthusiasm to my classroom. She has grown so much as a leader due to her dedication and courage to try new things. I appreciate how much she has embraced publications and her commitment to developing her own, unique voice.”

Missouri pursues New Voices legislation. Kirkwood Adviser Mitch Eden continues to spearhead this effort. Rep. Christofanelli and Sen. Washington are the sponsors of the bill. Mitch and his students testified in the Senate on March 3, 2021.

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

Membership: Although Montana has always reported a small but relatively stable membership, interest in attending and participating in fall/spring meetings/contests has continued to diminish. 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 25 members, which is a minor increase from last spring, and although we have recently had an addition of two new JEA members, these advisers have not joined MJEA. A few of these members will need to update their membership  in March.

The number of JEA members, 14, has remained stable since last spring in 2020. 

The gap left in MJEA’s executive board continues to not be filled. We encourage younger members to become engaged in MJEA. However, 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 in these challenging times of virtual learning. 

MJEA’s highly motivated and action-orientated president, Beth Britton, CJE, 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. Our action plan has been to reach out with information, curriculum and additional resources. We have even tried to encourage a book exchange, free yearbooks/textbooks, supplies and encouragement.  

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.

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 JEA spring convention, the MFPE Montana Teacher Convention and  additional workshops 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 had a small presence at the virtual 2020 Montana Teachers’ Convention this last fall. However, we will expand our presence now that the hybrid convention has invited us to again participate as a co-curricular group at the Convention in Great Falls as well as with a virtual presence at the 2021 MFPE Montana Teacher Convention. 

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 they can access for both in their classrooms as well as with administrators who want advisers to demonstrate curricular accountability. Thank you for the consistent addition of vital virtual teaching methods as well as other additions 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 and webinars. We so appreciated Joe Humphrey’s enthusiasm in presenting JOY not only at the convention, but also on ZOOM meetings.


The 2021 Montana Journalist of the Year is Madison George. She is the editor-in-chief of the Russellog from C.M. Russell High School and has earned a $1,000 scholarship provided by the Montana Newspaper Association. She will represent Montana In the national JOY competition. 


The School of Journalism’s High School Journalism Day is back! The School of Journalism professors will host a virtual day of learning for all interested April 2, 2021. The day will consist of workshops focusing on print, broadcast, photo, news literacy and data visualization. They have asked their instructors to provide a lecture portion of each workshop, along with a hands-on activity to get students involved in the process of creating journalism. RSVP information and a detailed schedule of events will be provided in the next few weeks. We, as well as the j-school at the U of M, look forward to reconnecting with advisers and their students through this event. Cameron Bucheit is the contact for this event.

The university would like to schedule a summer camp at UM. We are hoping they will conduct the workshop this coming summer. 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 present a class/workshop at the 2021 Educators’ Convention in Great Falls Oct. 21-22, 2021. We are hoping to find instructors who will share their expertise in writing, editing, design, broadcast, yearbook, podcast and photography. Ideally, the class would be well suited for teachers in several curricular areas. 

We extend the invitation to a membership meeting during the Montana Teachers Convention. At that time, Linda Ballew will announce her replacement as the Montana State JEA Director. Ballew will resign this position after the fall 2021 JEA conference. Britton and Ballew will continue to provide “care packages” to mail to advisers, using some of the money from the MJEA account. 

For the Board: The JEA office has been an essential asset because of the wonderful people in the office. Thank you Lindsay for your assistance with video workshops during the fall convention. Your talent, grace and work ethic has made you an indispensable part of our family.  

The staff continues to help advisers by sending support materials to MJEA as we try to enlist new members. The staff has also been essential in helping with materials that reinforce classroom procedures and deadlines. 

The virtual workshops extended from the HUBB platform as well as those provided as Zoom meetings and webinars/podcasts by Joe Humphrey and other board members on a variety of topics have clarified information, taught advisers and staff, and encouraged JEA members. Thank you for the innovative contact and support. We appreciate all you do. Thank you so much!  

From MJEA president, Beth Britton, CJE 

“The publication of newspapers and upkeep of web sites has slipped at many Montana schools during the pandemic. Even before COVID-19 remote learning and the challenges that the pandemic presents to journalism advisers kicked in last spring, Montana’s high school journalism community was struggling to remain relevant and strong.  

Too few schools offer journalism classes, and for many schools – even the largest AA institutions – a yearbook class or club is all that is offered. There are several schools, however, across this vast state that set themselves apart with a small but growing broadcast program, a strong print and/or online newspaper, and electives including Introduction to Journalism and graphic design.  The main goal for the Montana Journalism Education Association is the continued development of a support system and useful website for Big Sky Country advisers and students, even if we are physically located hundreds of miles apart.” Please visit mjeajournalism.com

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

Membership: According to the membership list sent out by Val Kibler on 3/5/21, Nebraska has 51 active members, which is down seven or 88% of what membership was in March 2020. I attribute this number to the fact that the Nebraska High School Press Association did NOT have a membership drive or a convention in the fall of 2020, and we typically have a high number of advisers register for NHSPA and JEA at the same time. I did an email campaign to remind advisers to register/re-register on their own through JEA. Considering all the COVID-19 cancellations of this school year, I am still pretty happy with this number.

Goals: *Nebraska should not lose more membership numbers by this time next year. I will promote dual registration next fall with the NHSPA membership drive.

*Nebraska JEA members will have a winter contest that helps schools and advisers prepare for the NSAA spring contest.  I will continue to organize this contest as I have done since 2004.

