Fall 2021 semiannual report

Fall 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
014 Kedzie Hall
828 Mid-Campus Dr. S.
Manhattan, KS 66506-1500

Memberships: Voting membership stands at 2,491, which is 2% fewer than a comparable time last fall. Total membership stands at 2,692, down 3% from last fall. We still have members who reside in each of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.

Happenings: JEA Advisers Institute was held July 5-8, 2021.

Site visit to Philadelphia to plan for possible in-person convention for the fall, June 16, 2021.

Fall 2021 convention planning meetings (virtual) with local committee, May 20, June 22, Aug. 3, Sept. 9.

Headquarters: JEA staff resumed full-time work at the headquarters offices at Kansas State University during the summer of 2021. This was the first time since spring 2020 the offices were fully staffed in-person.

JEA executive director gave one year notice of resignation in July 2021. A national search for a new director will commence this fall.

Conventions: JEA staff worked to return JEA Advisers Institute from a virtual conference in 2020 to in-person in New Orleans July 5-9, 2021. Attendees had access to an online supplement with a library of new content with access through Sept. 15. The dual offerings attracted a total of 205 participants with 80 coming to the in-person experience.

The Fall 2021 JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention shifted to a virtual experience yet again. This marks the third convention that has moved online following the full cancellation of the spring 2020 convention. It has been two years since the last in-person national convention.

Financial information: As of Oct. 1 — about a quarter of the way through the fiscal year — JEA has a net operating loss of $ -27,525.27. That loss is erased when we factor in our investments, which have gained $34,119.23, giving the organization a total net gain of $3,700.17. JEA’s net assets remain healthy at $1,759,146.81.

Lindsay Porter
Assistant Director

Communications by the numbers:
3,721 Facebook followers  
4,137 Twitter followers
1,987 Instagram followers 
9,808 newsletter email contacts — 32% open rate, 12% click rate
1,013 JEA Listserv followers
188 LinkedIn followers

Communications highlights:

  • Facebook engagement is up, but overall followers are down 2% from last year. Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn followers continue to grow. JEA Listserv participation is also down 17%. 
  • Started cleaning up the JEA email marketing lists to remove multiple addresses for the same contact. 
  • Updated JEA advertising and sponsorship packages to include digital advertising on websites, email marketing and social media. New web ad spots were created on JEA.org for news posts. 
  • JEA Member Roll Call efforts with personalized profile forms ended this summer with a near 55% participation rate. Now, new and updated profile fields are part of the membership and renewal process at JEA.org so we will encourage members to complete the profile information as they engage with the website.  
  • Refreshed the style for certificates, awards and stationery. New certificates created for lifetime members and mentors.
  • Completed six hours of Claris FileMaker Pro training with Kate Dubiel. Our use of FileMaker would equate to using PageMaker in 2021 — it works, but we are missing so many new features that would help improve the entire system, our processes and data integrations (with email marketing, event programming, awards forms and more). We will complete at least 10 additional hours of training as we work to update our database system.
  • JEA staff performed an audit of the membership process and communication points along the way. Hope to make some efficiency improvements this fall and winter.
  • Revitalized the JEA LinkedIn account in preparation for the executive director search. It is not a channel we will actively promote with our members, but it may be a way to connect with new members, professional speakers and potential advertisers.

Convention highlights:

  • Spring 2021 convention platform — TalentLMS — was a success. Total participation at 5,855 makes it the largest spring convention on record with advisers and students from 350 schools. With one adviser-teacher registration, the teacher got classroom-wide access for all of their students. 
  • Fall 2021 convention will also use the TalentLMS platform with the same program model as the spring. We’re planning for more than 100 on-demand videos with access from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15.
  • We are moving forward with plans for an in-person spring convention in Los Angeles April 7-9. All attendees, speakers and vendors will need to show proof of vaccination.

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

As I write this report during National Yearbook Week, two days after News Engagement Day, my brain and body are exhausted, but my teacher-adviser heart is full. I know many of you can relate. We continue to face challenging circumstances, but the students under our charge continue to inspire us through their courage, resilience, creativity, devotion and excellence as journalists.

For the past few months, much of my time has been devoted to preparing for the upcoming vacancy in JEA’s executive director position by conducting research, evaluating our host institution contract with Kansas State University, working through the logistics of posting the job and waiting for various approvals. The search committee and I are eager to share the job description in as many networks as possible and urge our members to do the same. The application window is open through Nov. 30, 2021.

The other biggie, of course, is the JEA/NSPA Fall National Journalism Convention, which now has shifted to a fully online event using the same platform as last spring. Making the call on Philadelphia was a slow and careful process for both directors and, while heartbreaking, was the right decision in order to prioritize the safety of our attendees. Due largely in part to our incredible staff, we have a track record of offering high quality programming in a virtual format, and we’re committed to providing an exceptional learning experience this fall in the online convention. Our board is equally committed to making data-driven decisions and operating responsibly for long-term sustainability of JEA programs and events.

The other area of focus is one I chose, and it has been especially powerful. Our team has chosen to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion training to inform our practice as volunteer leaders and journalism educators as we seek to increase diversity and representation in JEA, draw underserved populations to student newsrooms and to the teaching and advising profession, and to elevate involvement and leadership opportunities.

Part of my own development has included an online course called “Leading Change in Organizations” and the “Foundations of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Teachout,” “Addressing Inequity and Promoting Change in Organizations” and “Courageous Conversations for Racial Healing.” I look forward to sharing JEA’s diversity statement and plans for a national diversity audit initiative as soon as possible.

Some of my other efforts have included:

I’ve also enjoyed working with two new mentees and serving as a judge for JEA China’s Youth Observation Contest, and this month I look forward to producing our NCTE session, “Scholastic Media Empowers Students to Use Their Voices to Address Inequalities and Inform Their Communities,” with Evelyn Lauer, MJE. The NCTE 2021 convention theme is “Equity, Justice and Antiracist Teaching.”

As I said, my heart is full. I am proud, impressed and grateful. Thank you for your efforts teaching and advising journalism. Thank you for empowering your students to tackle each important story, and thank you for going the extra mile to help them achieve the impossible — again and again. Thank you for fighting for students’ First Amendment freedoms and defending their courageous efforts to inform and engage their communities on topics that matter. Thank you for supporting our profession with your time, expertise, membership and loyalty — and for supporting each other.

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

Boy, what interesting times we continue to live in. As I’ve reflected on the time since my last semiannual report, I am reminded of a few things I’ve tried to keep in the forefront as we’ve returned to school. First and foremost, it’s OK to not be the same media we were when we went home in 2020. My staff and I have had to start again from ground zero, and, while that can be frustrating, it’s important for us as teachers/advisers to scale back our expectations to meet the needs of our students. Just because it was always done one way doesn’t mean it has to continue that way. 

I’ve tried to think this same way in approaching my job as vice president. It’s important for us all to remember we are volunteers in one of the largest and most important organizations in our country. What we do matters. But we need to be purposeful in supporting each other through some of the roughest times in our profession.

Some of my other efforts have included:

  • Taking the online courses “Leading Change in Organizations” and “Courageous Conversations for Racial Healing.” 
  • Serving on the search committee for the new executive director for JEA.
  • Meeting with Sergio Yanes, CJE, who will serve as director-at-large to fill a board vacancy to acclimate him to some JEA initiatives.
  • Writing an article for the website dealing with socioeconomic diversity.
  • Working with the Team Storytelling Workshop July 7 at Advisers Institute in New Orleans and presenting two sessions.
  • Working with one new and one second-year mentee while also serving on the mentoring committee.
  • Overseeing our first on-site Partner Project experience since the pandemic. Many thanks to Michelle Balmeo, MJE, Leslie Dennis and Sandra Coyer, MJE, for their work in Washington state to make our first live experience in a few years remarkable for the students there.

Finally, I am especially humbled and honored to have been named this year’s JEA Carl Towley Award recipient. It means the world to be recognized for the work I’ve done, but I want to be really clear in saying I believe it’s more the work WE’VE done as an organization. You see, if we don’t take the time to turn around at some point in our career to bring someone else along and help them grow, then our work doesn’t have as much purpose. I hope everyone reading will stop and take a moment to reach out to someone you know and encourage them in some way that strengthens them as scholastic media advisers. It’s well worth the time.

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

When I wrote the March 2021 report, I remember feeling like the pandemic was finally retreating. I’d gotten my first vaccination shot and was listening eagerly to predictions of a return to normal by the summer and a relatively normal school year in the fall. Alas, as we now know, the Delta variant made that giant leap forward feel more like a shuffle, and we are still waiting for a normal we can barely remember.

Despite what has changed, however, the need for robust student speech protection has remained constant. If anything, a year of lockdown, pandemic safety precautions (and violations) and student protests has led to even more censorship. One of the most appalling recent examples was the principal at Bigelow High School (Arkansas) physically cutting a “year in review” spread out of the yearbook due to fears of “community backlash.” You can read more about this event on the SPLC’s website. This case is especially egregious given Arkansas has a strong New Voices law, which the principal clearly violated. From telling students they “aren’t allowed” to take photos of COVID-19 safety violations to telling them any coverage of race-related issues is propaganda, they are facing tremendous pressure. Although the Supreme Court’s 8-1 ruling on B.L. v. Mahanoy affirmed students do have First Amendment rights off campus, we — as a scholastic journalism community — have much work to do to support courageous student journalists in our schools.

As a committee, SPRC is developing a plan to partner with professional and academic organizations to amplify the issue of censorship threatening student voices across the country. We plan to sponsor student contests and publish outside of our own scholastic bubble to call attention to this dangerous trend. We look forward to sharing our progress on these initiatives in the spring.

SPRC works in teams with members 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; Emilee Hussack, 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 areas listed below, 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.

Constitution Day 2021: Matt Smith, CJE, led a team to another celebration of Constitution Day Sept. 17. Lessons and student activities included the following:

If you would like to create a lesson plan or activity for next year’s celebration, reach out to Matt Smith directly: matthewssmith17@gmail.com

New Voices: SPRC works closely with SPLC to support New Voices legislative efforts around the country. We also work to support private school press freedom. SPLC attorney Sommer Ingram Dean and I co-presented on a panel with National Association of Independent Schools legal counsel Megan Mann at the inaugural Private School Journalism Symposium July 2021; it was a fascinating conversation with private school advisers, heads and students about student voice in private schools. We had two new private schools join the FAPFA winners last year and hope to bring more on board, despite the fact only California and Rhode Island provide legislative protection for private school student voices. 

More broadly, New Voices work continues in many committee member states, including helping with New Voices implementation in states where a law has passed. Members of the SPRC are in regular communication with Hillary Davis and Hadar Harris, and we work closely to strategize for New Voices legislation across the nation. I’m eager to see where the SPRC/SPLC partnership will go.

Here are some other highlights from members’ work:

New Voices Implementation: (Led by Kathy Schrier and Vince DeMiero) We are pleased to announce the recent release of KNOW YOUR PRESS FREEDOM LAW: A Guide to Washington’s New Voices Act, a booklet and pilot project produced by the Student Press Law Center. The 12-page publication explains the specifics of the Washington state law as it pertains to student journalists, advisers and school officials. A digital version of the guide was distributed to all superintendents in the state the week of Sept. 20, and the rollout will continue with hard copy distribution statewide to media advisers during October. The digital team at SPLC has launched a public relations push to coincide with distribution. The goal is to produce similar guides for other New Voices states, once it is determined if Washington’s version of the guide will improve understanding and compliance to the law statewide.

New Jersey New Voices Update: As you know, New Jersey passed our New Voices legislation June 24, 2021, with both chambers voting unanimously, after six years of effort by our NVNJ team. The bill was combined into one bill June 30, now called S108 Aca (1R) 

We are still waiting for Governor Murphy to sign the bill, but in the meanwhile, we are moving forward with the SPLC and the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, and our new team of NVNJ participants from the SPLC Student Leadership Institute. John Tagliareni worked with that team during the institute and during the summer, and their focus was on promoting and publicizing the New Voices policy to have an effective rollout when the governor signs the bill. 

Our prime sponsor, Senator Nia Gill, would have heard if he had any problem with the bill, and she has not. We have been encouraged by the governor’s office that he will sign. 

Blogs: (Led by John Bowen) Our blog site, jeasprc.org, houses JEA’s original SPRC and shared legal and ethical materials. These legal background and case decisions, and models for mission statements, editorial policy, ethical staff manual and procedural guidelines, taken together provide a strong foundation for solid journalism that adapts to the latest in journalism’s technology and style. We also maintain and update information on current issues from scholastic and commercial worlds of journalism and on vast topics of historical and reference value.

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 since September 2020 with a weekly average of 300+ during school weeks and a high this year of 1,200 in the week of Sept. 6, 2021. Since the spring report in March, contributors are Stan Zoller and the members of the Constitution Day group: Audrey Wagstaff, Matthew Smith, John Bowen, Mark Dzula and Kristin Taylor See jeasprc.org for their work. 

We are actively seeking new voices for this blog. If you are passionate about student press freedom and would like to contribute, please reach out to Kristin or John directly.

National Student Media Contests: Kathy Schrier will act as lead judge for the Spring 2021 NSMC Law and Ethics test, which was modified from one Vince DeMiero originally developed in 2020 for Nashville. John Bowen, Candace Perkins Bowen, Jan Ewell, Audrey Wagstaff and Kristin Taylor are additional judges.

Social media (Led by Andrea Negri): This group posts to social media regularly 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 Listserv 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 to ensure our community knows the support is private and confidential. 

FAPFA Award: After updating the forms for 2021-2022, we have started promoting this year’s First Amendment Press Freedom Award. If you feel your school actively supports and honors the First Amendment through its student media, consider submitting an entry for this year’s First Amendment Press Freedom Award. The award looks at the entire student media program at the school: digital and print newspaper, yearbook and student broadcast. This award is sponsored by the Journalism Education Association, National Scholastic Press Association and Quill and Scroll Society; we work as a team to judge each submission. Those schools receiving the award will be honored at the opening ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Los Angeles.

Information and Round One submission forms for the First Amendment Press Freedom Award (formerly the Let Freedom Ring Award) are available at this link. Round One applications must be received by Dec. 15.

Thank You: Given the past 18 months, I must end with sincere appreciation to each and every member of the SPRC team and to everyone else who continues to fight for student voice despite all the challenges we are facing. Your commitment to student journalism and press freedom fills me with awe and gratitude. I look forward to eventually seeing you all in person once again. 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.

