Auburn, Maine, U.S.A. – When a gunman began firing inside a Parkland, Florida high school last year, students scurried for safety. Some of them, still unsure of their own fate, began what became a cascade of student journalism – asking questions, taking pictures, shooting video, offering commentary and refusing to give in to fear.
That awful day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when 17 students died, resonated around the country as student reporters and editors focused attention on the killings and the need to do something about the guns so often used on innocents.
Three of the five major awards in Youth Journalism International’s annual contest, now in its 10th year, are going to students who grappled with the issue of school shootings, including one for Courage in Journalism handed out to the students in Parkland who displayed cool under fire as they tried to capture the moment as journalists in a situation none of them should ever have had to face.
One of them, a senior named David Hogg, locked in a classroom near the killer, took out his camera and whispered in the dark, “So, right now, we are in the school – an active shooter. It’s not a drill.”
What he did next was pure journalism. As Hogg told Time shortly after his escape, “While I was in there, I thought, ‘What impact have I had? What will my story be if I die here?’ And the only thing I could think of was, pull out my camera and try telling others. As a student journalist, as an aspiring journalist, that’s all I could think: Get other people’s stories on tape. If we all die, the camera survives, and that’s how we get the message out there, about how we want change to be brought about.”
He proceeded to capture the words of at least two of his fellow students as they hid from the killer.
Hogg wasn’t the only young journalist at the school. Quite a few took notes or pictures and did the job few professionals could imagine.
We stand in awe at both their bravery and dedication to journalism. We’re proud to recognize the courage of students who exemplified the best in journalism during one of the worst moments in recent American history.
They weren’t alone, though, in their readiness to confront the reality of gun violence.
The Frank Keegan “Take No Prisoners” Award for News went to Gauri Nema for her coverage of school security changes at West Windsor-Plainsboro South High School in New Jersey and the Jacinta Bunnell Award for Commentary went to Christine O’Hara of West Potomac High School in Virginia for her piece on the fear Parkland created.
“It was something that really scared me. It made me realize how we have to change our country,” O’Hara said. “No child should have to be afraid in their own school.”
Nema said she tried especially hard to make sure her story was fair and accurate because she knew how sensitive everyone was about school security after Parkland.
This year’s Student Journalist of the Year, Stella White of the Padua Academy in Delaware – who captured our top award for her stewardship of the school paper and her own writing – had a piece in the wake of a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.
White blended her family’s experience with reactions to the killings when she wrote, “I remember visiting the plaque commemorating the Jewish lives lost in the Ukrainian village from which my great-grandfather left for America. I do not know their names, I do not know their faces. I know only that they were shot, one by one, and are now commemorated with a plaque on the side of the road on the outskirts of town. This cannot be the reality today.”
White recognized the power of the press to connect people and tell the stories of marginalized communities.
“Ultimately, journalists are a voice for the people,” she said. “Journalism is the driving force behind democracy,” White said, adding that she once lived in Malaysia and saw what happens when the press isn’t allowed to operate freely.
We commend all the students who submitted work that dealt with the issue squarely and passionately. Taken together, they offer hope.
In addition, YJI’s contest tapped Matthew LaPorte of Southwest Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas its Journalism Educator of the Year. One of his students, junior Kyle Bayudan praised LaPorte’s combination of humor, love and “everlasting energy.”
“Teaching journalism is a privilege that I don’t ever take for granted,” LaPorte said. “Having the opportunity to work with bright, motivated and caring students who want to tell important stories is everything I could ever hope to ask for.”
More than two dozen contest judges – including many media professionals – selected winners in 40 categories. A complete list of winners, many with comments from judges, is below.
Those earning 2019 awards in YJI’s Excellence in Journalism contest represent 12 countries on five continents as well as 19 U.S. states. Winners of the top five categories received crystal trophies and all winners get custom-made award certificates.
The nonprofit Youth Journalism International has been educating the next generation of news professionals since 1994. Formally incorporated in 2007, it is a 501(c)(3) educational public charity. Its website can be found at youthjournalism.org.
The contest covered work published in English during 2018 by non-professional student journalists aged 19 and under.
For more information, please contact Jackie Majerus, Youth Journalism International’s executive director, at (860) 655-8188 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. More photos and information can be found online at youthjournalism.org.
Here is the complete list of winners, with judges’ comments in italics:
STUDENT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Stella White of Padua Academy, Wilmington, Delaware.
Logan Crews of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri
Kimberly Mitchell of Carlmont High School, Belmont, California.
JOURNALISM EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Matthew LaPorte of Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada
FINALIST: Mitch Eden of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri
COURAGE IN JOURNALISM AWARD
WINNER: The Journalism Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida, for thinking and acting like journalists when a gunman attacked their school.