*Nebraska will have a presence at all national conventions. I will do my best to encourage and support advisers in this quest.

Happenings: Nebraska had a Zoom-in combined JEA/NHSPA meeting in October, 2020. Val Kibler attended for JEA along with 25 advisers. Advisers were encouraged to attend the virtual fall JEA/NSPA convention and the spring convention. Advisers were encouraged to enter student works into the Nebraska JEA Winter 2021 contest. 25 schools submitted 636 entries. The top 8.6% earned Superiors, 17.8% earned Excellents, 26.6% earned Honorable Mentions. Volunteer judges came from many Nebraska schools and some of our JEA friends from around the region. Thank you.  Ralston High School was a JEA Partner Project school, but I haven’t heard an update on how that was going. New Voices legislation is again being pursued at the state legislature. Omaha Westside (with an award-winning program for more than 40 years) has a serious prior review situation happening which resulted in one adviser resigning mid-year.  

Awards/Honors: We are pleased to announce our winner Isabella N. Luzarraga from Millard North High School. Her adviser is Sarah Crotzer.

Jack Denker from Fremont High School will be recognized this spring with a JEA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mark Hilburn, MJE, from Millard West High School, will be awarded the Future Administrator Scholarship from JEA.

NHSPA will recognize Stephenie Conley, MJE, of Bellevue East as the 2020 Distinguished Adviser and State Senator Adam Morfeld as the NHSPA 2020 Friend of Journalism, for his work by continuing to support New Voices legislation. Nebraska schools with the best of the best publications were honored with Cornhusker Awards from the NHSPA. The Nebraska JEA Winter Contest awards also recognized student work from March 2020-December 2020. 
For the Board: This has been such a challenging year. Thank you for all the support and resources you have provided. It is hard to stay up on the Listserv and all the news from JEA. We commend your flexibility and creative national convention solutions. It will be interesting to see how conventions of the future are changed as well. Supporting our New Voices legislation is truly appreciated.

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

Membership: Current membership in Nevada stands at 23 members strong. While this is a decrease of three members, communication has been sent to those who forgot to renew and many have said they plan on making sure their membership is re-activated. 

Goals: After the request to have a meeting with all advisers in the state, I have maintained a monthly virtual meeting with any advisers who are interested to discuss their current situations, share ideas, and ask questions of those in attendance. This has become a great resource for advisers and I plan to continue this in the next school year. 

Happenings: Schools in Southern Nevada will begin a phased return to schools in a hybrid model starting March 6. Middle schools and high schools will begin returning March 22. Schools in Northern Nevada continue with a hybrid model as they have been for most of the academic year. 

Awards/Honors: Matthew LaPorte, CJE, was recognized as a Distinguished Yearbook Adviser of the Year as part of the H.L. Hall Yearbook Adviser of the Year program.  

For the Board: There are a few important notes for this report.

  • The elimination of the Project for Better Journalism program has resulted in several schools losing their free option for an online news site. It would be great to see JEA provide resources for alternatives, and to possibly seek out a new vendor that would provide a similar free option for those who cannot afford it.
  • Currently, mentoring is only allowed to be used as a way to recertify for the MJE program, but not to complete initial certification. Given the need for qualified mentors, and for those in the field who are already mentoring in some manner, it is requested for a discussion for mentoring to be counted towards initial MJE certification.

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

Membership: There are currently five members in New Hampshire

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 goal is to introduce the newly forming network of its existence and to share with educators the various opportunities, resources and events that are available through JEA and throughout New England education organizations. In the next 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

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

Membership: There are currently 13 members in New Mexico. We are down two members from my fall report. I will continue to work on educating new advisers about 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.

Although this was in my fall report, I felt it was important to repeat in the spring report as the information will apply to the graduating class of 2022. 

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.

Although COVID seems to have put challenges and changes with industry practices, the film industry is still growing in the state of New Mexico. The governor still has film on her top 10 list of growth areas for employability in the state and it will continue to be a focus in the state to include the film industry, which falls under the Arts, AV & Communications Program of Studies. 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 this using 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 that this initiative will be a positive catalyst to increasing these numbers with broadcast and film advisers. 

Events/Happenings: New Mexico Scholastic Press Association state competition was held virtually March 6 and was a success with 99 students competing. The contest was hosted via website which enabled us to be completely paperless and students enjoyed being able to participate. In the future, this platform is going to allow us to extend competition to more schools, allowing even more student journalists the opportunity to be a part of this state contest. It will allow teams who might not be able to travel the same opportunity as those who can, providing more equity among our competition journalists. The awards ceremony was held March 13. Moving forward, NMSPA plans to bring back summer journalism workshops for students as well as advisers, the Advisor of the Year Award, and include post-secondary partners in our endeavors.  

The NMSPA board elected new officers during the 2020 school year.  Lesley Valencia from Cibola High School remains as treasurer, Amie Kraenzel – President, Centennial High School, Emily Priddy – Vice President, House High School, and Melanie Stuart – Secretary, Centennial High School. 

Awards/Honors: Marissa Prentice from Centennial High School in Las Cruces is the New Mexico CTE Teacher of the Year.
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: There are currently 25 members in New York. From last spring, our membership decreased by 2%. I emailed more than 30 lapsed members in late-2020 to encourage them to rejoin, but that effort was not fruitful.Awards/Honors: For the first time in several years (more than five, I think), New York has a NY Journalist of the Year. Congrats to Logan Schiciano of The Masters School and Ellen Cowhey, his adviser. This is a big accomplishment for New York JEA because I don’t see a lot of engagement from our members.