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

The return to quasi-normal also has some welcome changes on my front. After three years away from yearbook advising, I’m back at it, which makes my heart sing. I’m still advising newsmag and online, so it’s all J all day, right where I belong.

Since my last report, I’ve been:

  • Working with curriculum coordinators Megan Fromm, MJE, and Abri Nelson, CJE, to refresh and renew curriculum to better serve our members and their students’ needs. 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 terms of delivery and instructional level.
    • Updated materials and resources.
  • Revising and modifying lessons within the curriculum based on member feedback and usability needs as we become aware of them.
  • Promoting both the JEA curriculum and other JEA resources in social media groups on Facebook to attract new members and inform existing members about resources they may not know exist.
  • 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.

Sergio Yanes, CJE
Arvada High School
7951 W. 65th Ave.
Arvada, CO 80004

It has been a busy and exciting first few weeks since my appointment. Much of my time has been spent getting caught up and learning.

Within my first two weeks, I attended my first virtual board meeting, and I met virtually with several board members as part of my onboarding process. Sarah Nichols, MJE, explained board operations and procedures. Fellow directors-at-large Katie Merritt, MJE, and Brenda Field, MJE, helped me understand more about my role and brainstormed some next steps to help me move forward. Val Kibler, MJE, brought me up to speed on current projects and initiatives as well as provided me with some perspective for some of my goals as director-at-large.

I’m excited to begin some work supporting our diversity, equity and inclusion directive. I would like to continue the work already being done on the DEI page to provide more support and resources. I’m also looking forward to working with the Outreach Academy initiative so that it may continue and grow, especially now as we (hopefully) step closer toward returning to in-person conventions.

Personally, I am ready to earn my MJE certification, and I plan to take the certification test in the spring and begin my project shortly thereafter.

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

Since the last report, I’ve been continuing to work on board goals 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:

  • Assisting headquarters staff in contacting members about completing the JEA Roll Call.
  • Participating in two different DEI training courses.

Last winter, I facilitated a virtual workshop for a previous Partner Project applicant school. 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.

Although this school year resembles a typical school year for many of us, advisers are certainly dealing with new hurdles. Institutional memory has been lost. Staff training needs are greater. Travel to in-person workshops and conventions isn’t possible for many, but virtual solutions won’t always suit the need. Many school boards and administrations are looking at student publications through a different lens and with increased scrutiny. I remain committed to working to find and create systems of support for advisers dealing with these new realities and to ensuring that JEA is an organization that is there for all advisers no matter the circumstances.

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

I’ve enjoyed continuing to welcome new members, assisting with navigating the JEA website and providing more direction as needed. Ensuring new members feel supported is so important to me as JEA provides so many incredible resources, and I want to ensure everyone can find what they need to be successful. If there is a resource you feel has been underlooked, please email me so we can discuss how to best present that information through guides and videos.

Our monthly board meetings have been packed full and incredibly productive. I am lucky to work with such an incredible group of journalism advisers, and I learn from each of them every time we meet. I participated in the Courageous Conversations about Race virtual workshop along with other members of the board as part of our effort toward increasing diversity, equity and inclusion. I cannot recommend the workshop enough!

As a long-time JEA member, I recently decided to put my money where my mouth is and became a JEA lifetime member. You should do the same!

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

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

We began our awards announcements Aug. 23, naming Gillian Paxton, Indiana University, and Chris Heady, University of Kansas, the recipients of the Future Journalism Teacher Scholarship. Over the course of the next eight days, we honored our 2021 Friends of Scholastic Journalism (Elizabeth Brown, Jay Hartwell, Gary Metzker); Administrator of the Year (Scott Kizner, Ph.D.); Medal of Merit (Andrea Negri, MJE; Mike Simons, MJE); Rising Star (Laurel Wicke; Carly Gates, CJE; Jessica Hanthorn, CJE; Joanna Chadwick; Candice Thomas; Jackie Davis); and the Carl Towley Award (Valerie Kibler, MJE). 

We were able to hold our first in-person surprise award announcement for the 2021 Broadcast Adviser of the Year Andrew (A.J.) Chambers, MJE, Sept.2. Leslie Dennis, director of Scholastic Media for the South Carolina Scholastic Press Association and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association, traveled to Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, South Carolina, to present Chambers with his award.

JEA also named Patrick Moring, CJE, of Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Kevin Patterson, CJE, of Oviedo (Florida) High School, as Distinguished Broadcast Advisers. The three Special Recognition Broadcast Advisers are Lindsay Benedict, CJE, McLean (Virginia) High School; Justin Ford, Park Hill and Park Hill South high schools, Kansas City-area, Missouri; and Chris Waugaman, MJE, Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia.

By moving the deadline from March 15 to May 15, we were able to double the number of applicants from 2020 to 2021. 

In lieu of an awards luncheon, we will be creating a pre-recorded video awards ceremony that will air in November. The video will include brief speeches from Kibler and Chambers, as well as recognition of fall award winners, CJE and MJEs. The video ceremony will run approximately 30 minutes.

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

Broadcast Adviser of the Year judges: Alyssa Boehringer; Michelle Coro, CJE; Christina Geabhardt, MJE; and Jim McCarthy.

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.
    • Collect state contacts to be used by the committee for advice and feedback on information to be posted or emailed to the membership — currently 16 states represented.
  • Increase awareness and support for CTE teachers through networking.
    • CTE Happy Hour May 12
      Members in attendance discussed anticipated needs for the 2021-22 school year. Documentation is one area of concern, as is equipment — particularly for campuses that have been virtual for most of the 2020-21 school year. 
    • CTE committee is seeking new members to formulate plans and activities for the year.
    • February is National CTE Month, so it might be a good time to feature model programs (in some way that does not conflict with Scholastic Journalism Week)
  • Promote certification exams.
    • Postponed until the spring convention.

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

Membership: The committee currently consists of eight 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. Jeff Browne, MJE, was added as the new collegiate member this summer. 

Goals: Once we are able to all meet together in person, we want to calibrate our scoring for the short answer questions on the CJE. My goal since becoming chair has been to get the MJE projects on the website, but the logistics don’t seem to be as easy as I thought. 

Happenings: Online testing has continued. It has been challenging to coordinate schedules of proctors and testers. We tested 10 members this summer. We are currently in the middle of fall testing. When it’s completed, we’ll have tested an additional 20 members. 

The certification applications were moved to the membership side of the website, so people can’t access them unless they are current JEA members. We have had problems with people who aren’t members applying. 

We added several new activities to better meet the needs of yearbook reps and to offer additional options to all members. 

Since spring, 13 new CJEs and eight new MJEs have been approved. In addition, 21 CJEs and 11 MJEs were renewed by the Oct. 1 deadline.

For the Board: Recently, we’ve had a lot of applicants who aren’t JEA members or have let their membership lapse apply for CJE or MJE. They often seem surprised when they realize their membership has lapsed. I believe many people are mixing up their NSPA and JEA memberships. State directors, please encourage your members to get certified, and remind your members to keep memberships current. We have hopefully solved the application issue by moving all of the application links to the membership area of the website.

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


  1. 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. These could be great MJE projects for some members.
  2. We would like to create an informational brochure/handbook for local contest speakers. Hopefully when conventions resume in person, we can get this completed. It would be helpful to have better information to provide to our guests.
  3. We do have some new contests we would like to pilot in the future including:
    • Separate Broadcast Anchor to On-Air Anchor and Broadcast Anchor/Spot News Reporter
    • Team Photo Story
    • Online News Package Contest (24-Hour Entry) Online Submission 
    • Podcasting 


1) National Student Media Contests
We had 438 students compete in the spring 2021 virtual contest and there were 218 winning entries. We had 641 students compete in the fall 2020 event.. We provided contestants with online critiques as well as a video “critique” session. We provided our critics and judges with $25 egift cards as a thank you for their time and expertise in lieu of being able to comp convention registration or provide a dinner event.

2) Jr. High/Middle School National Media Contest 

The Spring 2021 contest featured the updated categories and rules. There were 195 entries, down from the 367 in the Spring 2019 event, which was the last time we ran the contest. Schools and judges used the online contest system for the first time with great success. After a review of the contest process, some rules were clarified, and a few updates were made to the contest system to accommodate the differences in this contest from the entries in the NSMC. Also, because contestants now get the same type of written feedback on their entries rather than just a ranking, the entry fee will be increased to $10 per student (not entry). This will help to cover the cost of the $25 gift cards for critics as well as mailing expenses. The Jr. High/Middle School Contest descriptions are here.

3) Visit with JEA Headquarters Staff

Priscilla Frost and I were able to travel to Manhattan for a couple of days over the summer to meet with the staff. The primary work was meeting with Assistant Director Lindsay Porter to go through all of the contest programs and talk through the on-site contest processes. Priscilla was also able to take a thorough inventory of all the contest materials and order what was needed for the next on-site event. We also discussed the future of the NSMC in general and possibilities for more technology use at conventions.

4) National Journalism Quiz Bowl

This will be on hold until our convention can be held in person.

5) Upcoming JEA Contest Deadlines (*Tentative)

Spring 2022 Los Angeles (April 7-9)
NSMC Registration Opens / Prompts Available: Feb. 7
NSMC Registration Closes/Online Submissions Due: Monday, March 14
Critiques due: March 31

Spring 2022 Jr. High/Middle School National Media Contest
Registration Opens April 4
Materials Due April 15
Judging Complete May 2
Winners announced early May

Fall 2022 St. Louis (Nov. 10-13)*
NSMC Registration Opens / Prompts Available: Monday, Sept. 12
NSMC Registration Closes/Online Submissions Due: Monday, Oct. 17 (five weeks to complete)
Critiques due Sunday, Nov. 6 (three weeks to critique)

Spring 2023 San Francisco (April 20-22)*
NSMC Registration Opens / Prompts Available: Feb. 20
NSMC Registration Closes/Online Submissions Due: Monday, March 27
Critiques due: April 16 

Spring 2023 Jr. High/Middle School National Media Contest*
Registration opens April 3
Materials due April 17
Judging complete May 1
Winners announced early May

For The Board:

The contest team appreciates the committee chairs/members, board members and state directors who help with critiques when you already do so much for JEA. We do need help spreading the word about contests and the great opportunity they provide for students and their advisers. We know the cancellation of recent in-person conventions has hurt the entry numbers, but we believe the virtual contest option offers those students who have not been able to travel the chance to participate. We want to see more schools take advantage of this chance to enter the NSMC.

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

Membership: Aaron Manfull, MJE, chair; Tracy Anderson, Michelle Balmeo, MJE; Amanda Bright, MJE; AJ Chambers, MJE; Fred Haas, Dan Loving, Sarah Nichols, MJE; Spencer O’Daniel, MJE; Jonathan Rogers, MJE; Julie Tiedens, Mark Webber.

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 1,560 posts published (roughly 2.5 per week), 1,014,125 visits, and 1,691,065 pageviews.  Nine different people contributed posts to the site during the past six months. Members were notified in the fall of 2016 that in order to remain on the committee, they would need to contribute at least one thing to the site during a 12-month period. Twelve people have qualified to remain on the committee for posting once in the last 12 months. One committee member is considered a contributor for posting at least three times over the past six months.


  • Aaron Manfull (MJE) – 25 posts
  • Spencer O’Daniel (CJE) – 4 posts

Also contributing to the site during the time period were: Fred Haas; AJ Chambers, MJE, Mark Webber; Bradley Wilson, MJE; Dan Loving, Jonathan Rogers, MJE; Amanda Bright, MJE, and Julie Tiedens.

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. 

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 summer journalism workshops and other advertisers as well. 

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

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

Here are the links I said I would make available:
Visitor data for JEADigitalMedia.org
Guide to Moving Online
Guide to Video and Broadcast
Guide to Multimedia Tools
Guide to Live Video Streaming of Sports Events
Guide to Adobe Tutorials
Guide to Podcasting

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


  • Grow the number of entries in the JEA Journalist of the Year competition. JEA received 33 qualifying entries for its 2021 competition. The goal remains to receive a qualifying entry from every state, DC and international membership, and I am ready and willing to help provide turnkey support for any state director who needs to build or boost a state competition.
  • Recruit a long-term presenting sponsor that will enable us to sustain and grow the JOY program. More details will be discussed at the JEA board meeting in November
  • Continue building our library of resource videos for JOY applicants. More details available in the Happenings section below


  • The JEA Journalist of the Year scoring rubric, which saw a major overhaul for 2021, remains the same for 2022. We encourage state directors to utilize it in their qualifying competitions to ensure a smooth transition for state winners advancing to the JEA competition. 
  • One change to note in the qualifications for entry: Applicants are no longer required to have two years of scholastic journalism experience, though most will. 
  • JEA has increased the number of runner-up winners for 2022 to four, and the runner-up scholarship amount to $1,000 (up from $850) 
  • In response to expanding global membership, we have agreed to increase the number of international candidates to up to three, with no more than one winner per country. 
  • We will again hold “Zoom-ins” to provide prospective JOY applicants with insight into various areas of the rubric. Videos already exist on JEA.org for five of the 11 rubric areas. Stay tuned for dates of the new events in December and January. 
  • Previously recorded tutorial videos are still available to students and advisers including the Journalist of the Year overview session from the Fall 2020 National High School Journalism Convention and a live Q-and-A session from that event as well.


In April, we virtually celebrated our 2021 class of Journalists of the Year, led by winner Riley Atkinson of Kansas. She was featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show for her accomplishment! (exclamation point added because Kelly Clarkson just evokes that punctuation mark from this fan). Our runners-up for 2021 were Eddy Binford-Ross of Oregon, Grant Johnson of Texas and Anna Vazhaeparambil of California.

Additionally, we recognized three Aspiring Young Journalists, outstanding middle school/junior high journalists: Winner Christopher Denkovich of Pennsylvania and runners-up Nahshon Cooper of Florida and Olivia Savage of Arkansas.

None of this would be possible without some amazing judges who spent time meticulously reviewing entries. While I will sadly confess this group never received hand-written notes I very much meant to send them, I would like to thank the incredible cadre of evaluators who helped select our JOY and Aspiring winners. 

