Student Journalist Impact Award

Deadline: March 10

About the Award

The purpose of the Student Journalist Impact Award is to recognize a secondary school student (or a team of students who worked on the same entry) who, through the study and practice of journalism, has made a significant difference in his/her own life, the lives of others, the school he/she attends and/or the community in which he/she resides. (NOTE: This is not a scholarship competition. Do not send transcripts.)

This award is co-sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. The award recognizes secondary school students who, through the practice of journalism, have made a significant difference in the lives of others.

Entry Criteria

  • Teachers/advisers may nominate students or students may nominate themselves for this award. (More than one student per entry per school is permissible.)
  • The entry must be that of a secondary school student(s) whose teacher/adviser is a JEA member at the time it was published, broadcast or created.
  • The entry must be original student work and must have been published within two years preceding the deadline. Date of publication/production must be indicated.

Application Form

  • Please fill out this form to nominate an individual or publication for the Impact Award. Nominations are due March 10.
  • The entry will include URLs or PDF uploads of the article, series of articles (as it/they appeared in print), or multimedia that made the impact.
  • A narrative of at least 250 words explaining why the piece or series was produced and how the entry impacted the individuals, others, the school and/or community. Include, if any, media coverage that the entry generated in the community.
  • Three letters, uploaded as PDFs, attesting to the impact of the work from the adviser, a school administrator, professional journalist and/or member of the community (parent, student, resident). The impact of the work, not the author(s), should be the focus.



2023 Impact Award winner shines light on impact of teacher shortages

Jane McGill, Omaha (Nebraska) Central High School (Brody Hilgenkamp, adviser)

The question of “How many teachers would be leaving after the year” led Jane McGill on a two-month-long investigation into the impending teacher shortage at Omaha (Nebraska) Central High School. Her investigation shed light not just on the situation at her high school, but throughout Omaha. Her diligence and determination to share the plight of teachers by using their own voices was picked up by local news media as well.


2021 Student Impact Award winner uses skills to bravely document protests in Oregon

Eddy Binford-Ross, South Salem High School, Salem, Oregon (Brian Eriksen, CJE, adviser)

In this age of New Voices, legislators around the country argue that student journalists are not mature enough to cover stories important and consequential to their communities. Eddy Binford-Ross proves them wrong. Her fearless reporting of protests in Portland, Oregon, not only helped inform readers of The Clypian at South Salem High School, but also readers and viewers around the world. Even in the face of great personal risk, Binford-Ross knew that documenting this moment in history was a worthwhile and important endeavor, showing the world the impact of student voice.


2020 Impact Award winner’s reporting prompts school board to move from discussion to action

The Orange & Black, Grand Junction (Colorado) High School (Megan Fromm, MJE, adviser)

The students at Grand Junction performed that most valuable of journalistic functions: They identified a problem, thoroughly researched how it came to be, presented the information in easily digestible, but clearly understood, forms, and spurred a community to act on and improve the situation. And even though the voters of Mesa County eventually failed the students at GJHS, the effect of the stories remains, and the community the students empowered remains committed to improving the education of their children and peers.



2019 Impact Award winner’s work motivates school to address mental-health issues

The Chronicle, Classical Academy High School, Escondido, California (Barak Smith and Corie Shields, CJE, advisers)

After the death of one of their classmates, the staff of The Chronicle knew it needed to do something to help the school and community learn more about mental health and the impact on their generation. What followed was an in-depth look driven by information collected in 370 student survey responses, which accounts for almost half of their student body. “Invisible Wounds,” a full-page spread, presented information that the school and community not only listened to, but used as a driving force to take action and make change.



Booster Redux staff earns Impact Award for coverage of new principal who lacked credentials

Booster Redux staff, Pittsburg (Kan.) High School (Emily Smith, CJE, adviser)
The staff of the Booster Redux reporting on the appointment of the new principal for Pittsburg High School took an unexpected turn when it delved into the candidate’s credentials. Numerous discrepancies were uncovered by the students that had gone unchecked by the school district’s administration. In the wake of the students’ investigation, the new principal resigned. The administration and Pittsburg School Board hired a consultant to better screen applicants. The story was picked up by a host of national media.

Special Recognition

Staffs of the Aerie yearbook and Eagle Eye newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida (Melissa Falkowski and Sarah Lerner, advisers)
Special recognition was given for their coverage following the deaths of 17 students and staff at the school Feb. 14, 2018. MSDHS students launched a national discussion on gun control, school safety and the political influence of the National Rifle Association.