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 for North Carolina as of March is 53. N.C. Scholastic Media Association membership materials continue to offer a JEA membership option, as NCSMA is an affiliate member of JEA.

Events: North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute, June 14-16. The North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute will be hosted virtually June 14-16. High school journalism students and advisers are invited to enroll. The three-day workshop teaches innovative and effective ways of communicating through scholastic media: online news, newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, photojournalism, design and broadcast news. Deadline to register is June 1. For more information, visit ncsma.unc.edu.

Carolina Sports Journalism Camp, June 23-25. Rising high school juniors and seniors interested in sports and media are encouraged to apply to the Carolina Sports Journalism Camp, hosted virtually June 23-25. The three-day workshop will instruct students on sports play-by-play, sports writing and sports photography through classroom study and newsroom practice. Deadline for applications is April 1. For more information, visit hussman.unc.edu/csjc.

Journalism Education Fellowship Program, July 11-17. NCSMA’s Journalism Education Fellowship Program offers North Carolina high school journalism teachers the opportunity to enroll in a one-week, short-term summer course with tuition funding provided by NCSMA. Journalism teachers and media advisers can qualify for free in-state tuition and books. The three-hour graduate credit course, “Teaching Multimedia Storytelling in the Secondary School,” will be hosted virtually July 11-17.

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

Awards and Honors: The North Carolina Scholastic Media Association has announced West Henderson High School journalist Sarah Monoson as the 2021 Rachel Rivers-Coffey North Carolina High School Journalist of the Year. Monoson is the co-editor-in-chief of the West Henderson (Hendersonville) school newspaper, Wingspan. Judges noted her clarity and expressiveness in writing and design, as well as the quality and variety of sourcing. One judge wrote, “Sarah’s writing really impressed me — not just for its clarity and expressiveness, but for the tough topics she took on with maturity beyond her years. …It was clear from her application and recommendations that she is a thoughtful, forward-thinking young journalist with a bright future.” 

Alternates for Journalist of the Year are Cassie Honeycutt of First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, Ella Sullivan of Northwood High School in Pittsboro and Tierney Reardon of J.H. Rose High School in Greenville. Honeycutt is the co-editor-in-chief of her school’s newspaper, Nighthawk News Magazine; Sullivan is the co-editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, The Northwood Omniscient; and Reardon is the co-editor-in-chief of her school newspaper, Rampant Lines

Since 2001, the North Carolina Press Foundation (NCPF) has funded the annual scholarship award in memory of Rachel Rivers-Coffey, former North Carolina Press Association president. NCPF will award a $3,000 scholarship to Monoson. The three alternates will each receive $1,000. The foundation will also award the winners’ journalism programs. The Journalist of the Year’s program will receive $500. The three alternates’ programs will each receive $250. 

Monoson will now represent the state in the National High School Journalist of the Year scholarship competition. Winners will be announced virtually at the National High School Journalism Convention. The Rivers-Coffey state scholarships and awards will be presented during the North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute, a summer journalism workshop open to students and teachers across the state.

Goals: My goal is to continue working with the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association to maintain statewide journalism opportunities for students and advisers with continued outreach to JEA members, with a special emphasis on the literary magazine community.
For the Board: nothing

North Dakota

Membership: There are currently nine members in North Dakota.

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

Membership: There are currently 61 members in Ohio, which is the same number of Ohio members we had this time last year. Efforts are continuous to recruit JEA members in Ohio. The Ohio Scholastic Media Association currently offers JEA membership through the state registration forms and Maggie Cogar, Ohio JEA state director, and Candace Bowen, executive director of OSMA, use state press association events to inform Ohio advisers about 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.

Goals: My main goal for this position is to be more active in contacting JEA members individually to see how I can help guide them towards the resources and support they may need. I have been better this year about remembering to send welcome emails to every new member and I still send group newsletters to all JEA members. However, I don’t get responses and I feel disconnected from our state members (the pandemic this year definitely did not help this concern). My action plan to meet this goal going forward is to individually reach out to 2-4 members a month, the ones who are not as actively involved at the state and/or national level, and see how I can be of assistance. To track my progress, I plan to keep a spreadsheet of members I’ve contacted and whether they reply or not.

Happenings: All state conferences were cancelled this year due to COVID-19. While the regional workshops were not held in the fall and the annual state conference will not be held in early April as usual, the state-wide student media competition was still held for the year. Some adjustments to the competition were made to allow more flexibility for schools who faced difficulties in publishing due to the pandemic to enter. The writing categories were combined into one (both online and print stories could be entered into the same category) and the number of publications needed to enter the overall newspaper or newsmagazine competition was temporarily reduced from three issues to two. In spite of the publication challenges brought on by the pandemic, OSMA still had high numbers of entries into the state contest and will still award over 900 individual awards to student journalists in pre-entered categories in writing, design, photography, broadcast, yearbook this spring.

The OSMA executive board is looking forward to again hosting regional workshops and the state conference next year.

Awards/honors: The Georgia Stilwell Dunn Ohio Journalist of the Year for 2021 is Sama Ben Amer, Dublin Scioto High School.

For the board: As pandemic conditions improve, the Ohio Scholastic Media Association hopes to grow the JEA mentorship program in Ohio and will continue to seek suitable candidates to serve as additional mentors in our state. 