  • Natalie Brown, CJE (Texas)
  • Ava Butzu (Michigan)
  • Brenda Field, MJE (Illinois)
  • Christina Geabhart, MJE (Missouri)
  • Rebekah Goode (Georgia)
  • Susan Gregory, MJE (Pennsylvania)
  • Jessica Hunziker, MJE (Colorado)
  • Nima Kapadia (Texas)
  • Jack Kennedy, MJE (Colorado)
  • Kari Koshiol (Minnesota)
  • Dennis Leizear, CJE (Delaware)
  • Michael Malcom-Bjorklund, CJE (Florida)
  • Jim McCrossen (Kansas)
  • Judith Murray, MJE (Arkansas)
  • Kate Plows, CJE (Pennsylvania)
  • Christina Porcelli (Florida)
  • David Ragsdale, CJE (Georgia)
  • Kristi Rathbun, MJE (Colorado)
  • Danielle Ryan, MJE (California)
  • Emily Smith, CJE (Kansas)
  • Brit Taylor (Florida)
  • Leslie Thompson, CJE (Colorado)
  • Lisa VanEtta (Texas)
  • Mitch Ziegler, CJE (California)
  • Bretton Zinger, MJE (Massachusetts)

If you’re interested in joining our jury for 2022, please reach out early and often! 

For the Board: Thank you for approving the addition of a fourth runner-up and for raising the scholarship value of that award to $1,000. I have asked Sarah and Kelly to add a discussion about award sponsorship opportunities to our November board meeting and look forward to a dialogue at that time. I respectfully seek advice on how to grow the JOY program in states that attract low to no interest. Last year was a challenging year to grow anything, but somewhat returning to normal this year will hopefully help.

Jane Blystone, MJE
Mentoring Committee

Membership: It has been a busy spring for the Mentoring Program. We have welcomed and trained 12 new mentors: 

  • Timothy Cain, CJE, New Hampshire
  • Erin Coggins, MJE, Alabama
  • Josh Davis, Ohio
  • Samuel Hanley, CJE, Indiana
  • Laura Hayden, Kansas
  • Alicia Merrifield, CJE, Texas 
  • Spencer O’Daniel, MJE, Kansas 
  • Jonathan Rogers, MJE, Iowa
  • Julie Tiedens, Wisconsin
  • Lauren Wagner, MJE, Indiana 
  • Mitch Ziegler, CJE, California 
  • Beth Zilk, CJE, Oregon

We also welcomed back to our mentoring team Patrick Johnson, MJE, Iowa, and Nancy Olson, CJE, Vermont. We have added 81 new mentees to our ranks for fall term. This brings the fall total of individuals being mentored to 228.


Our main goal is to help each new mentee get a trained JEA mentor. We have accomplished this by connecting as many new mentees with mentors in their home state as possible. Several of our mentees are being mentored virtually by mentors in other states, especially if their state has no mentors or if the mentors within their state are at capacity with their number of mentees. We use a cohort model to mentor. Individuals requesting a mentor after Oct. 1 will be placed in the spring cohort and will be connected with mentors before Feb. 1, 2022. We have mentors in 28 states, leaving 22 states without mentors.

In addition, we look for potential mentors among our JEA membership ranks. Interested JEA members can contact the mentoring committee at mentoring@jea.org to learn more about the mentoring program and how to get trained.

Although we do seek funding from other agencies, primarily the Yellow Chair Foundation, the pandemic has reduced that work since we are now on our third virtual convention.

Happenings: We currently train all mentors online using the Participate platform. We have hosted several Zoom meetings with new mentors. The committee meets virtually monthly to discuss ways we can help our mentors as they help our mentees. We also publish a Mentor Update biweekly to help mentors support new mentees. The mentoring program is a collaborative effort on many levels as we reach out to grow great journalism teachers who are building strong journalism programs.

Awards/Honors: Several of our mentors have earned some top awards this year. Val Kibler, MJE, will be honored with the Carl Towley Award, JEA’s highest honor. Mitch Ziegler, CJE, has earned the H.L. Hall Yearbook Adviser of the Year Award. A.J Chambers, MJE, has earned the Broadcast Adviser of the Year Award. Andrea Negri, MJE, will receive the JEA Medal of Merit. Linda Barrington, MJE, will receive the College Media Advisers’ Distinguished Adviser Award for four-year magazines. One of our mentees, Jackie Davis, will receive a Rising Star award.

For the Board: We look forward to working with the JEA headquarters staff for future funding for mentor/mentee travel to face-to-face conventions.

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

Scholastic Journalism Week falls on the last full week of February. This year, the committee has decided SJW 2022 will occur Monday-Friday, which is February 21-25. This year’s theme is “Amplifying Voices,” which asks students and advisers how they are going to not only “amplify their voices,” but how they are going to amplify the voices of those that may be “unheard.”

Each day is going to have a theme and activities attached, which advisers can  use not only that week, but also throughout the school year. Monday is #MakingConnections, which asks scholastic journalism programs to make connections with other programs, locally or nationally (i.e., pen pals). Tuesday is #UnMute yourself, which focuses on the national efforts of New Voices in states that have passed it and states that are still needing support for legislation. Wednesday is #SharingStories, which focuses on sharing stories of voices that are historically underrepresented. Friday is #DemocracyInAction, which asks advisers and students to not only educate themselves on the First Amendment, but spotlights organizations that are allies of student free press, such as JEA, SPLC and PSJA.

The committee decided to partner with Hadar Harris and SPLC and give as much spotlight to Student Press Freedom Day as possible on Thursday of that week! It is also the Tinker Anniversary, which Harris will coordinate with her team and the SJW Committee to bring as much attention to discuss free speech, free press and student press freedom.

Similar to last year, we will use the SJW Twitter account to feature schools, allowing smaller schools and schools that normally don’t get that much attention to get some publicity on JEA’s platforms. We will also continue the SJW Logo Contest during the Fall Convention/National Student Media Contests.

Committee members include:– PJ Cabrera, CJE, Coordinator, Converse, TX
– Louisa Avery, MJE, London, England
– Philip Caston, CJE, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
– Adriana Chavira, MJE, Lake Balboa, California
– Jordyn Kiel, CJE, St. Charles, Missouri
– Julie Kuo, CJE, Ross, California
– Shanon Woolf, CJE, Peachtree City, Georgia

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

The fall 2021 issue included a great lead package based on sessions by Sergio Luis Yanes, CJE, at the JEA Advisers Institute in New Orleans with stories by Pam Escobar and Charles Erikson, CJE. In addition, the issue included:

  • Writing headlines by Joe Humphrey, MJE, with Shari Adwers, MJE.
  • Suggestions for writing good headlines anywhere by Griff Singer.
  • Online headlines aren’t the same as print by Daren Low.
  • Spread the love.
  • Herd on the streets, a Q&A with Steve Rutter, by Bradley Wilson, MJE.
  • Mahanoy v. B.L. by Tom Eveslage, MJE.
  • The order of adjectives.

Advertisers included: ArchiveinaBox, BNC, Bright Printing, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, JEA-NSMC, JEA-YAOY, Jostens Inc, K-State, JMC, Kent State, School Paper Express, SNO Sites

The cover photo was by Mollie Gallagher, Van Alstyne High School (Texas)

The winter 2021 issue included a truly in-depth package centered around Instagram by Courtney Hanks, MJE. It was her MJE project — 30 Days of Instagram. In addition, the issue included:

  • Anecdotes by Kelly Huddleston based on an Advisers Institute session by Jim McCarthy. 
  • Social Media Strategy by Katrina Berry-Ivy based on an Advisers Institute session by Orlando Flores Jr.
  • Pronoun Usage by Bradley Wilson, MJE.
  • an in-depth package on building trust by Kadee Harper with Trusting News material and information from Lynn Walsh.
  • a Q&A about Mirrorless Cameras with photo experts by Bradley Wilson.

Advertisers included: ArchiveinaBox, BetterBNC, Bright Printing School Division LLC, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, Journalism Education Association, Kansas State University, Kent State University, School Paper Express, SNO Sites

The cover photo was by Elizabeth Chan, McKinney High School (Texas).

The mirrorless camera story was edited for print. The full version and additional information was posted on the JEA Digital Media website.


  • Our editorial team, including Beth Butler and Cindy Horchem, CJE, really push to make each issue informative and entertaining. I really like how Beth and Cindy offer sidebar ideas, content ideas and design ideas. We don’t always agree on comma placement, but we agree to disagree and move on. Plus, it’s just a comma.
  • Because of the pandemic, canceled conventions and virtual conventions, and, hence, fewer National Student Media Contests, I’ve run short of potential images for the cover. This is just another challenge from the pandemic.
  • We had some communication problems with the national office staff regarding advertising. There is now a new rate card linked online. I would prefer the information be available in searchable HTML format with a linked PDF, as it always has been. However, I was not involved in the development of the rate card. I’m not sure why the advertising deadlines weren’t included in the list of deadlines posted online.
  • Whoever is maintaining the JEA Twitter account has started tweeting the content from the magazine once per story. These tweets look great. However, I used to, in accordance with best practices for Twitter, tweet each story two or three times and each advertiser two or three times. I really thought it would be simpler for whoever is maintaining that account to just retweet me as many newspapers do with their reporters. Now, the advertisers are not getting included on Twitter at all. I received numerous compliments on this value-added and am disappointed it stopped. 
  • I have made no progress using the Howard Spanogle donations on the online database of stories, topics and authors. I hope to do so this semester.

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

Membership: As of October, we have 30 international JEA members. China, with seven members, has the highest membership of non-U.S. countries.

Events/Happenings: Be sure to check out virtual events (both prior and upcoming) from the Canadian Youth Journalism Project, which is always seeking partnerships with U.S. schools and has been especially strong in providing diversity, equity and inclusion training to high school students.

JEA members were instrumental in judging for the Youth Observation Contest and Youth Impact Contest from JEA China, which combined had a staggering 4,000 students involved.

For the board: Exciting changes are afoot for the Journalist of the Year competition, especially as it pertains to international students. Joe Humphrey deserves a hearty thank you for working so hard to expand opportunities for international students while still protecting the integrity and significance of JOY and JOY finalist honors.

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

Membership: Alabama has 18 JEA memberships. JEA membership is encouraged at Alabama Scholastic Press Association workshops and conferences, at Troy University’s J Day, in emails, on Facebook and by word of mouth. 

JEA membership has tremendous benefits. 

Happenings: Alabama Scholastic Press Association and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association have traditionally coordinated their conferences. 

Check out ASPA here. ASPA is also on Facebook and Twitter. Find SIPA events online. SIPA convention is usually in early March. Alabama also provides mentoring for new advisers.

ASPA events and deadlines: 

  • Fall: ASPA is offering workshops to schools throughout the fall. Journalism students’ individual needs are being met.
  • Oct. 21, 2021, Troy University J-Day.
  • Dec. 17, 2021, deadline for ASPA critiques
  • Jan. 7, 2022, deadline for ASPA’s numerous senior awards and adviser awards (see ASPA’s website for details)
  • April 1 is the deadline for the Multicultural Journalism Workshop (10-15 high school students will be selected for a free journalism workshop; see ASPA website for details) and The Long Weekend
  • Summer: (check with ASPA for exact dates) The University of Alabama’s annual Multicultural Journalism Workshop 
  • Summer: (check with ASPA for dates) The Long Weekend summer camp on the University of Alabama campus.
  • ASPA Convention for 2021 was virtual. The 2022 convention will be in person on Feb. 11.
  • ASPA Fall workshops: Fall workshops for 2021 are ongoing, check the ASPA website for workshop opportunities for Fall 2021 and Fall 2022

Highlights and goals

  • Normally, ASPA’s state convention hosts around 400.
  • Troy University normally hosts J-Day each fall with about 400 in attendance.
  • Hopefully, these face-to-face events will return soon, but for now ASPA is providing opportunities virtually and by visiting individual schools.

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

Membership: Alaska currently has four members.

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

Membership: Arizona currently has 40 JEA members. This is an increase of four members since the spring. AIPA has recently updated its membership database to Wild Apricot in hopes of tracking membership more accurately with the ultimate goal of increasing membership in both JEA and AIPA.

The Arizona Interscholastic Press Association will continue 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. 

Goals: AIPA is putting focus on rebranding the organization, increasing the organization membership and being more relevant to scholastic journalism programs in Arizona.

As state director, my goal is to get more entries for Journalist of the Year. One way for me to do this is to teach a session at the state convention to talk to students in person about the opportunity.

Events/Happenings: The results of the spring election of AIPA officers for the 2021-2022 school year are as follows:

  • President: Michelle Coro, CJE, Desert Vista HS, Phoenix
  • Treasurer: Amy McTague, Willow Canyon HS, Surprise
  • Fall Convention Coordinator: Jason Davis, CJE, Cactus Canyon Junior HS, Apache Junction; Laura Hardy, Highland HS, Gilbert HS*
  • Summer Workshop Director: Kris Urban, Corona del Sol HS, Tempe
  • Members-at-Large (2): Stan Bindell, Mingus HS, Cottonwood; Kim Fisher, Moon Valley HS, Phoenix

*Laura Hardy stepped down at the beginning of the school year as she took on another role at her school. 

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 and the AIPA Summer Workshop were cancelled 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.

The Fall State Journalism Convention hosted by AIPA is being moved to an online format due to COVID-19 and a lack of school transportation state-wide. This will be a Journalism Day that advisers across the state can take part in. 

Melanie Allen, Peggy Gregory, and Carment Wendt, MJE, continue to mentor new journalism advisers and the majority are in their second year of the process. 

AIPA is currently working on getting the Fall 2021 contest entries judged. Winners will be announced at the virtual Journalism Day Oct. 26.  

Awards/Honors/Recognition: There were no entries for the Arizona and JEA Journalist of the Year.

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

Melanie Allen stepped down as President of AIPA after having served in that role for eight years. I would like to recognize her commitment and leadership with AIPA and scholastic journalism. 

Arizona Interscholastic Press Association (AIPA) www.azaipa.org
For the Board: If there is a presentation about JOY, could I please get a copy so that I can be consistent with presenting information to potential candidates.

Justin Turner
1013 Shobe Road
Bryant, AR 72022

Membership: Arkansas membership held steady at 47. That’s a seven-member increase from one year ago.  

Major Developments: I provided a “fresh eyes review” of a national  journalism teacher licensure test. During the few months of normalcy we all got to enjoy this summer, I served as a faculty adviser at the Washington Journalism and Media conference hosted by George Mason University.  

Arkansas State Press Association News: I serve as the contest committee chair and we are currently working on updating rubrics and revising the number of contests we offer. 

