JEA honors Hutcheson with Aspiring Young Journalist Award
THE SCIENCE GUY After Bill Nye’s presentation about climate change for the Arizona Speaker Series at
Arizona Federal Theatre on Jan. 8, Tiffany Hutcheson (8) interviews him backstage. Hutcheson was only supposed to get a photo and a handshake but asked him about how students can speak up about climate change without the backlash from their peers. “Pester the grown-ups to vote,” Nye said. “If students fear criticism, but want change, their parents can help make that change.” (Photo by science teacher Wendy McQuilkin)
The Journalism Education Association has named Tiffany Hutcheson of Apache Junction, Arizona, the 2020 Aspiring Young Journalist Award honoree. JEA presents this award to junior high/middle school students to acknowledge and reward their work, and to encourage them to continue their journalistic studies in high school.
Briana Worthington of Winslow Township Middle School in Atco, New Jersey, was selected as runner-up.
Hutcheson served on the Oro yearbook staff for two years, first as an assistant editor and then as editor-in-chief at Cactus Canyon Junior High School. Her adviser, Jason Davis, CJE, wrote, “She has all the skills: photography, interviewing, writing and design. Being the best on our team has never been good enough for Tiffany; she takes it upon herself to learn more and improve her skills on her own. She looks for inspiration, examples and tips anywhere she can find them.”
She was recruited out of Davis’s Journalism I class after the first quarter of her seventh-grade year.
“She was scheduled to go on a school trip and volunteered to take a camera,” Davis said. “After just a five-minute photography tutorial, we ended up filling an entire module with her images. She continued to improve and take on more assignments and was one of the biggest contributors to our 2019 book that was named a (CSPA) Crown and (NSPA) Pacemaker finalist.”
Judge David Ragsdale, CJE, of Clarke Central High School, Athens, Georgia, said, “As a junior high school student, Ms. Hutcheson is a journalist with an impressive portfolio already. Her vision for storytelling and self-expression will carry her on to continued excellence in scholastic journalism. It was a pleasure to review her portfolio and to see the passion she brings to this critically important work.”
Runner-up Briana Worthington has served for two years as a staff reporter for The Soaring Eagle newspaper, as well as a member of the video team at Winslow Township Middle School. Her adviser, Heather Hay, endorsed Worthington: “What defines Bri in my mind is her constant willingness to contribute to the team without need for recognition. She consistently spends two or three class periods in my room, volunteering to take on extra projects or to finish stories for others in danger of not hitting the deadline. Reflecting on this year, I can easily say our program would not be where it is now without Briana’s quiet, thoughtful leadership, and our rising eighth graders will be better prepared because of the example she has set.”
Judge Joe Humphrey, MJE, of Hillsborough High School, Tampa, Florida, said, “Briana showcased excellence in video production, writing and photography. Her future school will be lucky to welcome her as she continues to grow as a journalist.”
Due to the cancellation of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, the award winners were recognized April 18 on JEA’s Facebook Live platform.
Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.