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 OSMA planning and even through the pandemic they have met to provide input and feedback to the organization.

My dissertation proposal titled “Gatekeeping in Scholastic Journalism: Examining factors that influence student content decisions” has finally been conducted after being delayed first by committee issues and then again last year due to COVID-19. The survey incentive of a Canon Rebel camera was funded by the JEA and awarded to Beechwood High School in Ohio after a random drawing. The research focuses on factors that predict student self-censorship rates, including examining student comfort level in publishing controversial material to the rate of perceived administrative censorship and other factors. Survey results have been written and there are some significant findings that should prove very relevant to scholastic journalism educators. Results will be written up in a column for the Scholastic Press Rights Committee (SPRC) in April and will also be submitted to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in August. The board should reach out if they would also like results presented at the next JEA conference in Philadelphia.

Darla Tresner, MJE
3512 Harvey Road
Bartlesville, OK 74006

Membership: There are currently 24 members in Oklahoma.

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

Membership: There are currently 31 members in Oregon. 

Goals: The Oregon Journalism Education Association staff is looking at ways to help student journalists as much as we can virtually. This year’s Fall Press Day was not held, but there is hope that we will have some type of program in the summer and fall.

Happenings: Nothing is planned at this time.

Awards/Honors: Oregon’s Journalist of the Year (2021) winner is Eddy Binford-Ross of South Salem High School in Salem. Congratulations to Eddy and her staff of The Clypian. The runner up was Skylar Moore of West Linn High School. For the Board: Oregon schools have mostly been hybrid this year and we have worked through the challenges of publishing in comprehensive distance learning.

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

Membership: There are currently 65 members in Pennsylvania.

Events: The Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA) held its virtual State Journalism Competition in January.  Approximately 150 students from 25 schools competed. Judges’ evaluations will be returned April 1 and results will be made public late April-mid May.

PSPA continues to extend free membership to all Pennsylvania schools through the 2021-22 school year.  

Several PA students competed at the fall JEA convention. Twelve students from two high schools were commended.

New Voices: New Voices is at a standstill at this time. Although there was enthusiastic participation at the last organizational meeting in the fall, it appears that we have lost momentum. We have a new state adviser interested in joining the team and plan on having a meeting to rejuvenate and reorganize in the spring.

Awards and honors: The Jane Blystone Student Journalist of the Year has been named. Ananya Kulkarni from Conestoga High School in Berwyn will receive a $500.00 scholarship from PSPA and plans on competing in the national competition.  Runner up is Hannah Nguyen from North Penn School District. Her adviser is Kevin Manero.

Opportunities for student journalists: Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation and School of Communication is offering free 40-minute media workshops on Zoom for Pennsylvania students throughout March. Each session is hosted live by a Point Park faculty member and includes a hands-on activity for the students. Upcoming topics include podcasting, digital newspaper production and social media branding.Meetings: Our last state Zoom meeting was held in late December and the topics we covered include the SJOY competition, mentoring and New Voices.

Elizabeth Kenworthy
Rhode Island

Membership: There are currently two members in Rhode Island.

Awards/honors: Click here to see a list of awards won by Rhode Island student journalists.

Happenings: The Society of Professional Journalists matched us with Photojournalist and writer Cheryl Hatch for the second time. Cheryl visited our first-year journalism students, sharing her experiences and critiquing their photos. This is Cheryl’s second visit to Lincoln High School.

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

Membership: There are currently 25 members in South Carolina.

Goals: Next year we will be beginning a Careers in Media and Information roadshow throughout the state. The goal is to reach out to Title 1 and highly diverse schools with free in-person and online programming culminating with an on-campus experience. 


SCSPA Spring Conference – SCSPA will not hold a traditional spring conference but instead will hold a virtual spring awards ceremony. Newspaper, online and broadcast evaluation and individual awards, as well as the Journalist of the Year and SCSPA scholarships and the Reid H. Montgomery Adviser of the Year are presented during the spring ceremony. Student and adviser officers for the SCSPA board will be announced at the ceremony as well.

SIPA convention – SIPA’s 2021 convention was held virtually March 4-7. Tammy Watkins, retired Wando HS adviser, was recognized as the SIPA Endowment speaker. NBC Today Show news anchor and MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin was the keynote speaker. Despite it being a virtual convention, all competitions were still held and students received the experience they enjoy.


Journalist of the Year – Olivia Potter, a senior at Wando High School (Mt. Pleasant), has been named the South Carolina Journalist of the Year by SCSPA. Potter, the co-editor-in-chief of Wando’s Legend yearbook and SIPA vice president, will receive $500 and recognition at the 2021 SCSPA Virtual Spring Awards Ceremony.

Scroggins Award: Best of South Broadcast – “RNE-TV,” Richland Northeast High School, Columbia, South Carolina
Scroggins Award: Best of South Yearbook – Legend, Wando High School, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina

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

Membership: There are currently 11 members in South Dakota, an increase of two from the fall 2020 report. 

Happenings/Goals: Interest in virtual programming has dropped off since our state convention last fall, likely due to “Zoom fatigue” and increased workloads during the pandemic. However, I am offering a scholarship for a South Dakota JEA member to attend the virtual Spring National High School Journalism Convention. I also plan to distribute a survey to all high school journalism teachers in the state before the end of the school year to determine needs and interests on a range of topics, including workshops, the state JOY contest (see below) and JEA membership. In my dual role as vice head of AEJMC’s Scholastic Journalism Division, I am once again organizing a virtual “teach-in” for high school educators across the United States. This event coincides with AEJMC’s conference, which is scheduled for Aug. 4-7, 2021. 