Goals: A lot of journalism teachers in Arkansas are retiring or pursuing other interests outside of the classroom, so I’d like to begin a campaign to reach out to new advisers across the state via email. Collecting that contact information is the biggest hurdle I currently face.  

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.  

Like last spring, I’d like to reach out and thank the leadership for their work. 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. You are seen and appreciated. 

Mitch Ziegler, CJE

Membership: California currently has 268 members. There are two major regional branches – JEANC (Northern California) and SCJEA (Southern California). 


NorCal Media Week: This event ran Oct. 2-9. With COVID restrictions, this was a virtual event which included making staff videos, newspaper and yearbook critiques, roundtable discussions, Cell Phone Photo contest, and Lede contest. 

JEANC conducted its annual contest, presenting 255 awards to students in various categories May 14.


The annual Wake Up Call was Sept. 18. The keynote speaker was KPCC and LAist education reporter Kyle Stokes. The students’ rights closing speaker was Jason Shepard, media law scholar, professor and chair of the department of communications at CSU Fullerton. In between, students and advisers attended two breakout sessions. Topics included design, broadcasting, podcasting, interviewing and writing, using Slack, photography, multimedia. The California State Director also presented a session on the Journalist of the Year competition. There were also critiques for yearbook, newspaper/newsmagazine and websites. 

J-Day will be Oct. 23 This FREE workshop is sponsored by CSUN, Los Angeles Times High School Insider and SCJEA. The first portion of the event is focused on Student Media Contests. After the contests, there are workshops mostly led by LA Times journalists and a professional panel. J-Day is on Zoom again this year.

Awards and Honors: Three publications made the NSPA top 10 in the number of Pacemakers received in the last 100 years: Decamhiam (second highest), Del Campo High School, Wings (third highest) Arrowhead Christian Academy, Rampages (fifth highest) Casa Roble High School. Twenty other publications from California made the top 100. Schools also received two online and two yearbook Pacemakers. From CSPA there were 10 Gold Crowns and 22 Silver Crowns

Gary Metzker, California State Long Beach, was named a JEA Friend of Scholastic Journalism and Christina Levinson, Bear River High School, Grass Valley, was named a JEA Rising Star.


  • Continue to promote JOY competition in Southern California. I ran a session in September for SCJEA about the competition. I also moved our deadline for the state competition up two weeks so our candidate can better prepare for the competition.
  • I am now a mentor to four advisers from California.
  • By attending JEANC and SCJEA meetings I am in a position to better coordinate cooperation between the two organizations.

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

Membership: Colorado has 89 current members of JEA. In years 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 serve as a JEA Mentor to new advisers to support them through their first year as a publication adviser. 

  • Action Plan
    • Meet once a month with mentee through Zoom calls to discuss mentee’s current publication questions and provide resources as needed

GOAL 2: To collaborate with Colorado Student Media Association Board to create professional development experiences throughout the year to support publication advisers. 

  • Action Plan
    • Meet with CSMA Board members to identify different skills and align them to strands/events that will support publication advisers. 
    • Create marketing materials that will encourage advisers to attend these professional development experiences.

Happenings: CSMA elected the new board of directors for the 2021-2023 term. The new board is listed here

Advisers and students attended our ReTHINK and Summer Adviser Workshops at Rock Canyon High School Aug. 28. Presenters included Adam Dawkins; Jack Kennedy, MJE; Jessica Hunziker, MJE; and Kristi Rathbun, MJE.

Over 900 students and advisers attended our CSMA Journalism Day at Colorado State University Sept. 30. We had 27 sessions in four 45-minute time slots for attendees to attend workshops presented by advisers and professionals. 

Awards/Honors: Individual student media contests – the CSMA Best of Colorado awards – were announced in May featuring $250 cash prizes for both the individual winners and their school student media programs. Winners were announced in May: Designer (Amanda Brauchler of Rock Canyon HS), Photographer (Jespyn Bishop of Brighton HS), Middle School/Junior High Journalist (Kayla Grenwis of Drake MS), Broadcast Journalist (Benjamin Parris of Cherry Creek HS) and Reporter (Carly Philpott of Cherry Creek HS). You can read about it here. 

In September, the CSMA Adviser of the Year Ben Reed, Monarch High School, was honored at Journalism Day. Reed advises The Pack newsmagazine, KYOT broadcast and Mohimix website. Read about it here.

Also announced in September at Journalism Day were the CSMA Administrators of the Year, principal Rex Corr and assistant principal Ryan Hollingshead of Castle View High School. Read about it here

For the Board: The new CSMA Board will be working throughout the year in their first term to find ways to bring advisers and student journalists together either in person or virtually to provide support and resources while we transition to more of an “in-person” model of learning after the hybrid and all-virtual models we endured last year.

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

Membership: Current Connecticut membership is 13. 

Events/Happenings: We plan to co-sponsor with CCSU its third annual High School Journalism Day on Press Freedom Day. The program is 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. We now have a Google Classroom for members to share ideas.

Awards/Honors: The plan is to try reintroducing the Journalist of the Year award 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: Delaware currently has four members.

Goals: I will begin reaching out to schools to increase membership.

Mary Stapp
District of Columbia

Membership:  We have 7members, holding steady from last spring. We got a little bump from the convention two years ago, but any momentum we made was lost in the pandemic. 

Happenings: I’ve been sending information to a group of (mostly) D.C. advisers about workshops, the JEA Convention and local opportunities. At public schools, teachers and students are trying to get back on their feet; response to me in particular has not been robust, but there is some. There are many unknowns surrounding the virus (where is it headed and how are we monitoring that and calculating all the possible outcomes from every step we take), but more importantly, surrounding the panoply of needs coming into school every day. This moment in time feels like a re-set. 

Goals: My goal is to spark student journalism in the D.C. area using any method that will reach the public school sector in this city. Private schools are hard at work, and I endeavor to stay in touch with them, too, sending emails to teachers, who don’t know how I got their email, whenever possible. They don’t seem to have skipped as many beats as the public schools. (The private school heartbeat is strong!)  My goal is to make this educational re-set one in which every stakeholder understands how important journalism is for high school students and how transformative it can be for individual students and school communities alike.

For the Board: Thank you for your flexibility, determination and hard work to create an educational event for students with this fall’s convention. I will continue to promote it with local advisers because I think it is a really great deal for most, and JEA creates a dynamic live educational experience that can be such a boost for students. For me, getting students “there” in any capacity will not be doable this year. Getting kids to a fall JEA convention is always a goal for me, but I could not even get a bus for my students at Roosevelt to go across town to the 2019 D.C. convention. It’s not that there is one road block; it is that there are so many. BUT, as stated in the above goals, we persevere. “That which we are, we are … strong in will”

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

Membership: We currently have 164 members. We promote membership through email blasts, mentoring, summer camps and at our regional conferences.   

FSPA has provided free state memberships for all new advisers and we have also encouraged JEA membership.

Goals: Due to the influx of new advisers, we have a large need for mentors. While our state has 21 CJEs, there are only five MJEs. I will work to encourage those with CJEs to work toward their MJE and for those who do not have a certification to take the CJE test in the spring. If there is an in-person state convention and an interest, we may be able to offer it at that time. 

Happenings:  FSPA has, like every teacher in the world, been trying to find its footing after the past 19 months. After hearing pleas and feedback of wanting in-person workshops and realizing their importance, the executive board went all in on trying to provide members that service as safely as possible. It is exciting that six of the seven districts found educational institutions willing to host the one-day workshops. Turnout will be significantly lower, but advisers are thrilled to have a little bit of normalcy back. It is going to be a challenge to build these programs, like workshops and conventions, back up, because there will be so many students who have never attended them, and our natural pitchmen (the students who attend every year) are quickly graduating.  

District 1 – Thursday, Nov. 18, University of West Florida
District 2 – Friday, Oct. 29, University of Florida,
District 3 – Friday, Oct. 29, Daytona State College,
Districts 4 & 5 – Friday, Oct. 22, University of South Florida
District 6 – Friday, Nov. 5, Florida International University – Biscayne Bay Campus
District 7 – Saturday, Nov. 6, Florida Atlantic University

Awards/honors: Special congratulations to Carly Gates, CJE, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, for being recognized as a JEA Rising Star. She will be recognized at the JEA/NSPA Fall Convention.

We thank Elizabeth Brown for all she does to support scholastic journalism. Congratulations on your Friends of Scholastic Journalism honor. 

Congratulations, too, to Omar Delgado for being chosen as the Morty Schaap Journalism Teacher of the Year at the virtual state convention in April.  See the entire FSPA Spring Awards banquet.

District Winners
District 2 – Jessica Durbin, Bishop Kenny HS
District 3 – Katherine Turkelson, Lake Brantley HS
District 4 – David Pritchard, Sickles HS
District 6 – Omar Delgado, Christopher Columbus HS 
District 7 – Hope Gheorge, American Heritage School Boca/Delray

Congratulations to the 14 publications that earned a Gold or Silver Crown award from Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

Congratulations to the two publications that earned a Yearbook Pacemaker, the two Literary Magazines that earned a Pacemaker and the three Yearbook Pacemaker Finalist from National Scholastic Press Association. See the state winners

For the Board: FSPA is working on nurturing a partnership with the Society of Professional Journalists Florida chapter. This organization will be a valuable resource for quality workshop and convention speakers. 

And most excitingly, there was also an initial call at the beginning of October with Hillary Davis, SPLC New Voices Advocacy and Campaign Manager, to start the New Voices Florida movement.

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

Membership: Georgia has 60 active members as of Sept. 23. I communicated with members via email blasts during spring and summer months. I have since switched to using Smore as a resource to transmit communications to the membership. Based on analytics, 50% of recipients engaged with the Sept. 23 transmission and spent roughly 10 minutes with the content shared. I have also encouraged members to engage with the JEA Georgia Facebook Group.  

Goals: JEA Director-at-Large Katie Merrit, MJE, and I touched base Aug. 4 to identify areas of growth for state members.  Brainstormed goals include regional workshops, continued mentorship and communication.

Action plan: Until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, regional workshops have been tabled. We will continue to field the calls for mentorship when JEA mentors are needed and the use of Smore will heighten communication.

Georgia Scholastic Press Association Director Stephanie Moreno and I met on Aug. 26 to address increasing participation in on-site events in the spring, competitions and students submitting competitive Journalist of the Year entries. 

Action plan: Continued targeted communication from both GSPA and JEA State Director to members. Membership has been and continues to be a targeted area for growth.

Action plan: I hope to lean on current members to advocate the virtues of JEA to colleagues within their sphere of influence.

Events: GSPA will offer virtual lessons and presentations for members this fall with topics ranging from media literacy to student press freedoms, among others. I’m also excited to share that GSPA is launching a semester-long, free service that connects advisers and their editorial staff with professionals for publication critiques via Zoom. Additionally, GSPA is seeking students to serve as Student Ambassadors to support the growth and learning of Georgia’s student journalists.

Due to an abundance of caution, GSPA will not hold a fall conference. However, plans to host an in-person Winter Conference Feb. 10, 2022, at the University of Georgia Tate Student Center are in place. Additionally, the Spring Workshop and Awards has been set for April 11, 2022, at the UGA Georgia Center.

The Southern Interscholastic Press Association held its Executive Board meeting in Columbia, South Carolina, Sept. 9-12.  JEA Georgia members, Del Ellerton of Midtown High School, GSPA’s Stephanie Moreno and Clarke Central High School’s David Ragsdale, CJE, were in attendance. The SIPA spring conference will be held March 4-6 with both virtual and on-site learning opportunities. SIPA will continue to offer its Stars program to showcase the talents of student journalists from across the Southeast.

Awards and honors: Click here to read numerous awards won by Georgia scholastic journalists.

For the board: Based on conversations with JEA Georgia members, continued resources supporting entries in the Journalist of the Year award, opportunities for students/advisers to engage in media literacy, and offering resources to re-engage students/advisers back into the curriculum after 18 months of COVID-19 protocols are topics of discussion. What leverage or appeals can be made to Adobe to reinstate its free program to support virtual learners during the pandemic as the program ended in August?

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

Membership: We have 11 members. CIndy Reves and Jenny Howe are both CJEs. 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

Goals: We are pushing attendance at the Fall JEA Convention since it is virtual. 

We are working with faculty in the University of Hawaii’s School of Communication and Hawaii Media Literacy Now to revive the annual Journalism Day and to involve more stakeholders.

Happenings: 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 bill and Senate bill must be reintroduced in the 2022 session.

Awards: A goal for the 2020-21 school year was to participate in more JEA awards and scholarship opportunities. We are proud of Jay Rose Dagupion of Kamehameha Schools Maui for being named Hawaii’s JEA Journalist of the Year, Jessica Hanthorn, CJE, for being a JEA Rising Star and Jay Hartwell for being a JEA Friend of Journalism. Hawaii High School Journalism Awards: – Several JEA-member schools participated in this annual contest.

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

Membership: There are currently 12 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. 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.

For 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. This was a problem I had last year, but didn’t hear from anyone about the best way to go about this. Thanks!

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

Membership: We currently have 135 members, up one from last year. 

Goals: Currently our state is dealing with the implementation of a new law, the Student Online Personal Protection Act.  SOPPA has been interpreted differently by school districts across the state causing some publications to halt production. I have been working with the SPLC and teachers at a few different districts to get yearbook and website hosts approved as vendors. Hopefully this will be resolved soon. 

Events/Happenings: The Illinois Journalism Education Association canceled their fall conference due to the rising COVID numbers and a statewide bus driver shortage. IJEA will still host a write-off competition and their annual yearbook competition.  

Awards/Honors: James A.Tidwell recipient (IJEA’s highest teaching award) – Logan Aimone, MJE, University of Chicago Laboratory High School (Chicago, Cook County)

For the Board: Many advisers are appreciative of the virtual option for the fall convention and plan on attending.

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

Membership: Indiana currently has 77 members.



Awards & Honors: Newspaper and website state finalists recognized

For the Board: Indiana advisers are continuing the fight to include their programs into the new graduation pathways that started this school year. The state high school press association could use some guidance on, and assistance with, lobbying our education officials to expand the number of courses educators with a journalism certification can teach, particularly within the CTE communications pathway. Much like everyone else, Zoom fatigue is very real in this state. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get members to participate in virtual options, and many simply choose to skip any such offering. While there are no easy solutions to this issue, any ideas as to how to combat it would be greatly appreciated.  