FINALIST: Sofia Scarlat of Whitmore High School, Morgantown, West Virginia, for her attempts to practice journalism in Romania and her work to help encourage other Romanian girls to do the same.
FRANK KEEGAN “TAKE NO PRISONERS” AWARD FOR NEWS
WINNER: Gauri Nema of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, West Windsor, New Jersey, for “Parkland killings spur change at New Jersey school.”
JACINTA MARIE BUNNELL AWARD FOR COMMENTARY
WINNER: Christine O’Hara of West Potomac High School, Alexandria, Virginia, for “We were fine – until the fire alarm went off.”
Logan Crews of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Using the restroom in peace.”
Lili Burleson of John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tenn., for “Separating immigrant families is wrong.”
FIRST PLACE: Evie Horton of El Camino Real Charter High School, Woodland Hills, Calif., for “Kavanaugh’s appointment normalizes teen sexual assault.”
Clear and impactful imagery, concise and direct text.
SECOND PLACE: Maggie Burton of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “School supplies.”
Clear and impactful imagery.
Trisha Patel of Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “Drinking cartoon.”
Great use of color
Isabelle Del Rosario of Southwest Career and Technical Academy for “For the safety of students,” “The miseducation of Donald Trump” and “Trump’s Simple Solution.”
FIRST PLACE: Sarah Se-Jung Oh, Korea International School, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, for “Put awkwardness aside and talk about periods and pads.”
SECOND PLACE: Ellie Baden, Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “Standing Up to Anti-Semitism.”
Shareen Basyari, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Self-care with a chronic disease.”
Logan Crews, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Using the restroom in peace.”
Eriyale Williams of Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Cocoa butter with cornrows.”
FIRST PLACE: The Epitaph, Homestead High School, Cupertino, Calif. for “Combating hate speech in a diverse community.”
An extremely well written and strong editorial. This is an excellent example of work that speaks to students where they are and leaves them knowing exactly where the newspaper stands on the hate crimes occurring in the school and why taking a stance matters.
SECOND PLACE: Southwest Shadow, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Power at the pull of a trigger.”
While others in this category tackled gun violence at school this year, this editorial stands out with its logical argument, quality of writing and strong ending: Our right to education should not come with the condition that we should fear being at school. The simple poll at the end is a great way to continue the discussion and engage with students.
The Musket, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass., for “Sexual Harassment at Lexington High School: What We Have and What We Need.”
What we have, what we need is a very effective way to provide students with information they should want and the reasons change is needed.
The Statesman, Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “The Choice to Cheat.”
In a crowded field of entries, this topic stood out. The willingness to tackle cheating might not be the biggest of the day, but something that impacts students every day, makes this worthy of a call out. It is well written.
The Sequoyah Scribe, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tenn., for “Cyberbullying ruins lives for many victims.”
A well-written editorial that makes its point. Considering this is a middle school newspaper, the writing is mature beyond the students’ years.
The Kirkwood Call, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Settling for Exclusion.”
The editorial makes a compelling, clear and relatable case for inclusion of transgender students in high school sports. It would have been stronger by finding a student in the school that inclusion would help.
FIRST PLACE: Thomas Birmingham, Logan Crews and Jack Rintoul, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Diversity.”
SECOND PLACE: Maisie Bradley, Izzy Colón and Mary Grace Heartlein of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “The fate of hate.”
Madeleine Deisen of Marietta, Georgia; Gauri Nema of West Windsor, New Jersey; Christine O’Hara of Alexandria, Virginia; Garret Reich of Glenwood, Iowa; Sean Monteith of Lewiston, Maine; Isabel Slippen of Croton-on-Hudson, New York; Amber Shakil of Lahore, Pakistan; Alyce Collett of Melbourne, Australia; Owen Ferguson of Doune, Scotland; Luke Ashworth of Bristol, Conn.; Sydney Hallett of St. Louis, Missouri and Selvaganeshamoorthi Balakrishnan of Singapore for “After Parkland.”
Abby Beaumont, Reeya Patel, Jenny Leeper and Anna Eggers of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Women of BD.”
Madison Wallace, Arthur Kopellas, Megan Boyle and Matthew LeDoux of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Beyond Parkland.”
FEATURE WRITING, individual
FIRST PLACE: Eleanor Busker of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwick, Mass., for “ADHD.”
A very interesting piece of journalism. The writer tackled a difficult topic with a personal eye, interviewing relevant people with professionalism. She also gave information on the topic, so that every reader can enjoy and understand.
SECOND PLACE: Lauren Nehorai of Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City, Calif., for “Blending Intersectionality with Politics.”
An excellent piece which provides well-documented information on an important, yet not so known topic. The writer showed great writing and journalistic skills.
Madison Wallace, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Living an Authentic Life.”
The writer chose a delicate topic and tackled it with grace and cleverness. She managed to engage the reader with her writing style and gave relevant insight on an important topic.