Awards/Honors: Our JOY contest has been on hiatus since 2019 because of lack of interest. I recently identified a potential partner for that and plan to follow up over the summer. 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.

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

Membership: There are currently 34 members in Tennessee.

Goals: My goal is to increase state membership and to encourage as many Tennessee schools as possible to sign up for the virtual Spring convention by March 15. 

Happenings: Tennessee High School Press Association hosted a Virtual Awards Day for state members. 

Lipscomb University, which houses the Tennessee High School Press Association, plans to host a summer camp called Music City New Media Academy with sessions on News writing, Feature writing, Sports writing, Design and layout, Editing, Social media, Photography, Videography and Podcasting.

Awards/honors: Here is a complete list of the individual winners from Tennessee High School Press Association’s Awards Day. 

Superlative Awards from Tennessee High School Press Association’s Awards Day:

  • Administrator of the Year: Roger White, principal, Columbia Central High School
  • Bonnie Hufford Outstanding Student Media Adviser: Michael Ellson, Christ Presbyterian Academy
  • H. L. Hall Outstanding Student Journalist: Esha Karam, University School of Nashville (she will be our state representative for JEA’s Student Journalist of the Year competition)

Overall Awards from Tennessee High School Press Association’s Awards Day:

  • Best Overall Website: The Central Digest, Chattanooga Central High School
  • Best Overall Newspaper/Newsmagazine: Logos, Harpeth Hall School
  • Best Overall Yearbook: Lion’s Roar, Christ Presbyterian Academy
  • Mark Madison Best Overall Television Station: WBHS 9, Brentwood High School

Quill and Scroll awarded Staff Excellence and Comprehensive Writing to Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville,

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

Membership: There are currently 306 members in Texas. Membership totals 261 for the Texas Association of Journalism Educators.

Happenings: TAJE plans to partner with the Interscholastic League Press Conference to offer a virtual summer workshop. They are in the process of finalizing the programming. 

In addition to our $1,500 JOY scholarship, we will award four $1,000 TAJE Scholarships and six summer workshop scholarships for students and three summer workshop scholarships for teachers. 

Dr. Mary E. Gonzalez (D-El Paso) has filed a New Voices bill (HB422) in the state Legislature that would restore student press rights in Texas. The bill is still pending a hearing in the public education committee. 

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


  • 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/honors: TAJE named its state Journalist of the Year and three runners-up March 12. According to our judges, this has been one of the most competitive years of the contest with the highest quality work they’ve seen yet. We had 12 applicants to the Texas Journalist of the Year contest. A team of three judges (a media professional, a university professor and a retired scholastic media adviser) scored the portfolios based on the newly revised JEA rubric used in the national contest. The cumulative scores from the judges were used to rank the applicants, and we have placed a winner and three runners-up. 

  • TEXAS JOY WINNER: Grant Johnson,  Rock Hill High School
  • FIRST RUNNER-UP: Tommy Yarrish, Bridgeland High School
  • SECOND RUNNER-UP: Madi Olivier, Marcus High School
  • THIRD RUNNER-UP: Jamie Mahowald, St. Mark’s School of Texas

For the Board: Texas journalists and advisers have faced personal and professional struggles unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. And yet we’ve seen some of the most incredible journalism emerge from programs this year, even while many newsrooms have been disconnected throughout the pandemic. We want the board to know that our normal programs have been forced to adapt to virtual environments, but they’ve also been a lifeline of normalcy to many people. However, we’ve learned the important lesson to have grace with each other as everything continues to challenge our community during this time.

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

Membership: There are currently six members in Utah.

Events: 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 at www.utahcollegemedia.org

The UCMA Futures Awards will happen sometime in May 2021, COVID-19 regulations pending. The awards ceremony is free to attend for any teachers/advisers 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 advisers 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 (utahcollegemedia.org).

Advisers who are interested in being added to the Utah High School Adviser 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: There are currently four members in Vermont.

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

Membership: There are currently 82 members in Virginia, the same as the Fall 2020 report.

Happenings: We have continued our weekly meet-ups on Thursdays where we can talk shop, but also simply make connections. Meet-ups take place each Thursday at 5 p.m. and are a great space for advisers to come and relax with others who understand what we’re all trying to do.

Our annual jRetreat in January moved online and it was a great success. We began the weekend with a Friday night social hour, which included advisers not just from Virginia, but from all over the country (and Guatemala!). Day two of jRetreat consisted of two roundtables (Teaching in 2021 and Coverage in 2021), a New Voices chat and recognition luncheon. At the luncheon, we recognized Tiffany Kopcak and Suzanne Abdelrazaq as special recognition advisers in the H.L. Hall Yearbook Adviser of the Year contest. We also discussed the current state of New Voices Virginia and our next steps.

In the afternoon, New York Times graphic editor Larry Buchanan inspired us all with his keynote on visual journalism and his design process. Chris Waugaman served as moderator for the keynote. At 7 p.m., Florida’s Joe Humphrey emceed team trivia, which let us all enjoy the camaraderie we’ve come to know and love from jRetreat. We were happy to be able to offer the whole weekend for free and keep the tradition alive. 