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

Membership: JEA members in Iowa number 34, with membership holding steady.


  • To continue to promote the Iowa JOY contest.
  • To educate about the change in Iowa law to protect students who self-censor because they fear adviser retaliation.
  • To meet in person with advisers to form a cohesive group.

Events: Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill to protect students who self-censor because they fear adviser retaliation. Code 280.22(6A) is a new subsection of Iowa Code 280.22. It reads: “A public school employee or official, acting within the person’s professional ethics, if any, shall not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, subject to termination or nonrenewal of a teaching contract issued under section 279.13 or an extracurricular contract issued under 279.19A, or otherwise retaliated against for acting to protect a student for engaging in conduct under this section, or refusing to infringe upon student conduct that is protected by this section, or the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or Article I, section 7 of the Constitution of the State of Iowa.”

The state conference will go live in Iowa City Oct. 21. Over 40 sessions are planned. There is trepidation as to how many students will be able to attend.

Central Iowa advisers met Aug. 17 as we try to help them get to know each other and realize there is help. Six advisers attended, three of which are in their first or second year of advising.  

Awards and Honors: Sens. Liz Mathis, Jennifer Konfrst and Amy Sinclair and IHSPA Executive Director Paul Jensen worked on the student self-censorship bill that was signed into law. Their efforts are much appreciated.

For the Board: Is there information about the structure of state associations? How many are housed within a college? How many are independent? Who are the directors? Do they teach? Are they retired advisers? Do they have other jobs if housed by a college? How are they funded?

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

Membership: Kansas currently has 124 members, up 16 from last spring and KSPA membership (including honorary, professional and middle school members) is up to 140. Advisers have the opportunity to pay their JEA dues along with their dues for the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. It’s easy and makes for one-stop shopping.

Goals: One of my goals over the past several years has been to create opportunities for advisers to meet, learn and share. This goal was realized this year although not through any specific efforts of mine. (See below)

Happenings: The most recent happenings were the Fall KSPA Board meeting and modified Fall Conferences across the state for advisers only. Both were held in person. In addition to meeting in person and enjoying being in the same room at the same time, discussions are so much more productive in person.

The Fall Conference, due to COVID concerns and the inability of many schools to travel, was re-invented. Rather than a conference for students, it became a professional development day for journalism teachers held in three different locations: Ft. Hays, Wichita and Lawrence. The conference allowed not only for high school teachers to learn from university faculty, but also to share and commiserate and celebrate with each other while earning six hours of professional development credit. This is an aspect of journalism education that has been sorely missing from the offerings in Kansas. We hope to see this expand in the future. Thanks to Ft. Hays State, Wichita State and the University of Kansas for hosting this event and for the awesome swag bag.

Upcoming events:
Statewide contests in a number of categories at the end of every month
Dec. 11: KSPA Board Meeting
Feb. 14 & 16: Six regional contests across the state
May 7: State Journalism Contest and in-person state awards

KSPA is fortunate to have had the support of the University of Kansas School of Journalism during the worst of the COVID pandemic. Our financials have dramatically rebounded thanks to KU’s support and our drastically reduced expenses during 2020-2021. The robust growth in the stock market has grown the endowment considerably. Our thanks to Dean Ann Brill for her support and for recognizing the importance of high school journalism in the state of Kansas as well as the financial support of the school of journalism. 

Awards/Honors: We are thrilled to recognize the following students and teachers who won major awards last spring:

  • Courage in Journalism Award: Madeline Gearhart of Seaman H.S., Topeka; adviser Amy Riley
  • Mary Patrick Aspiring Journalist Award: (acknowledge and reward the work of junior high/middle school students): Kate Burdette and Avery Vogt of of Andover Middle School, Andover
  • Kansas Student Journalist of the Year: Riley Atkinson, Shawnee Mission East H.S. Prairie Village; adviser: Dow Tate
  • Atkinson was also named the 2021 JEA National Student Journalist of the Year
  • Friend of KSPA (given to a professional journalist or professional media outlet as well as any individual or group making a significant contribution to scholastic journalism): Megan Stringer of the Wichita Eagle
  • Jackie Engel Journalism Teacher of the Year award: Emily Smith, Pittsburg H.S.
  • Ad Astra Award This award honors an individual who has displayed a significant effort to 1) continually improve his/her journalism program; 2) make a significant contribution to the profession of advising in Kansas. Winners will receive a $250 cash prize, a plaque, and a complimentary one-year membership to KSPA: Barbara Tholen, Lawrence H.S.

For the Board: This fall has really brought home the need for in-person adviser activities. The absence of the national conventions has left a hole in the support system that we all rely upon. Perhaps state associations should be encouraged to provide regional and state opportunities to fill this void. Perhaps JEA could offer guidance and assistance to encourage this.

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

Membership: There are currently 14 members in Kentucky. Several renewals are in process.

Goals: In a partnership with KYJTA, our first awards contest will be held in the spring. We are excited and will be looking for help, so be ready.

Happenings: We are making a real push for the spring session for our New Voices bill. The expanded session will allow us more access to legislators.

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

Membership: Louisiana currently has 21 members.


  • Have an in-person State Conference in Spring 2022
    • We will see how things are going in the 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.
  • 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 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.

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 I think will represent Louisiana well.

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 that I sent out in the summer.  

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 the 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 that 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 nationally 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 four 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.

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 30 members in Maryland.

Happenings: Our countywide publication, Coming of Age in a Pandemic was received warmly. Our county printed 8,000 copies and is doing a second printing. The students behind the magazine will be featured on NPR’s 1A.

SDTV, our county-wide broadcast TV show, won an Emmy for Best News Magazine.

Last year, we 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. This year we are doing the feature magazines in conjunction with other schools and a second annual countywide magazine. 

We are hoping to collaborate on new video projects as well. 

Finally, we are planning a Spring forum in conjunction with the University of Maryland. The tentative topic will be exploring the role journalism has played in the whitewashing of American history.

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

Membership: There are 26 members in Massachusetts, up from 23 last fall, but down from 30 in spring. My outreach continues, but as I’ve noted before, I don’t see a correlation between our numbers and my efforts. 

Happenings: I “attended” the fall 2020 and spring 2021 virtual conventions.

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

The Journalist of the Year was Sophie Lewis of Newton South High School, and she represented 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 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.

I have begun the process of becoming a JEA mentor, at the encouragement of JEA board members, and hope to have that process completed in the next couple of weeks. 

Goals: A main goal remains 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 this process later in the fall, after deadlines and production are in full swing, prodding advisers to have at least one student from their program 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.

Timothy Morley, CJE
PO Box 396
Topinabee, MI 49791

Membership: We are currently at 73 voting members in Michigan. That’s a net loss of three members since last spring’s report. 

Goals: I need to be more actively visible to the state’s JEA membership. I wanted to do a monthly or biweekly email of highlights, pro tips, stories, etc., but with four preps this year and two being new, I run out of time and energy every day.

100-Year Anniversary: The Michigan Interscholastic Press Association is celebrating 100 years this school year. MIPA was organized in the Fall of 1921 and held its first conference in the spring of 1922 on the campus of the University of Michigan. The pandemic will limit some of the celebrations that were dreamed about. 

Fall Conference: An online conference of videos, similar to the one which run last year, is being planned. There will be a schedule of video conferences and critique sessions which individual schools/programs can sign up for. Adviser roundtables will also be offered.

MIPA Summer Workshop: The MIPA summer workshop continued online this summer. It took place in two sessions from July 19 to 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.

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

Membership: Minnesota currently has 39 JEA members.

Goals: We established a working group of advisers to focus on building relationships with Minnesota State High School League to provide better student journalist access to games and tournaments (last year’s policy did not allow any student press passes) and build professional mentorships or partnerships. I am hopeful they can help develop policies that provide equity and education for student sports journalists in the state.

Happenings: The unpredictability of the Delta variant and school policies delayed kicking off an autumn adviser retreat until next fall, but I had a fantastic meeting with Meghan Percival (VA) about their very successful model. I hosted the JEM All State judges dinner at the end of September, and we ate some quality local pizza and judged entries.

Awards/Honors: All State and Gold Medallion awards will be announced in virtual ceremonies at the end of October. We also plan to announce a Minnesota Adviser of the Year at the same time.

For the Board: I welcome conversations with board members about how they are combating adviser burnout for themselves and in their states. The solitary nature of what we do in our buildings, coupled with the demands of the past couple of years, lead me to wonder how we’re all doing.

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

Membership: There are now 20 JEA members in Mississippi, up three from last year. Membership is encouraged at all Mississippi Scholastic Press Association 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.

Goals: My primary goals for this semester are to 1) establish a post-pandemic baseline for our total number of programs in the state, 2) work with new contacts in the Mississippi Department of Education to continue CTE pathway development, and 3) return to hosting in-person events, especially our statewide adviser institute this coming summer. 

Events/Happenings: Due to the pandemic, MSPA hosted its annual statewide spring convention virtually in April and had around 1/3 of its normal participation rate. We used a group pricing model instead of the normal per-student pricing model we use for in-person events, which worked out quite 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. 

This fall, Mississippi is hosting its first in-person scholastic journalism event since the start of the pandemic, an MSPA statewide convention at the University of Southern Mississippi Nov. 1. In a statewide poll of advisers, there was an overwhelming need/demand for such an event with very few advisers reporting district travel bans. I don’t expect attendance to be equal to our pre-pandemic levels (approx. 500 students), but the event should serve as a reliable bellwether for where we’re able to go from here.  

Awards and honors: At MSPA’s spring convention, Katrina Berry-Ivy (broadcast) and Lain Hughes (newspaper) were named 2021 Advisers of the Year and JNN (Madison Central HS) and The Charger (Oxford HS) were named 2021 Publications of the Year. 

For the board: A thousand thanks and eternal admiration for those of you who have guided JEA through the most unprecedented of hurdles these last 20+ months. I know we’re all bummed that the Philadelphia convention isn’t happening in person, but I appreciate your guidance and transparency in making that difficult decision. Keep the faith; better days are surely ahead.

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

Membership: Missouri has a total of 109 voting members. Voting members include Teacher/Adviser, Emeritus Teacher/Adviser, Lifetime Teacher/Adviser members, Affiliates (with director as voting member).

Goals: Support the newly merged state organizations, The Missouri Interscholastic Press Association and the Missouri Journalism Education Association. The goal of this merger is to take the best of what each of the organizations offered individually and offer them as a united organization, to reach all in Missouri to offer support and education in any way we can — in all parts of the state and offer numerous opportunities to celebrate students and scholastic journalism programs. 

Happenings: Missouri is excited to officially announce that our two state journalism organizations, MIPA and MJEA, are merging. While this merge has been in the works for a bit, but is still very much in progress, here are some fast facts:

  • Our official new name: MIPA-MJEA
  • Board members: Currently, all of the members of both organization’s boards combined (a big team!)
  • You’ll see us with a new visual presence with a new logo on social media and a revamped website beginning in January
  • Currently, the J-Day event is slated to be an in-person student and adviser event in the spring at Mizzou (March 30). More info on that to come. 
  • We’re working with Mizzou to offer advisers and students some online opportunities for learning and collaborating throughout the year, available state-wide.
  • We’ll be running monthly photo contests plus a seasonal journalism challenge for students state-wide.
  • We will continue with a contest season, which will begin in January. In the meantime, we’ll offer several monthly opportunities for contests and learning (there will be some virtual events, as well).
  • We’ll be up and running with an official new logo and strategic plan for membership by second semester (and an Instagram account), so we’ll hold elections for a new board this spring. We’re hoping to draw some leadership interest from all corners of the state. 

You can currently reach the same information about membership at either of these sites:
The former MJEA site
The former MIPA site

The membership tiers and prices can be found on those sites. We are excited to grow this organization and pursue all of its new potential with you in the coming months. 

Other Happenings: In the St. Louis area, Kirkwood High School adviser Mitch Eden, MJE, hosted a Student Newspaper Online workshop at KHS. Jason Wallestad, SNO Co-Founder, was the workshop facilitator. 

Awards and Honors:

  • The following Missouri Programs were recognized with NSPA Top 100 Awards:
  • (5th Place Overall) Pioneer Yearbook, Kirkwood High School
  • (9th Place Overall) HTV Magazine Broadcast, Hillcrest High School
  • The Globe Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Clayton High School
  • The Kirkwood Call Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Kirkwood High School
  • North Star Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Francis Howell North High School
  • FHNtoday Online, Francis Howell North High School
  • Courier Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Normandy High School

For the Board: The MIPA-MJEA merger marks an important milestone in the Missouri scholastic journalism story. The combining of forces will allow for resources from both organizations to become available to all Missouri advisers, as well as considerably driving down the cost of membership. It is hoped that we will be able to increase the national JEA enrollment for Missouri advisers through this process as well, as the cost reduction will leave more funds available for advisers to seek resources. Additionally, the merger will continue to bolster our relationships with the University of Missouri Journalism School, one of the best in the nation.

