5 schools awarded $100 for 100 Hours of Service Journalism projects

5 schools awarded $100 for 100 Hours of Service Journalism projects

Five schools have been named as winners in the Journalism Education Association’s 100 Hours of Service Journalism Project competition. The competition, which called for student publications staffs to use their journalistic skills to benefit their school communities, is part of the centennial celebration of the organization.

“Participating in the 100 Hours of Service Journalism Project was a great way for journalists to use their skills to help someone else, unite their staffs through collaboration and teamwork and earn positive recognition for their staffs and schools. We wanted to find more ways for students to join JEA’s centennial celebration and I was tickled to death when former JEA Executive Director Linda Puntney came to us with this idea,” JEA President Val Kibler, MJE, said.

Service projects ranged from hosting workshops for other schools to creating learning communities within their school and providing free photographic services to faculty; to building awareness and understanding by telling the stories of senior citizens; to creating packages to destigmatize mental health and helping another school start a newspaper to spread awareness for scholastic journalism in an international setting.

Winning staffs

  • Bear Tracks newspaper, Blair (Nebraska) High School
  • Granite Bay Gazette, Granite Bay (California) High School
  • NOISE News, Spectrum High School, Elk River, Minnesota
  • The Standard, The American School, London;
  • Whitney High Student Media, Whitney High School, Rocklin, California

Winners received $100 and were officially recognized April 4, 2024 at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

Schools can still participate in the JEA Centennial 100 Hours of Service Journalism Project this spring, summer and early fall. Submit your completed project by Oct. 15 for a chance for your school to win $100.

Round 1 Projects

Blair High School

The staff of the Bear Tracks newspaper used their interviewing skills to capture the stories of holiday memories of elderly residents at Carter Place, a senior living center. The series appeared in the November 2023 issue of Bear Tracks but was also picked up by the local paper broadening the reach of the coverage throughout the community.

“Since the story ran in our local newspaper, both the students and the community were able to read the results of the interviews,” adviser Kelli Westphal said. “The human interaction between the high school staff and the senior citizens provided greater understanding for both. The emphasis was also on listening to the seniors which delivered a message of respect and interest. We received positive feedback from the community after publication.”

Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay staffers created a series of stories dealing with mental health that ran in the January and February, 2024, Gazette. The articles covered 14 topics advocating for mental health awareness and services. By using their journalistic skills, the staff promoted the destigmatization of mental health.

Spectrum High School

The staff at Spectrum High School focused on issues of concern to their student body. They used their journalistic skills to build awareness by creating a PSA on the unhoused and developing two story packages about traffic safety and mental health.

The result was the spread of awareness about the issues and needs in the community.

“The project was a successful in that it spread awareness for some serious issues,” adviser Rachel Chrest, MJE, said. “The senior who did a PSA on homelessness to spread awareness and gain supplies was able to provide a shelter with socks and hygeine products. They realized how their journalism skills can help spread the message for a need in the community to fulfill it.”

The American School in London

Staffers of The Standard hosted workshops for an area London school that was starting a newspaper. Standard editors led a series of sessions and activities during their three-hour stays on the campus.

The result was spreading the importance of scholastic journalism in an international setting.

“There are very few journalism programs at the scholastic level in the UK, so this school reached out to us for help,” adviser Louisa Avery, MJE, said.

The Standard staff received positive feedback from the workshop participants.

“The team left galvanized and more confident in what they are doing. And we have so many new ideas thanks to your innovations.”

Whitney High School

The staff at Whitney High Student Media advocated for student journalism by using their own journalism skills to create a professional learning community with other staffs. Staffers taught mini-lessons and hosted design critique nights with food and games and feedback on work in progress.

The group also provided free photography sessions for faculty headshots and departmental photos. The editors-in-chief led the programs and created a Google Site page showing their focus on serving their peers, faculty and future journalism students.

“We got tons of praise and compliments, which felt nice to receive and validated our efforts,” student leader Emerson Kirby said. “Definitely the local PLC sessions and the teacher portrait aspects will be service projects we continue next year based on how popular and meaningful it was.”

Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, promoting professionalism, encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

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