Awards: We announced our Virginia Journalist of the Year winners March 5: first place, Marian Qu (McLean High School, Lindsay Benedict, adviser); second place, Pratika Katiyar (Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Erinn Harris, MJE, adviser); and third place Holly Bill (Harrisonburg High School, Valerie Kibler, MJE, adviser). In the weeks leading up to the Feb. 15 application deadline, Erinn Harris led two Zoom sessions for applicants to go over the basics of the contest and to give constructive criticism and feedback on portfolios prior to submission. Five students attended the first session Feb. 9, and two students attended Feb. 16.

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

Membership: For our state membership, we are sitting at 92 advisers (this includes 10 or so that are right at renewal date) and 20 student members. Our JEA membership is down by 13 members since last spring; we are at 56 adviser members to JEA. The vast majority of the state has been full distance- learning up to this point; I am hopeful the numbers will increase with spring convention and as we return to face- to- face school.

Goals: In addition to being the state director for JEA, I am also the president for WJEA. In this dual role, my primary goal is to increase membership and involvement in our activities and provide as much support as I can for the journalism advisers in our state. We have tried Adviser Happy Hours without much luck (we’re all tired of Zoom). The first step in this is to re-evaluate our activities to see who is attending and what we can do to update the events. We are looking at our events overall as well as each event individually to see what must stay and what cannot continue. I would like to find a way to get real information from my members about what they want/need, but we get very low response rates on surveys we send out. In the next several weeks, I will send a handwritten postcard to each member of our state organization and each JEA member in our state. 

Happenings: We have been focusing most of our attention as a state on preparing for the national convention; on these years, we do not host a state spring conference of any kind. As the “hosts,”, our duties were significantly reduced when we went to the virtual platform. We have been busy finding keynote and featured speakers to provide content, and I feel great about our selection. We have been able to capitalize on connections across the country to provide a range of speakers. 

In addition to the convention work, we have hosted a week of virtual Adobe trainings. Plans are underway for a follow- up session in April to answer more questions and provide a little more training. 

We have applied for a Dow Jones Grant to fund our summer workshop. Our summer workshop was supposed to be at the Edward R. Murrow School of Journalism at Washington State University. They have decided not to host minors on campus this year, so we are back to a virtual or some other option. The most powerful part of our camp has been the camp-wide simulation. We have developed a partnership with the Seattle Times and are working on providing students an opportunity to publish their work as a result of the simulation. Likely, we will roll the simulation into the fall and include it in our Journalism Day in September. This would allow the staffs who participate an opportunity to be published. More info to come as grant results are released and our plans are further developed. 

Awards/Honors: Our award deadlines have just happened. We extended some deadlines from the Feb. 15 to March 1 and do not have all of our honorees selected. However, we have forwarded the portfolio of Washington state Journalist of the Year Kelli Allen from Bellarmine Prep High School in Tacoma.  

We do have five applications for Adviser of the Year and at least one for our Lu Flannery Outstanding Journalist Award. Those names will be coming in the next few weeks, so I will include them in the Fall Report.
For the Board: We are trying to support the JEA Diversity Initiative but need some guidance on what that looks like both at the state and national level. Work needs to be done in this area for our state, but we want to be headed in the same

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

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

Membership: There are currently 56 members in Wisconsin.

Goals: My major goal this year is to continue building connections between advisers (especially those who are new or who have not worked with any scholastic journalism group in the past). This will mean continuing to build on the monthly, virtual adviser chats I started up this year as well as working through the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association (and an intern we might have there) to identify schools and journalism programs that have not been reached before.

Happenings: Most things happening this year, of course, have been virtual. Some notable events have included:

  • The Wisconsin Journalism Education Association (WisJEA) has been holding regular video chats at the end of most months. Some have included specific topics with guest speakers, while others have been more for adviser sharing and connection.
  • The Kettle Moraine Press Association (KEMPA) held its annual fall conference virtually Oct. 16, 2020 with a theme of “Innovating in a Time of Crisis.”
  • KEMPA also held its annual Winter Advisers’ Seminar virtually March 6. Focused on “Building a Culture of Credibility,” the keynote speaker was Jeff Browne, executive director of Quill and Scroll.
  • The Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association (NEWSPA) is holding its annual Spring Conference virtually this year. Although there will be some live video events (including awards and trivia competitions) April 21, more than 30 pre-recorded sessions are already available for registered schools.

Awards/Honors: We had eight excellent student submissions for Wisconsin Journalist of the Year this year. In the end, we selected Sara Stanislawski of Wauwatosa West High School as this year’s winner as well as Hannah Kennedy from Homestead High School and Maxwell Yanacek from Oshkosh North High School as finalists. This year’s winner received a $1,000 scholarship made possible by the Milwaukee Press Club who has agreed to work with us to provide award money for future years as well.
For the Board: As we continue to build partnerships with groups such as the Milwaukee Press Club and the Wisconsin Newspaper Association to help provide awards and publicity, we also could use any advice or help possible in creating or maintaining a database of sorts for journalism programs in the state. No state agency or other group currently tracks journalism teachers, classes or programs and that is a top priority of mine right now. As we build more of these connections, we hope to continue to stay in the loop for New Voices resources and begin (again) a push of our own for such legislation in Wisconsin.

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

Membership: There are currently 12 members in Wyoming. Wyoming High School Scholastic Press Association has 31 members.