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

  • Although Montana has always reported a small but relatively stable membership, interest in attending and participating in fall/spring meetings/contests has continued to diminish.
  • Although retiring advisers and cuts in co-curricular programs have impacted the number of programs available in Montana public schools, the number of new advisers seeking membership in JEA has started to encourage the MJEA board. We have contacted and noted that 19 of the current MJEA list of 36 active advisers are currently JEA members. However, this does not necessarily mean that they are all members of MJEA.
  • 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 JEA’s state director Linda Ballew. Beth continues in her ninth year as MJEA president. 
  • A survey sent to Montana Advisers has revealed the following information:
    • Basically, our membership has gone to zero as no one sent membership dues during the pandemic school year of 2020-2021. 
    • The survey has only had 11 respondents out of 40 as of Oct. 8.
      • Of these, three are no longer advising journalism:  Amy Miller, Jennifer Lannen and Jessica Cook.
      • Of these, one adviser has left teaching, Lauren Zent.
      • Jennifer, Amy and Lauren are still on the JEA membership list.
      • Out of these 11 advisers, only one adviser has indicated she will attend the Montana Educators’ Conference of which, MJEA is a curricular group offering a full two-day slate of journalism workshops. Both Britton and Ballew will be at the conference.
      • Britton and Ballew continue to request input from members 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 Britton and Ballew provide; however, they are not willing to engage in working within the framework of the organization.
      • We are crossing our fingers for more responses to create a better and more positive outlook for regaining membership and having attendees at the teacher convention.
    • We have extended the invitation to a membership meeting during the Montana Teachers Convention, The Journalism Breakfast Club, where we can meet and discuss the issues facing us in the upcoming years.
  • Britton and Ballew will encourage communication and membership in MJEA and JEA. Maintaining and expanding MJEA and JEA membership continues, as always, to be a top priority. 
    • Britton and Ballew continue to contact advisers encouraging them to COMMUNICATE with us, RETAIN membership in MJEA and JEA, and PARTICIPATE in adding content and discussion to mjeajournalism.com 
    • Developing interest in JEA membership has also been encouraged by pointing to the value of JEA’s dynamic journalism curriculum. This continues to perk interest in JEA. Advisers express their appreciation for the thorough and in-depth lessons, rubrics, Common Core Standards’ alignment and assessments that they can access for both in their classrooms as well as with administrators who want advisers to demonstrate curricular accountability. Thank you for the 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.
    • Our action plan continues to reach out with information, curriculum and additional resources. We had even tried to encourage a book exchange, free yearbooks/textbooks and supplies.
    • Britton and Ballew will continue to provide “care packages” for advisers.
  • Several issues have caused a rift in the positive working relationship that we have enjoyed over the years with the University of Montana School of Journalism.
    • To begin, the University of Montana has seen a drastic reduction in overall enrollment in the last four to five years. Recruitment has become a major focus for the University’s schools. 
    • However, the School of Journalism has had to deal with this issue by merging with another department to meet the needs of their students and professors.The journalism school will now be a part of the College of the Arts and Media. 
    • Recently, the acting dean of the journalism school, Denise Dowling writes, “We welcomed a new dean of the College of the Arts and Media in January. Previously Laurie Baefsky was associate dean of research & strategic partnerships at University of Colorado Denver’s College of Arts & Media, executive director of ArtsEngine and Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) based at the University of Michigan, grants manager with the Utah Division of Arts and Museums and established the USU ArtsBridge program at Utah State University. She is hard at work building a shared vision for the college while honoring the history and traditions of the School of Journalism.” 
    • The many programs, contests, critiques, and High School Journalism Day offered by the J school have dwindled or vanished. MJEA now finds itself on its own trying to replace these invaluable service
    • 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 This site continues to provide resources and information. Britton has also requested and encouraged participation. Advisers can engage by adding content and sharing lesson plans, adding updates, commentaries. We encourage them to post to the site:
      • Photos of their students in action, their classrooms, guest speakers, etc. 
      • Short opinion pieces written by advisers. Britton would like to have their voices on the site. 
      • Ideas for other advisers – lessons, celebrations, classroom set-up … 
    • Our website, provided by SNO, allows us to provide information and resources to our members. It has been a vital link in our messaging and communication with members. Updated regularly, it is an aspect of the organization of which our members speak highly.
  • The gap left in MJEA’s executive board continues to not be filled. We 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.
  • 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 newspapers, online and yearbook programs by themselves. Only a few Montana school districts still offer remote learning, and this has made these productions a challenging new adventure, with contact tracing still in effect, but overall, advisers have risen to the challenge. 
  • The PRINTING of school newspapers is a challenge, with many presses shuttering in even the larger cities. The Lee Newspapers printing facility in Helena now prints dailies for Helena, Butte, Great Falls and Missoula — in addition to the University of Montana newspaper and numerous smaller publications. As a result, they are no longer taking on small high school print jobs.
  • The Montana Federation of Public Employees will host the Montana Teachers’ Convention in Great Falls.
    • MJEA will conduct workshops for our co-curricular portion of this convention Oct. 21-22, 2021.
    • Britton and Ballew invited advisers to present a class/workshop at the 2021 Educators’ Convention in Great Falls Oct. 21-22, 2021. 
    • We were hoping to find instructors who would share their expertise in writing, editing, design, broadcast, yearbook, podcast, photography …. Ideally, the class would have been well suited for teachers in several curricular areas.
    • However, we have had little response from Montana advisers whether they were members or not. 
    • Thus, our scheduled itinerary relies on our talented and gracious University of Montana professors, Linda Ballew and Beth Britton. 
    • We especially want to thank SNO for providing an instructional video on building high school websites!

Telling Stories: A photographic and written adventure
Scholastic journalism is all about examining one’s community, paying attention, gathering facts and meeting the people who make a school tick. If you want to get your students excited about photographic and written storytelling – and the history of their school – this class is for you.

Open “The Mustard Jar”
Discover the evaluation tools and skills necessary for you to provide, so students will learn to use these as they critically evaluate visual and verbal composition. Having these skills will allow them to choose the messages with the best ingredients necessary for building their memorable literary-art magazine.

Newstrition: Why the Information Our Students Consume Matters
Our students have never been so bombarded with media and information. What if we helped them spot junk information like we help them spot junk food? In this talk, Cowgill walks through a “newstrition” label that helps bring media literacy, and its importance, to life for students.

Calling Malarkey: Helping Students Evaluate Information and Spot Misinformation
In this hands-on workshop led by University of Montana journalism professors, educators will learn and employ new methods for helping students evaluate information with an emphasis on spotting misinformation and using new media tools to fact-check the information they are consuming and using.

Social Media Has Gone to School
Social Media has arrived in the classroom. Now, it needs to find its place in the educational setting. Teachers need to assess strategies and benefits for implementing the best practices of social media awareness into students and teachers’ communication behaviors. Let’s look at some guidelines and establish some curriculum policies.

Launching your publication online with SNO Sites
SNO Sites provides the technology, service and training to help student media programs thrive online. This session will provide an overview of the publishing platform available through SNO Sites.

The Journalism Breakfast Club
Do you teach journalism and/or advise the school yearbook or newspaper? Gather with other Montana advisers over a light breakfast to meet and share ideas. Learn more about what the Montana Journalism Education Association can provide for you.

Inform, Influence, Impact, Inspire
Learn ways to assist your students in making meaningful feature story and news article choices. They will discover that what they investigate, and report have a significant purpose: to inform, influence, impact and inspire their audience and community’s concerns. They will learn. Their voice counts.

Ethics in Writing for Secondary Students
Writing is a student’s most lasting form of communication. Thoughtful planning can guide students to consider other people ethically and to protect themselves legally. We will explore some methods and tools available for guiding student work in classes such as English, History, Journalism, Science, Yearbook and Creative Writing.

Writing for an ONLINE audience
Learn what your students can do to attract and keep the interest of online readers. What’s the difference between telling stories in print and presenting those stories on the web? Leave class prepared to develop an online audience.

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 and keeping us all informed. Your talent, grace and work ethic has made you an indispensable part of our family. 
  • The staff continues to help advisers by sending to MJEA, support materials as we try to enlist new members. The staff has also been essential in helping with materials that reinforce classroom 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 both advisers and staff, and encouraged JEA members. Thank you for the innovative contact and support. We appreciate all you do … Thank you!
  • We are looking forward to a face-to-face spring convention …
  • Val, thank you for your patience. We will continue to “push forward.” 
  • Sarah Nichols, thank you for all your brilliant ideas and collaboration with so many talented people! We are inspired and motivated because of all you do …

From MJEA president, Beth Britton, CJE: Advisers and their students are still battling the pandemic, and the publication of newspapers and upkeep of websites continues to slip at many Montana schools. Yearbooks are on firmer ground, but even they are decreasing in size or are moving to after-school production with no class time devoted to a curriculum.

Even before COVID-19 remote learning and the challenges that the pandemic presents to journalism advisers kicked in the spring of 2020, 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, graphic design, and video production.

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: Nebraska has 57 members as of the Aug. 30 report from JEA HQ. In those 57 members, four are MJEs and five are CJEs.

Goals: As state director, I hope to maintain positive relations between the Nebraska High School Press Association and JEA. I will attend all NHSPA general membership meetings and as many NHSPA Exec Committee meetings as possible to keep the Nebraska advisers informed and enthused about JEA initiatives, opportunities and events. I will organize a JEA Winter Contest for the state of Nebraska and help to celebrate the achievements and activities of the state’s members. I will coordinate the JOY contest for Nebraska and have a state winner submitted to the national contest by deadline.

Happenings: We celebrated the Nebraska JOY 2021 at the NSAA State Journalism virtual awards ceremony in late April. The NHSPA sponsored an in-person summer workshop at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in July. I attended and spoke to the attendees about JEA opportunities including conventions, contests and JOY. NHSPA will have an in-person fall convention at UNL Oct. 18. Currently, 26 schools are registered to attend. The Nebraska legislature did NOT end up passing the New Voices legislation in their last session, but we have a committed senator who has said he’ll try again. Our JEA state mentor, Stephenie Conley, MJE, has been busy and we are grateful for her service.

Awards/Honors: Omaha Metro advisers were discouraged in May when the Omaha World Herald ended its award program for local high schools, the “Key Staffer.” Many advisers awarded one on their own and recognized that student internally. We are interested if other communities have such a program and if they have continued community support for their scholastic programs. We named our JOY in last March’s report. We had a few advisers retire and many move schools and districts. We will name a Distinguished Adviser and Friend of Journalism at the Oct. 18 NHSPA Convention.

For the Board: It has been a challenging last 19 months for everyone in education. Thank you for thinking outside the box and coming up with ways to stay connected and supportive to advisers. I feel like there are so many outside opportunities that don’t get utilized because the day-to-day responsibilities of keeping our curriculum alive and our students safe and healthy is all-consuming.

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

Membership: Membership has increased by six members to a total of 29. This is a great jump for the state of Nevada.

Goals: This is my final semi-annual report as I am stepping down this month. I believe the next state director will be able to continue the forward momentum of the increase in members and encourage more schools to participate in the 2022 JOY contest. It has been an honor to represent Nevada!

Happenings: Our first quarterly adviser meet-up occurred in August. It was a great opportunity for members to catch up after the summer and start offering advice and ideas for the return to in-person learning. Several advisers were able to network which was a great end product to a fun meeting. The next meeting will be hosted by the new state director in November.

Awards/Honors: Nevada advisers are anxiously awaiting the release of the NSPA Individual Award Finalists, as well as CSPA Crown results. Eric Johnston, CJE, of Green Valley High School has started communicating with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to resurrect the high school journalism contest. 

For the Board: Information related to the Los Angeles Spring Convention should be made available before the end of the year, as many schools require more than 90 days to submit requests for travel. If there is the possibility of canceling or moving to a hybrid model, it would be great to know that as soon as possible, if that isn’t already the plan. Additionally, re-opening the discussion at the next board meeting for allowing mentoring to count as meeting the criteria for the MJE is requested. Being able to act as a mentor can be considered as valuable, if not more valuable, as completing a project. Finally, please send out information where these projects can be found for the general membership as a resource.

Timothy Cain, CJE

Pinkerton Academy
5 Pinkerton Street
Derry, NH 03038

Memberbship: There are currently eight members in New Hampshire, one of whom is retired. Two members have earned the CJE credential.


  • Increase JEA membership in NH 
  • Get more New Hampshire members certified (CJE)
  • Establish and implement a Journalism of the Year program for New Hampshire student journalists.

Happenings: Currently, there are no organized statewide events planned. That said, with the help of my yearbook representative, I am in the process of working with a yearbook adviser from a neighboring state to begin planning a New England consortium for our student journalists.

My Walsworth representative introduced me via an email to his advisers and allowed me to share the benefits of JEA; to date, none of those advisers have reached out to inquire about JEA.

I completed the Mentor Training program and am currently working with a mentee who teaches in California.

As the new state director, I created a Twitter account and Facebook page as a way to communicate with my current members.

Twitter: @nh_jea (JEA NH Director)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3763398147048350

Finally, I have begun the initial process of getting information out to my members about the Journalist of the Year program.

For the Board: I am discovering as a new state director that a huge challenge is to identify who are the journalism/media teachers in the state. I am in the process of checking school websites to find contact information, and I have reached out to former colleagues who are now administrators to send me contact information about their journalism teachers. 

Would it be possible for JEA to partner with the yearbook companies to give contact information of yearbook advisers?

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

Membership: New Jersey is holding strong at 55 members.  There have been five new members in the past month.  Many of our yearbooks, newspapers and journalism classes have changed hands in the past decade, and the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, along with the New Jersey branch of JEA, would love to get the newcomers more involved.

Goals: We learned through last year’s hybrid and remote education that there is technology in place to connect us everywhere. While in-person events and meetings have remained on the back burner, it is so much easier for advisers to connect from one side of the state to the other. My goal is to get more people – and more programs – connected through teleconferences so that advisers and their students don’t feel like they need to navigate their terrain alone. I will be rolling out more information about this via e-mail in the next month.

Happenings: GSSPA President Bill Rawson, CJE, has announced the information for this year’s New Jersey fall conference, which will be virtual. The event, “New Media, New Voices, New Perspectives,” will run Oct. 25-28, 2021.

Schedule info:

Monday, October 25, 7-8 p.m.
New Voices 
Moderator: Bonnie Blackman

  • Tom McHale, New Voices
  • John Tagliareni, New Voices
  • Hillary Davis, Student Press Law Center

Tuesday, October 26, 7-8 p.m.
Race & Social Justice 
Moderator: Rafael Logroño, Rutgers University
Expert: Juan Gonzalez

Wednesday, October 27, 7-8 p.m.
Social Media/Media Law 
Moderator: Greg Gagliardi
Expert: Susan Keith, Rutgers University

Thursday, October 28, 7-7:15 p.m.
Dr. Amy Jordan, Rutgers University closing remarks

Registration info: Complete the online registration form by Oct. 22.

The online form is the official registration. Only one form is needed per school. 

Awards/Honors: Annual awards for New Jersey newspapers, online publications and yearbooks will be announced this month live through social media at the end of October. 

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

Membership: Current membership in New Mexico stands at 10; two of which have their CJE certification. We are down three members from my spring report. Continued efforts will be focused on educating new advisers of what JEA has to offer as far as resources to support new advisers. There has already been more inquiry and interest of how JEA can assist with professional development.

Although this was in the fall 2020 report and in the spring 2021 reports, I felt it was important to repeat in this 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 because the film industry falls under the Arts, AV & Communications POS. With Netflix and NBC Universal opening film and TV studios in the Albuquerque area, the demand for this POS is considered a high-demand industry; therefore, the College and Career Readiness Bureau is looking to fund through the Carl D. Perkins grant. While this is good news for broadcast programs and pathways of study that infuse a multimedia program, this may prove challenging when building in POS to fund photojournalism or other print programs. 