Harry Vuong, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Challenges of being a teen parent.”
Interesting insight, well-structured and impartial, with good interviews and a solid story.
Hayden Cohrs, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “LGBT for Indy.”
The LGBT theme is extremely important and very widely discussed, but the writer managed to offer a good and original story.
FEATURE WRITING, team
FIRST PLACE: Cheryl Chen, Nellie Maloney, Bella Schneider and Olivia Lamberti of Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “American Identity.”
A fascinating look at what it means to be an American. This piece includes a lot of different perspectives and takes them all seriously.
SECOND PLACE: Camille Baker and Hannah Cohen of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “The reality of rock bottom.”
A brave telling of their truths. Well done.
HONORABLE MENTION: Emma Lingo, Sophie Chappell, Claire Boysen and Kiden Smith of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Four neediest cases.”
Great public service journalism.
FIRST PERSON ESSAY
FIRST PLACE: Daniel Kim, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Call me Hwijung.”
The intro grabs the reader’s attention immediately, and Kim does a good job of retaining that attention. Clear and personal, but not saccharine.
SECOND PLACE: Tharwa Boulifi, Lycée Pierre Mendès-France, Tunis, Tunisia, for “My International Identity: French School in Tunisia.”
Boulifi draws the reader comfortably into a milieu that might not be familiar to them, and seamlessly paints both her physical and emotional landscape.
Abby Hayes Beaumont, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “What would you do for clear skin?”
Beaumont connects with the reader through an all-too-common experience.
Evelyn Sanchez, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Here to stay.”
Sanchez’s narrative stretches across several years, but she manages to traverse this without a hitch.
FIRST PLACE: Yunkyo Kim of Northeastern University, Boston, Mass., for “New Year wishes.”
The ethereal self-portrait mesmerizes as a new year approaches.
MULTIMEDIA ENTERPRISE, TEAM
FIRST PLACE: Cayla Sweazie, Jack Campbell, Abby Detorie and Sydney Watson of Potomac Falls High School, Sterling, Virginia, for “The Roar Knows: The Grind.”
This docu-series follows the Potomac Falls Panthers basketball team in their quest to win a state championship. Featuring interviews from players, coaches, and family members, along with extensive game, practice, and locker room footage, the series provides a compelling look at the experiences of an elite high school team. Though far from hard-hitting journalism, The Roar Knows: The Grind is nonetheless an impressive achievement.
FIRST PLACE: Zachary Khouri of Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Trans Discrimination: Then And Now.”
A good, in-depth look at a serious topic from both a local and a global perspective.
SECOND PLACE: Emma Triana, McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Abby Seim.”
A terrific person-focused tale on a tragic event.
HONORABLE MENTION: Eliza Wandewalle of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Jolly Days.”
Nice work capturing movement and sound to tell the story.
MULTIMEDIA FEATURE, TEAM
FIRST PLACE: Ally Tauber, Samantha Richards and Anika Newland of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Luna.”
A delight from start to finish! Great narrative build, with two twists – and catchy musical beds to match each new phase of the story. Effective editing cutting back and forth between cat and students. Also, well-told with little actual narration, which is difficult to do. A complete story in just three and a half minutes. Practically perfect!
SECOND PLACE: Kieran Simmer and Jacob Einstein of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “ACE Academy.”
Fast-paced and engaging. What kept it from first place was its somewhat limited scope. A comment or two from students about how it inspired them to learn more or think about a future in air travel would have been the perfect capper. Always look for different ways to humanize your story.
HONORABLE MENTION: Shareen Basyari and Laurence Eslava of Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Say hello to the new year.”
Engaging, natural and topical discussion. Its only flaw is that it’s one-note: A variety of musical beds that changed with each new topic, or new sound effects (the opening notes of “Hakuna Matata” just before the “Lion King” segment, for example) would have given the podcast some sound variety and interest for a more “multimedia” feel.
MULTIMEDIA NEWS INDIVIDUAL
FIRST PLACE: Audrey Berns of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “St. Louis Post-Dispatch Women of the Crime Beat speaker series.”
This story was refreshing because it featured people we do not often hear about – women working as crime reporters. It is important for journalists to feature people from all walks of life, where readers, viewers and listeners can see themselves in our stories, or learn about those who are different. The camera interviews were nicely done, mixed with the background scenes, and it was nice to have a student’s reaction. The judges enjoyed hearing the women discuss serious journalism.
SECOND PLACE: Mandy Hitchcock of Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Save the Bees Day creates a buzz around campus.”
It is great to have a multi-media piece, but nothing beats good writing. This strong had a nice lead, as well as good graphics interspersed. Be sure to cite the source of images.