Vermont student wins Impact Award for coverage of contract talks between board, teachers
Alexandre Silberman, Burlington (Vt.) High School, (David Lamberti, adviser)
In the fall of 2016, heated contract talks stretched on for weeks between the Burlington (Vermont) Board of Education and the teachers union. By mid-October a teacher strike was imminent. The “go to” person for updates on the contentious negotiations was student journalist and reporter for the Burlington High School Register, Alexandre Silberman. In the absence of local media coverage, Silberman provided balanced, accurate and consistent coverage of the negotiations. He live-streamed meetings, dispelled rumors and provided Facebook updates. Professional news organizations, including Vermont Public Radio, cited his reporting.



JEA Impact Award winner sheds light on teen suicide
Justice Bennett, The Blackfriar Chronicle, Malvern (Pa.) Preparatory School, (Kate Plows, CJE, adviser)
Bennett drew on a number of angles that included statistics, suicide prevention, intervention strategies and resources for families and friends on reacting to and healing from a suicide. His reporting resulted in suicide-prevention training at his school. Additionally, his story, “A Light of Exposure,” was reprinted or quoted in several publications.



HUB reporters win JEA Student Impact Award
Kellen Browning and Grace Richey, The HUB, Davis (Calif.) High School (Kelly Wilkerson, adviser)
The reporters addressed the issue of a lack of a proper facility for student lunch and activities at the school. Their reporting spurred the Davis School Board into action.


Derek Smith, Adviser

"Skyway is Ghetto" — Cleverly packaged with a provocative title (“Skyway is Ghetto”) and graphic “Post-it” notes to draw readers in, the staff of the Renton High School Arrow newsmagazine broke down perceptions of the neighborhood and challenged readers to see what is really there.


Not awarded


MavLife newspaper, La Costa Canyon High School, Carlsbad, Calif. 

Brenna Lyles, reporter; Suzi Van Steenbergen, adviser
Topic: Where student activity moneys come from, how they are spent and the rules governing the use of the fund, with special focus on the yearbook. Impact of the reporting: District instituted new policies and oversight to ensure the integrity of the funds.

Honorable Mention
The HUB newspaper, Davis (Calif.) High School
The HUB staff, reporters; Kelly Wilkerson, adviser
Topic: Campus police used pepper spray on peaceful demonstrators protesting the tuition hikes at University of California-Davis. Impact: The daily coverage posted on The HUB website received thousands of hits. HUB video was used by “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.”


Redwood Bark, Redwood High School in Larkspur, Calif.
Topic: Profiling of local teens by local police


Not awarded


Not awarded


Viking sports magazine, Palo Alto HS, CA; Peter Johnson and Noah Sneider, co-editors-in-chief
Topic: Hazing and other initiations in sports at their school


Not awarded


Columbus North HS, IN
Topic: A story on oral sex and the casual attitude of youth toward the act caused school board members to consider changing the open forum status of the school's media. The students fought for their rights and the board agreed to retain the open forum policy.


Saint Albans HS, Washington, DC
Topic: Series on negative student behavior forces private school to re-examine adherence to founding values of honor and discipline.


Not awarded


JoAnna Marx, Lodi HS, WI
Topic: Low pay lowers morale; raises for some (administrators), cuts for others (support staff)


Francine Martinez and Joey Willhite, Amos Alonzo Stagg HS, CA
Topic: School diversity. Journeys section in newspaper featured immigrants' challenges in this school that went from majority white to majority minority.


Lenora Jones and Heidi Visser, Apple Leaf, Wenatachee HS, WA
Topic: A series on Perceptions — stereotypes, peer pressures and outside looking in.


Marina Hennessy, Avon HS, IN
Topic: Hazing at football camp


Staffs of WBNC and Silver Chips, Montgomery Blair HS, MD
Topic: A coalition of students worked several years to reverse a school district policy that was repressive of free speech.


Eric Drudis, Lynbrook HS, CA
Topic: Unknown


All Cultural Achievement Plan Team, Davenport Central HS, IA
Topic: Staff wrote and showed leadership in creating the All Cultural Achievement Plan to improve education and racial harmony.


Staffs of Shawnee Mission North HS and Olathe North HS, KS,
for North special issue
Topic: Two staffs created special issue to dispel rumors after a shooting left two teens dead and four injured. The fight began at a football game between the two schools.


Staff of Featherduster, Westlake HS, TX
Topic: Stories about homosexuality in a diversity issue stirred up the administrators and community.


Karen Abravanel, OR
Topic: Newspaper staff decided not to run an ad that was anti-Semitic. When Abravenel noticed a story in the New York Times about Brandeis University running the ad, she wrote a letter to the editor explaining why her school newspaper didn't run the ad. Much commentary from the public followed.

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