I believe that this initiative will be a positive catalyst to increasing these numbers with broadcast and film advisers. Currently, there are members of the College and Career Readiness Bureau who are referring members to reach out to JEA for professional development opportunities. 

Events/Happenings: NMSPA state competition was held virtually this past spring, March 6, 2021. The event 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. This platform is going to allow NMSPA, in the future, to extend competition to more schools, allowing even more student journalists the opportunity to be a part of this statewide 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 hosted the following week, 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.  

For more information on participating with the planning of the upcoming state competition or information on how to get involved with NMSPA, reach out to Amie Kraenzel, NMSPA president, at akraenze@lcps.net

Awards/Honors: Marissa Prentice from Centennial High School, located in Las Cruces, is the New Mexico CTE Teacher of the Year.

First Amendment Issues: There are no current First Amendment Issues to report at this time.

For the Board: This will be my last report as I have had to resign as the New Mexico State Director. I would like to inform the board that it has been my pleasure working with JEA in this capacity. The highlight of my work was the collaboration with Mark Ryan, Eldorado High School, and Marissa Prentice, Centennial High School, as we worked on developing the pathways of study for journalism programs and were able to see the state recognize the Multimedia Production program as an alternative pathway for graduation. 

I would like to see continued efforts in working with NMPED/CCRB, as a focus to continue these conversations and continue to promote 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 key as these conversations move forward.

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

Membership: Our membership increased by 52% from last spring, with a total of 38 members! Yay!  

Awards/Honors: Pelham Memorial High School’s PEL MEL was awarded the 2020-21 International First Place Award by Quill and Scroll. This honor was awarded to only 21 school newspapers. Congrats!

Events: Teens for Press Freedom held a rally in June to support the “Student Journalist Free Speech Act.” Speakers included Victoria Oei and Samantha Sestak (Townsend Harris High School); Teens for Press Freedom co-founders Charlotte Hampton and Isabel Tribe; Manhattan District Attorney candidate Tahanie Aboushi; SPLC board member and First Amendment attorney Ava Lubell, and Katina Paron, MJE.

Happenings: New York State had three students participate in the Student Law Press Center’s New Voices Student Leadership Institute this summer. These students are now working with the New York New Voices leadership team (Mike Simons, MJE, and Katina Paron, MJE) to schedule meetings with key legislators. We are looking for more student advocates to get involved with helping us pass the “Student Journalist Free Speech Act.” For more information, please contact newvoicesofnewyork@gmail.com.

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

Membership: Current JEA membership total for North Carolina is 54. 

Events: North Carolina Scholastic Media Association’s Mountains to Coast fall regional workshops will this year feature a Virtual Fall Workshop and a series of journalism field trip opportunities hosted by eight college campuses across the state. 

The fall workshop will take place Thursday, Oct. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon, and is co-hosted by The Charlotte Observer, Appalachian State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Elon University, N.C. A&T State University, Queens University of Charlotte, East Carolina University and N.C. Central University. Deadline to register is Oct. 25.

The workshop will feature keynote speakers, and breakout sessions in five divisions:

  • Broadcast/Podcasting
  • Yearbook
  • News/Online
  • Art/Photography/Design
  • Editorial Leadership/Issues Forum

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

The 2021 virtual Carolina Sports Journalism Camp welcomed the largest number of participants the program had ever seen. They enjoyed a behind-the-scenes sports media tour, interviewed a Tar Heel athlete, attended a UNC-CH sports writing class and learned sports play-by-play. 

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

Each summer NCSMA offers graduate-level courses in UNC’s School of Journalism and Media, specifically for high school journalism teachers. Funding for tuition and fees is available to North Carolina high school journalism teachers through NCSMA’s Journalism Education Fellowship Program. The summer 2021 course, “Teaching Multimedia Storytelling in the Secondary School,” was offered online this July. Educators who completed the one-week, short-term course received three hours of graduate credit. 

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

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

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

NCSMA also awarded its annual Kay Phillips Distinguished Service Awards to Institute instructors Gary Kirk, UNC broadcast engineer, and Dr. Lynn Owen, UNC faculty member.

NCSMA’s endowed workshop scholarship program allowed the organization to recognize four top-performing students at the annual North Carolina Scholastic Media Institute, each one receiving $625 awards.

For the Board: We request that the Certification Commission and the board reinstate JEA’s long-held certification coursework option. That option recognizes the efforts by those who come to the classroom with subject matter expertise, as well as those who take part in journalism education graduate coursework. The certification option recognizes scholastic journalism’s important ties to the higher education community, reflecting an awareness of the importance of supporting and encouraging journalism education coursework at the university level.

North Dakota

Membership: North Dakota currently has eight members.

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

Membership: Ohio currently has 58 members.

Darla Tresner, MJE
3512 Harvey Road
Bartlesville, OK 74006

Membership: Oklahoma currently has 28 members.

Happenings: Oklahoma advisers looked forward to our fall scholastic journalism conferences. Several schools were able to attend this fall’s High School Press Day Tuesday, Oct. 28, in Stillwater at Oklahoma State University.

The First Amendment Congress 2021 and Essay Contest was held Nov. 2.

The University of Oklahoma will host its fall 2021 conference Nov. 15. At that time, state awards for last year’s yearbooks will be presented. Also, a wide variety of learning sessions for students and advisers will be presented by area professional journalists and advisers. Also, during the advisers’ luncheon invitations to join JEA will be issued as well as a report on the many activities available through JEA.

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

Membership: There are currently 39 members in Oregon. 

Goals: The Oregon Journalism Education Association staff is looking at ways to help student journalists as much as we can virtually. We are also looking into ways we can reach out to advisers one-on-one to make sure we are meeting their needs.

We are working on a website redesign to improve access. 

Happenings: Once again, this year’s Fall Press Day was not held, but there is hope we will have some type of program in the fall and winter. We are looking forward to holding our statewide Student Media Olympics once again in the spring.

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: Nothing at this time.

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

Membership: There are currently 72 members in Pennsylvania, a 10% increase from last year.

Events: The Pennsylvania School Press Association continues to offer FREE memberships to all schools in the state for the 2021-22 school year.  We are hopeful that all PA JEA members take advantage of this so we can form a stronger relationship with PSPA.

Based on teacher/adviser feedback, PSPA has had to cancel its live fall contests and is opting for a virtual model instead.  The state finals at Penn State are still expected to take place in person in March of 2022. 

New Voices: The Pennsylvania New Voices team has re-organized and gained some new student members. Four students from Pennsylvania attended the New Voices Student Leaders Institute this summer.

Awards and honors:  Dr. Stacey Aronow who advises the Souderton Area High School newspaper, the Arrowhead, was named the 2021-2022 Pennsylvania School Press Association state Journalism Teacher of the Year.

The 2021-22 PSPA State Champions for student journalism can be found here.

Opportunities for student journalists: WHYY in Philadelphia is offering free virtual after-school journalism workshops for current 10-12th graders. They begin this October and workshops include animation, photography, podcasting and video production.

Meetings: I have met several times with Aaron Fitzpatrick, new president of PSPA, over the past six months. We are working on New Voices in PA.

For the Board: Nothing at this time

Elizabeth Kenworthy
Rhode Island

Membership: We welcomed a new member, Sara Gray, a newspaper adviser at Tiverton High School, increasing our membership to three members.

Happenings: At North Kingstown High School, senior Franceska Lukaj participated in a virtual internship with the LA Times over the summer.

  • Lincoln High School journalists are now authoring a twice-monthly column for the town’s local newspaper, The Valley Breeze. A small group of writers will write the column on a rotating basis for the entire school year, offering readers an inside glimpse of the high school experience.  
  • Four of Lincoln High School’s journalism and media communications students have been accepted into the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at Elon University. The students are among 115 from across the U.S. chosen to participate. The program consists of six college workshops that explore News Gathering & Writing, Law, Ethics & News Literacy, Photojournalism & Multimedia Broadcast,  Leadership & Team Building, Editing & Design and Audience Engagement & Web Development. Classes began in September and will run through February. Juniors who complete the program are eligible to apply for a summer journalism program at Elon that provides students with free travel, room, board and tuition.
  • Senior Mikela Picard won an honorable mention in a national video scholarship contest for high school and college students called Create Real Impact in June 2021. Mikela won a $250 scholarship for her extraordinary “It’s Not A Game” PSA.
  • LHS’s monthly newspaper, The Lion’s Roar, received a “Highest Achievement Award” overall excellence from the New England Scholastic Press Association in the Class II category. The awards are traditionally presented in person at an annual spring conference at Boston University’s College of Communications. (Due to COVID, both the Spring 2020 and 2021 Conferences were canceled.) The organization’s annual publication competition draws hundreds of entries from around New England. The judging panel consisted of Boston University journalism professors and experienced scholastic media advisers. See more individual awards here.

Membership: The JEA directory shows 27 members in JEA, up six members from this time last year.


Fall Conference: SCSPA will not hold a fall conference this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and school district guidelines. Literary magazine and yearbook evaluation and individual awards will be announced in a virtual awards announcement special.

Spring Conference: The spring conference was canceled due to COVID-19 and awards were posted online in May. 

SCSPA Fall (2021) awards: These awards have yet to be determined and handed out.

Spring 2021 (posted online in May) – You can find a full list of winners online
Journalist of the Year: Olivia Potter, Wando HS (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)
Best Broadcast: “RNE-TV Live,” Richland Northeast HS (Columbia, S.C.)
Best Newspaper: Tribal Tribune, Wando HS (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)

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

Membership: South Dakota has 10 members, a decrease of one from the spring 2021 report. 

Goals: My goals for 2021-2022 are to launch the South Dakota High School Press Association website, which features a section for South Dakota JEA; revive the South Dakota High School Journalist of the Year competition; and increase South Dakota JEA membership by three. 

Happenings: The South Dakota High School Press Convention is scheduled for Oct. 18, 2021, at Black Hills State University. It is a hybrid event, with face-to-face sessions that also can be accessed via Zoom. Co-sponsored by BHSU and South Dakota State University, the convention includes a keynote presentation, breakout sessions and a panel discussion featuring representatives from South Dakota news media outlets. 

In my dual role as vice head of AEJMC’s Scholastic Journalism Division, I organized a virtual “teach-in” for high school educators across the United States July 22, 2021. A highlight of this event was a panel discussion on the recent Mahanoy v. B.L. court decision moderated by Mark Goodman of Kent State University, head of the SJD. JEA advisers who are interested in viewing the teach-in recording are welcome to email me at southdakotajea@gmail.com to request access information. 

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

For the board: I would like to increase and strengthen collaboration between JEA and the AEJMC Scholastic Journalism Division. To that end, I will reach out to JEA leadership about starting a conversation.

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

Membership: Our state membership has gone up to 38 members.

Goals: Our goal is to increase state membership even more and to encourage as many Tennessee schools as possible to sign up for the virtual Fall convention. 

Happenings: Tennessee High School Press Association hosted a Fall Workshop at Lipscomb University where sessions were offered on a wide range of journalism topics, from writing to interviewing to filming to design. 

Award-winning journalist Demetria Kalodimos, former anchor of WSMV-TV and current Professional in Residence for the School of Communication at Lipscomb University, was the keynote speaker, and students (both in-person and online) had the opportunity to compete in the Tennessee Student Media Contest where they wrote an article about her keynote address. Awards went to:

  • First place: Olivia Majors, Harpeth Hall
  • Second place: Mary Frances Musso, Christ Presbyterian Academy
  • Third place: Lainey Green, Christ Presbyterian Academy

Awards/Honors: Click here to see Tennessee schools who have received national awards.

Emily Pyeatt Arnold, CJE
Aledo High School
1000 Bailey Ranch Road
Aledo, TX 76008

Membership: Texas JEA membership sits at 350. As of Oct. 1, membership totaled 218 for the Texas Association of Journalism Educators. The TAJE membership year ended Sept. 30, 2021, so many members are in the process of renewing and are missing from this count. 

Goals: To increase membership in both TAJE and JEA and provide support for our scholastic journalism community.

Happenings: We will host our in-person Fall Fiesta at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio Oct. 16-18. As of Oct. 1, almost 600 have registered. We will host our usual events at the convention, including the Bureau, contests, an Intensive Writing Mini-Workshop with Scott Winter and David Knight, sessions covering a wide variety of topics. Keynote speaker will be Scott Pelley of CBS News and 60 Minutes. We will honor two principals as co-Administrators of the Year at our final awards ceremony. 

The Best in Texas Yearbook Contest will accept entries until Oct. 29, 2021.

TAJE and ILPC (The Interscholastic League Press Conference) hosted a summer virtual workshop June 16-18, 2021. They will jointly sponsor the Central Texas Journalism Invitational UIL Meet Jan. 16. It will be a virtual contest held on home campuses.  

The Association of Texas Photography Instructors plans to host its Winter Conference Feb. 25-26, 2022, in Austin.

Dr. Mary E. Gonzalez (D-El Paso) filed a New Voices bill (HB422) in the state Legislature that would restore student press rights in Texas. Rep. Harold Dutton, Chairman of the House Public Education Committee, never scheduled a hearing for the bill, so it ultimately died when the session ended May 31, 2021. New Voices Texas officers started a pledge program in which they asked student publications leaders, administrators and school board members to pledge their support for passage of a New Voices law in Texas. They will use these pledges to create and publish lists of student publications, administrators and school board members who support New Voices in Texas. 

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

Awards/honors: TAJE will honor the following award recipients at the Fall Fiesta Convention Oct. 17:

  • Texas Treasure – Mary Pulliam
  • Trailblazers – Diane Arnold, Michael Reeves, David Doerr, Kari Riemer
  • Pathfinders – Elizabeth Pinkham, Stephen Green, Candice Thomas

NSPA Pacemakers and CSPA Crowns from Texas are now listed on the TAJE site
The Best in Texas Newspapers and Broadcast were announced April 1, 2021.
The Best of Best 2021 in Online and Broadcast were announced April 3, 2021.