Happenings: WHSSPA made huge strides in the 2019-2020 year (contests were moved from mail submissions to online submissions). The Board arranged a partnership with the University of Wyoming to host future conventions. But then the pandemic came and although Wyoming never stopped for it, most of the Board members were overwhelmed with balancing workloads with in-person and online instruction. Priorities were shifted. UW could not host an in-person convention and although the Board was optimistic about finding a solution, the Board ultimately decided to postpone the State Convention.

Now with our feet under us, we are sorting through online submissions from the Fall and will announce the 2020 State Convention placings April 1. We know how important it is to recognize the hard work of the student journalists and the advisers in the state.

Currently, Jill Miller is President and Dan Morris is the Vice President. Greg Rohrer continues to serve as the Treasurer and Lyle Wiley joined the board as the Secretary. Terri Brantz, Lisa Gray, and Anita Wertz are the current Members at Large. Terri Brantz will step down as she heads into retirement this spring. Jill Miller and Erika Quick will fill the role of webmaster for the organization. Erika Quick is JEA Executive Director. 

Goals: By April 1 we will announce all our state contests winners and an adviser of the year (for the first time in years). I hope to send out awards and press releases to the recipients’ schools and local newspapers. I am also working on approval for all-state recognition with WHSSA. My main focus is on building membership and rebuilding our state organization. I know how important it is to connect advisers together, more than ever, and I want to make sure they have the resources and support especially during this time. 

I finally got my hands on the WHSSA State Directory and began the process of creating a spreadsheet for every Journalism, Yearbook, Art, and English teacher (middle school and high school) in the state to reconnect/recruit new members. This summer I will try to write newsletters and connect with each school’s instructor and encourage them to join. 

Recognition/Awards/Honors: The Board would like to thank Terri Brantz for her many years of service as a Member at Large and her contributions to Scholastic Journalism in the state of Wyoming. Special thanks to Anita Wertz who is a state mentor for new advisers. The Board thanks her for her work with new advisers in Wyoming and her continual support, especially during this time. 

Special congratulations to the following student journalists:

  • Abigail Landwehr, Powell High School, was selected as the recipient for the 2020 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Conference.
  • Click here to see more student awards winners.

Congratulations to the following advisers:

  • Lyle Wiley of Hot Springs County High School was honored by the National Speech and Debate Association for exemplary volunteerism to promote speech and debate.
  • Erika Quick and CHS Wired students were recognized by The Wyoming Department of Education as the 2020 Student Voices recipients. The award is an acknowledgment of educators and students utilizing new and innovative ways to incorporate digital learning into their work.

For the Board:  

  • The board would love examples of state handbooks as we begin to rewrite ours. 
  • We would take any help with judging, rubrics, online systems, and guidance with some of our contests. 
  • How do some state organizations offer All-State recognition? What are the criteria?
  • What applications do you use to connect with members? Mailchimp?  
  • Is there any way to connect that national convention to our state convention? Could members register through our state to attend the national convention? Some districts do not support national travel (even if online). This could be a loophole. If there is any flexibility to run it through the states, then those advisers potentially could use monies to attend. 
  • The board is considering hiring someone to manage our books, rebrand, and manage our online site, are there any states who do this? 

Reminders: Check out our website Wyoming High School Student Press Association (WHSSPA)

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.

A focus within the office is pulling information together for our 100th birthday bash. We hope to celebrate NSPA’s birthday in Philadelphia this fall. We are always looking for stories to share from past conventions and photos to share on our website and history book. Keep checking our website for more information. It’s a great time to celebrate turning 100!

Within the past year we have added some new resources and contests. We’ve added individual awards, Pacemaker Master Classes, Town Halls and student leadership resources.

NSPA’s new student competition, Clips & Clicks, launched in fall 2020 and was a great success. We look forward to the spring contest and the opportunity to award our first Sweepstakes Trophy to our top program with the most placements in the contest. 

Although Campaign 2020 Photo Exchange ended with the November election, we want to discuss how to continue such an exchange program with stories of national importance. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for what that looks like. 

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

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, The Orlando Marriott World Center and Sheraton Seattle/Washington Convention Center have been great to extend contracts in future years.

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

While the temptation is to lead off this report with the great shared success of Student Press Freedom Day, it is important for our JEA friends to know that the core of SPLC’s work is and always will be the free legal hotline and the work we do to support, promote and defend student journalists and the advisers who support them. Over this past year, the work of that hotline has been more important than ever.

As we have monitored the trends in calls to the hotline, we have seen a marked increase in issues related to censorship and access to information this year. It makes sense (sort of) that during this time of national crisis, where students, teachers and schools were the focal point of societal upheaval, school administrators would want to manage the way the story of remote learning and teaching, COVID-19 infection rates and school health and safety issues were being reported.  It does not make sense, however, that administrators would not understand the unique role and voice that student journalists and independent student media plays in creating consistency and community for a school challenged by operating in a dispersed environment, along with the critically important role student media plays in speaking directly to students in a way that they best relate. In many places, that attempt to “control” the story backfired, and SPLC is proud to have seen and supported excellent student journalism that has emerged this year. 

Right now, we have several cases of censorship taking place in Nebraska which really sum up why SPLC exists and how important our collaboration with high school journalists and advisers is. You may have heard about Westside High School, where a prior review policy was newly enforced at the start of this school year. The policy led to the censoring of an editorial about the censorship. After pressure from the administration, one of the journalism teachers resigned. Eventually the editorial was published, but there has been widespread coverage of the ongoing conflict between the student newspaper and the administration. You can read about it here. At the same time that things were heating up at Westside, administrators at North Platte High School in another part of the state prevented a newsworthy story about racism and the flying of a Confederate flag from running in the school’s paper, The Bulldog. The EIC, who wrote the story, took it to a local newspaper which then published the censored story. You can read about that here. SPLC staff attorneys have been working with students at both Westside and North Platte, and as these cases have heated up, so have the advocacy efforts around New Voices in Nebraska. LB 88, sponsored by Senator Adam Morfeld, is currently scheduled for debate in the Nebraska Unicameral and a very committed group of students and advisers are leading the fight to get New Voices over the finish line. They certainly have important censorship stories to tell, and SPLC is proud to be supporting their efforts.   

And now, to Student Press Freedom Day! The theme of Student Press Freedom Day 2021 was Journalism Against the Odds and for all the reasons outlined above, it was a fitting concept. 

Student Press Freedom Day: Journalism Against the Odds: The third annual Student Press Freedom Day was celebrated Feb. 26, 2021. SPLC created Student Press Freedom Day as a way to highlight the challenges faced by student journalists and celebrate their successes. It is also a way to create a narrative around the need for student press freedom to support New Voices towards the start of the annual legislative season. 

With planning frustrated by COVID, we had a very short period in which to prepare; however, this year marked a significant evolution in the awareness and traction for the day. Leaders from JEA, NSPA, CMA and ACP joined an ad hoc organizing committee with representatives of the SPLC Board and staff. With pro bono help from Automattic, we created a Student Press Freedom Day website with a wealth of materials including talking points, a social media toolkit, descriptive outlines of four key issues, a list of 21 excellent stories by student journalists, a media section with press release, white paper and press briefing and a Take Action section with specific tasks for supporters to do. We recruited 20 partner organizations (including mainstream press freedom and professional journalism organizations) to co-sponsor the day. New York PR firm Pitch Publicity donated their time and helped land a feature on Good Day LA on Fox in Los Angeles.  

And there was more: 

Did you see these Op-Eds? In early February, more than 250 students signed up for an op-ed boot camp with veteran CNN and New York Times journalist (and SPLC Board Member) Steven A. Holmes, who gave expert advice on how to effectively write and pitch op-eds. Students then were paired with expert coaches — including professionals from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the Online News Association — who helped take their pieces to the next level. With this support, many were able to place editorials in national, local and student newspapers, including CNN.com, Newsweek, the Richmond Times, the Chicago Tribune, and many more.  Check out a selected compilation here.

Did you watch Raise Your Voice or see the student testimonials? Thanks to the generosity of filmmaker Maribeth Romslo and GOOD DOCS, the student media community was able to screen the documentary Raise Your Voice for free for three days. The film centers on the student journalists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who survived and then covered the Parkland shooting. Whole classes and even entire schools watched the film, sparking community-wide conversations about the role of student journalists in covering major stories. In addition, SPLC produced a series of student and adviser video testimonials about what student press freedom means to them.

Did you join the discussion? Student New Voices advocates in New Jersey held a student town hall with four lawmakers in attendance. Attendees heard students’ firsthand accounts of intimidation and censorship. One state representative said that was the first time she’d ever heard of “self-censorship,” a major concern where students don’t even attempt to write controversial or difficult stories for fear of reprisal. SPLC held a similar national student forum with students from across the country sharing their stories of journalism against the odds and what student press freedom means to them. 

SPLC at the U.S. Supreme Court: SPLC Senior Legal Counsel Mike Hiestand is working with pro bono counsel at Covington & Burling to prepare an amicus brief which we will be submitting to the U.S. Supreme Court in March in the case of B.L. v. Mahanoy. This case, in which a cheerleader was suspended from the squad after posting a profane message on her personal social media account, will be an important case which will likely decide standards around student free speech rights on social media and the reach of schools to discipline student speech which takes place off campus. The case is set to be argued at the U.S. Supreme Court this spring. 

Celebrating Black Student Journalists for Black History Month: If you haven’t seen it, please take time to read the interviews that SPLC Operations and Outreach Manager Alexis Mason spearheaded with the EICs of the student newspapers at three HBCUs during Black History Month: Oyin Adedoyin, the editor-in-chief of Morgan State University’s Spokesman,  Ariyon Dailey, the editor-in-chief of Florida A&M University’s The Famuan, and Jarod Hamilton, the editor-in-chief of North Carolina A&T State University’s The A&T Register. Great journalists doing great work and excellent role models for high school journalists looking to do great things in college!

Did you know that you can get SPLC resources in Spanish?

SPLC has a growing set of core resources available in Spanish. Over the coming months, we will have more materials available as we expand access to our resources to student journalists with a diversity of backgrounds and language skills.  If you have suggestions for additional resources you could use or think should be available in Spanish, please let us know. 

It’s Yearbook Season: Your Censorship Questions Answered Here: Hey, yearbook advisers!  We know that you are in the stressful process of finishing your books and many of you are submitting them for review. Based on last year’s experiences and the trends we’ve been seeing this year, SPLC has created a new set of resources to help you identify and deal with censorship of your yearbooks. Please check out this new section on Yearbook Censorship in the Time of COVID at the SPLC website.

SPLC Resources for You and Your Students: Please remember that SPLC is here for you. You and your students can always make an appointment to speak to an SPLC attorney on any issue that arises. We stand ready to help in any way we can. 

As spring is upon us and vaccines ramp up, we hope that you and your families are safe and well. We will miss you all in person this spring, but hope to see you in person again next fall. To get the latest news from SPLC, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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