Twelve Texas publications were named NSPA’s top 100 Pacemaker winners May 20, 2021:

  • El Paisano, Yearbook, Westlake High School, Austin, Texas
  • Featherduster, Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Westlake High School, Austin, Texas
  • Hillcrest Hurricane, Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Hillcrest High School, Dallas, Texas
  • Marksmen, Yearbook, St. Mark’s School of Texas, Dallas, Texas
  • The ReMarker, Newspaper/Newsmagazine, St. Mark’s School of Texas, Dallas, Texas
  • Vibrato, Literary Arts Magazine, The Hockaday School, Dallas, Texas
  • Hoofbeats, Yearbook, Burges High School, El Paso, Texas
  • Stampede, Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Burges High School, El Paso, Texas
  • The Rider Online, Online, Legacy High School, Mansfield, Texas
  • The Lion, Yearbook, McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas
  • The Hawk, Yearbook, Pleasant Grove High School, Texarkana, Texas
  • The Tiger, Yearbook, Texas High School, Texarkana, Texas

For the Board: TAJE is pleased to welcome several new board members:

  • Emily Pyeatt Arnold, CJE – State Director
  • PJ Cabrera, CJE – Convention Director
  • Margaret Edmonson, CJE – Treasurer
  • Mauri Sparks – Digital Communications Specialist

Texas journalists and advisers continue to face personal and professional struggles, yet we’ve seen some of the most incredible journalism emerge from programs this year. We want the board to know that our normal programs are still forced to adapt and grow in new ways.

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

Membership: Utah has 10 JEA Members.

Events: The UCMA Futures Awards will happen sometime in May 2022, 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 at www.newspapercontest.com/futures. 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: www.facebook.com/newvoicesutah.

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

Membership: Vermont currently has eight members

Goals: My goal is to support the JEA members in my state. I plan to check in every two months via email to see how they are doing and if I can be helpful to them.

For the Board: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to complicate teaching/learning in Vermont’s schools. Marilee Atlee, Brattleboro Union High School, who advises a co-curricular journalism group, said, “It’s been a challenging start to the year, to say the least, but I think things are starting to turn in the right direction. On the plus side, we have 15 students signed up for the Beacon. Our second meeting is tomorrow, and we’re hoping to have an issue out at the end of the month.” Larissa Herbert, Bellows Free Academy, who advises The Mercury, said, “It has been a challenging year getting students back into the swing of things after having been home so much. However, The Mercury is doing well. We are continuing to collaborate with The St. Albans’s Messenger, who is printing some of our student articles so we get a broader readership. I also have a student collaborating with Ben Heintz and The Underground Workshop at VTDigger. He will be visiting my journalism class Friday to complete a mini-lesson with students and hopefully drum up some interest in his program.” Beth Fialko-Casey and Jory Hearst, Burlington High School, are no longer teaching journalism, but they are offering support to their colleague, Jeff Finn, who now advises The Register.

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

Membership: There are currently 97 members in Virginia, an increase of 15 members from the Spring 2021 Semiannual Report.

Happenings: The majority of our work this school year has been focused on organizing a virtual fall workshop in conjunction with the Virginia High School League. The workshop will have an opening keynote (Virginia favorite Larry Buchanan, New York Times graphic editor) followed by three workshop sessions and a “Lunch & Learn” session. The closing of the workshop will include the annual VHSL awards ceremony. 

Each session slot contains offerings that appeal to all publications, including featured professional speakers. Joining us as featured guests: Sandra Beasley, poet; Annie Schroeder, WSLS10 Roanoke; and Scott MacFarlane, NBC4 Washington.

Goals: We are always working toward outreach to underrepresented areas of our state. In planning for the VHSL Media Championships, we made a concerted effort to reach out to experts from all over the state, encouraging them to participate by presenting sessions or offering online critiques. With the help of Hillary Davis from SPLC, we are looking forward to continuing our efforts to get New Voices legislation passed in the Commonwealth.

Awards: A champion of student press freedom, we were thrilled to celebrate Scott Kizner, Ph.D., as the JEA Administrator of the Year. Virginia was equally as excited to celebrate Valerie Kibler, MJE, as the 2021 Carl Towley Award winner. Then, on Sept. 2, JEA named Lindsay Benedict, CJE, McLean (Virginia) High School and Chris Waugaman, MJE, Virginia State University, Petersburg, as Special Recognition Broadcast Advisers.

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

Membership: Washington state currently has 62 JEA members and 66 WJEA members (not including 47 student members). We have at least 20 members who are due to renew within the next month. 

Events: Since the spring report, WJEA has hosted our summer workshop. We hosted seven advisers on site at Washington State University. We had 26 student virtual attendees which included some out of state/country attendees. We did receive the Dow Jones News Fund grant to partially fund our summer workshop. This involved a theme of health and some partnering with organizations to publish student work. 

Journalism Day West was cancelled. UW is requiring all students to be vaccinated, and we simply were not confident with that information combined with the field trip requirements of our schools. 

Journalism Day East will be held Nov. 1 at Whitworth University – or virtually. At the time of this report, we had zero registrations; there is a vaccination requirement on the Whitworth campus, and schools are in limbo as far as what their field trip requirements are. Andrew Springer is our keynote speaker. He focuses on bringing news to Gen Z. 

We are in the planning stage for Adobe classes and our spring conference. 

We have partnered with the SPLC to produce a guide for our New Voices Law. This link has been shared with administration in our state. 

Awards and Honors: As part of our state critiques, schools can choose to be considered for our Emerald Awards (formerly known as Best of Washington). The publications are being scored in October and will be recognized during the J Day East closing session.

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

Membership: West Virginia currently has 10 members.

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

Membership: Wisconsin JEA membership currently stands at 56.

Goals: This year’s continued focus will be helping connect advisers in the state and continuing to build membership in both the JEA and other groups in the state, including the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association, the Kettle Moraine Press Association, and the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association. COVID has had an isolating influence, and I want to continue trying to combat that. I also want to continue to build on the success we had last year with the Wisconsin Journalist of the Year competition by trying to get applications into the double digits. Working with the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association, I continue to build contact information at schools across the state who have journalism programs that have not been reached out to before because we did not know they were there.

Happenings: Events in the state continue to be forced to be virtual. KEMPA plans to re-work its Fall Conference (usually in-person in October) to be virtual offerings made available to members. Currently the organization does plan to hold its Winter Retreat for advisers in person in early February, with journalist and adviser Sue Skalicky, MJE, serving as the guest speaker. NEWSPA is still in discussions about whether its Spring Conference (usually in April) will be held in person or virtually, as it was last year. The Wisconsin JEA has begun holding monthly adviser chats again, the first taking place in early September, and the next taking place Oct. 27. These will continue to provide advisers with a chance to touch base about issues important throughout the year.

Awards/Honors: Submissions for the Wisconsin Journalist of the Year competition will once again be due Jan. 31. As usual, the contest follows much of the same criteria of the national contest and will offer a $1,000 scholarship award for first place, made possible through cooperation with the Milwaukee Press Club Endowment.

For the Board: We have been up and down when it comes to the pursuit of New Voices legislation in our state. We would love to get back into gear with a push in Wisconsin and would appreciate continued support and information to help us along.

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

Membership: Wyoming currently has 12 members.

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.

Although 2021 marks NSPA’s 100th birthday, we have postponed our major in-person celebration until St. Louis. However, we plan to start our birthday party in Los Angeles this spring. We are still looking for stories and photos to share from past conventions. Keep checking our website for more information. It’s a great time to celebrate turning 101!

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.

We look forward to another year of our successful individual contest, Clips & Clicks. We look forward to the fall contest. We want to congratulate our first Sweepstakes winner Christopher Columbus High School.

The NSPA Advisory Committee continues to be an asset to our organization. I can’t wait to continue the conversations we have with our adviser and student members in Los Angeles. I appreciate 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. We also worked with the Philadelphia Marriott to eliminate penalties for this fall’s convention.

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
Student Press Law Center
1608 Rhode Island Ave. Suite 211
Washington, D.C. 20036

We’re weathering another school year filled with unpredictability in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic but the one thing you can be sure of is the Student Press Law Center’s commitment to guide student journalists and their advisers on all things law-related, while protecting, advancing and restoring their legal rights. As it has been since our founding in 1974, our free legal hotline is at the center of all that we do, and we are waiting for your call. 

Contact our (always) free legal hotline

Even at this early point in the school year, the SPLC legal hotline has been flooded with calls ranging from questions about access to information to copyright, to, of course, censorship. 

As the school year got underway, we have responded to many calls related to access to public records. We’ve heard reports of administrators using HIPAA or FERPA to justify their refusal for records (particularly where it relates to COVID) without having a firm grasp of how these laws apply to a student journalist’s specific and legal open records request. When this happens, our attorneys review the request with the caller, educate the student or adviser about their rights, and make sure they are prepared to obtain the information to which they are entitled.

Copyright also remains a popular topic on our hotline with many questions related to automated notices (“copyright bots”), which is a difficult and increasingly prevalent problem both for student media and professional outlets. As a result we’re trying to focus attention again on our copyright and fair use FAQs to raise awareness of the ways student journalists can avoid copyright infringement and continue producing great journalism.

And, as always (unfortunately), crazy censorship continues to take place. We had a big case break at the start of the school year in Bigelow, Arkansas. Bigelow High School student journalists produced a two-page timeline featuring some of the newsworthy events of the past year including coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 elections, and the murder of George Floyd. After only a handful of yearbooks were distributed, school officials physically removed the two-page spread from the already-published book. They claimed that “community backlash” led them to remove the pages.

A yearbook student called the SPLC hotline to check on the school’s actions, thinking that something wasn’t right. We assured the student that the removal of the pages was unacceptable and explained how it was unlawful censorship. The Student Press Law Center stepped in demanding the school re-print the pages along with a public apology. And, despite administrators’ attempts to quash the story, news outlets from around the country picked it up and publicized the two-page spread. Censorship does not work. You can read a few of their stories here:

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: 2-page timeline is torn from Bigelow school yearbooks 
NPR: High School Ripped News Pages Out Of A Yearbook By Student Journalists 
AP: Officials tear out yearbook pages, prompt censorship claims

The case in Bigelow is just one example of a very troubling and expanding effort by school administrators to erase the truthful retelling of the events of last year. SPLC is particularly concerned about cases of yearbook censorship, in particular, which seem to be racially motivated and censoring the experiences of Black and Brown students. This summer, we signed a joint statement with JEA and NSPA denouncing these acts. SPLC continues to work to defend the rights of student journalists to publish freely without fear of censorship or reprisals.  

SPLC intervenes as Friend of the Court at the U.S. Supreme Court

SPLC submitted an amicus brief in the important student speech case, B.L. v. Mahanoy Area School District last spring.  We were very pleased to have JEA and other partners sign on to the brief in what is now known as the “F%^K Cheer Case” and to have SPLC’s brief cited in one of the concurring decisions. The United States Supreme Court’s ruling was a strong statement in support of the free speech rights of students, generally. In our statement about the case, however, we underscored the hypocrisy of the court in carving out exceptions for the ability of student journalists to exercise those rights:

“The Mahanoy opinion says “[S]chools have a strong interest in ensuring that future generations understand the workings in practice of the well-known aphorism, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”’ But day-to-day, schools are relying heavily on another Supreme Court precedent [Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988)] to do the opposite: they both disapprove of what student journalists may say, and also deny their right to say it.”

In order to help student journalists and advisers understand this important ruling and how it opens the door to off-campus speech (including independent off-campus newspapers), we distributed accessible materials for student journalists and educators to help translate the complex decision.  

Preparing for Student Press Freedom Day: February 24, 2022

Mark your calendars, the fourth annual Student Press Freedom Day is February 24th, 2022.  This year, the day will coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s seminal Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969) ruling and is on the Thursday of Scholastic Journalism Week.

Student Press Freedom Day is a day of action where student journalists in the United States raise awareness of the challenges they face and celebrate their accomplishments. Our 2022 theme is “UNMUTE YOURSELF!” We want to focus attention on student journalists’ right to publish truthfully without inhibition, to tell the stories most important to their communities free from censorship – and from self-censorship.  

SPLC has been working with the Scholastic Journalism Week Planning Committee and our friends at SPRC to plan ways to get involved. More information will be rolled out soon on the JEA Listserv, on social media channels and on the Student Press Freedom Day website (www.studentpressfreedom.org).  If you have questions, please contact SPLC Communications and Outreach Officer Andrew Benson at abenson@splc.org

New Voices wins in New Jersey and student leaders are poised to move ahead

2021 has been a big year for New Voices – a student-powered nonpartisan grassroots movement of state-based activists who seek to protect student press freedom with state laws. 

After years of trying, and thanks in large part to the energy and momentum created by a Student Press Freedom Day-eve student-led Town Hall meeting, New Voices New Jersey was unanimously adopted by both houses of the New Jersey legislature. This was particularly notable as the Assembly had never even voted on the bill despite years of trying. Congratulations to the many students and advisers in New Jersey who have worked so hard to bring this to fruition.  When the governor signs the bill, New Jersey will become the 15th New Voices state restoring and protecting press freedom for student journalists. 

At the same time, New Jersey will be poised to jump into a new implementation phase of New Voices, which SPLC launched last January in a pilot project in Washington State. We recognize that simply passing a New Voices bill is not enough. SPLC is committed to working with state-based JEA chapters and students and teachers on the ground to be sure that New Voices laws are applied in reality. So, to do that, this fall we are working top-down and bottom-up to make sure that everyone knows what the law means and how it needs to be enacted. In September, SPLC e-mailed this Know Your Rights Guide to every school district superintendent in the state, with physical mailings of the materials to follow. Know Your Rights posters and written guides are heading to each classroom later this year.  In addition, we have been working with the Washington State School District Association to educate school district attorneys about the law, and we look forward to more work on implementation in the months ahead.  

To sustain and build momentum, SPLC also hosted the second New Voices Leaders Institute which brought together 22 high school students from 10 states, to take a deep dive into advocacy strategy, planning, understanding New Voices bills, and setting goals for the 2022 legislative season. As legislatures return to more normal operations as they move beyond COVID emergencies, we are very excited for what the coming legislative cycle holds for New Voices!

SPLC resources for you and your students

SPLC is here for you: free legal help, online resources, guest speakers, or advocacy opportunities. You and your students can always make an appointment to speak to an SPLC attorney on any issue that arises. You can schedule an SPLC expert to come talk with your newsroom or classroom on an array of topics through SPLC in the Classroom. Or you can find a wide range of resources on our website. Many key resources are captured on our Back to School pages. This fall, we produced special sections for students and educators. We think these resources could be particularly helpful for new advisers. 

We stand ready to help in any way we can. We will miss you all in-person this fall at the Convention, but hope to see you when we can all gather safely again. To get the latest news from SPLC, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

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