MULTIMEDIA NEWS TEAM
FIRST PLACE: Cayla Sweazie, Jack Campbell, Abby Detorie and Sydney Watson of Potomac Falls High School, Sterling, Virginia, for “The Roar Knows: The Grind.”
What amazing serendipity that this basketball team’s epic, record season was caught on tape in its entirety. We’re so glad the journalists had the resources and time to take such a comprehensive look at the season. There was inconsistency in the tone of and poor lighting on some of the interviews, and there were too many interview jump cuts, considering all the b-roll available for editing, but the docu-series as a whole was very professionally produced. It told a riveting story. We might even watch it again just for our enjoyment.
SECOND PLACE: Izzy Colón, Adler Bowman and Thomas Birmingham of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Journey to the polls: voter accessibility in the 2018 midterm elections.”
The descriptive and human lede on the text story was a great way to pull the reader in and keep her attention. The journalists also did an admirable job using photos to tell what could have been a visually uninteresting story. The video was a nice complement to the written word. We’re glad the students tackled such an important topic. The most important thing any journalist can do is to be read. Based on its multifaceted presentation, no doubt this piece was well-read.
Kimberly Mitchell and Nisha Marino of Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Holi celebrates spring with people of all colors.”
An uplifting look at a tradition about which many Americans are still learning. Gorgeous photos and presentation! The medium is perfect. The only thing missing was an explanation – a sentence or two – on the reasons behind this tradition. Why colored rice flower, and why springtime?
Ally Ortmann, Jack Anderson, Sophie Chappell, Ethan Peter, Anna Retzlaff and Kiden Smith of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Oct. 26, 2018 (back-to-back conversation)”
What an innovative idea for a video! We would love to see more videos like this and to know more about what inspired this approach. Overall this was pretty educational. But the male student seemed to get noticeably more talking time, and they were framed differently, which was a little jarring. Otherwise, it was fun watching while anticipating how they’d react once they saw each other for the first time! The ending didn’t disappoint.
Staff of Padua360 of Padua Academy, Wilmington, Delaware, for “The Philly Zoo Experience.”
The judges loved the slice-of-life aspect of this piece. It’s the kind of approach that can really give us a feel for a place. The comprehensive photo galleries helped advance the story, especially the kids’ gallery. What this could have used was an introductory piece tying it all together. Why did the journalists want to go in-depth on this topic at this time? Was there an important zoo anniversary or milestone? New exhibits opening?
Talia Fine, Emma Romanowsky, Rachel Matatyaou, Kaylee George, Nisha Marino, Veronica Roseborough and Samantha Dahlberg of Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Smoke on the water: Bay Area shelters from Camp Fire smoke.”
Such an important topic, and the journalists did an admirable job of tying in references to why this issue mattered to students and teachers in particular. The wealth of graphics added visual interest and entry points to the story. Two small quibbles: The graphics were a little too text-heavy, and they were lumped together in one area rather than flowing throughout the story. Also, this is the kind of piece that calls for a great anecdotal lede. For example, start your story with a student who’s affected – someone who has asthma and can’t come to class, or one of the athletes who talked about how hard it was to exercise amid poor air quality.
FIRST PLACE: Veronica Roseborough of Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Athletic determination stays strong despite anemia.”
One heck of a piece. Writing could stand alone without multi-media aspect. A ton of research aka time and effort is obvious. One criticism: why bury the “fun” stuff at the bottom? The runner (assume it’s Allie?) with the symptoms buttons was awesome.
SECOND PLACE: Madeline Aurelio of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Coach Simmons.”
Nice use of B-roll to accompany interview. Could have used another voice or two to add to the coach’s show. Also mention team having “to say farewell” to the previous coach. Maybe your audience is aware of the reason why, but an outside would not know.
HONOROABLE MENTION: Delaney Galligan of Taos High School, of Taos, New Mexico, for “Volleyball.”
MULTIMEDIA SPORTS TEAM
FIRST PLACE: Cayla Sweazie, Jack Campbell, Abby Detorie and Sydney Watson of Potomac Falls High School, Sterling, Virginia, for “The Roar Knows: The Grind.”
An ambitious project that was brought to life with effective camera work, audio and editing. The access and authenticity of the videos took the viewer inside the season.
SECOND PLACE: Kieran Simmer, Jacob Einstein and Eliza Wanderwalle of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “NFL Matters.”
Effectively produced with solid camera work and compelling audio.
FIRST PLACE: Riley Burke, McClatchy High School, Sacramento, Calif., for “Questions Raised about McClatchy Teacher’s Absence and Social Media Use.”
Riley was the clear winner in this large category. When a teacher is consistently absent from school and runs a social media site with sexual content and drug use, don’t the students have a right to know what’s going on? The school doesn’t think so, calling the situation a “confidential personnel matter.” But Riley dug in to find the real story. Some of the readers were uncomfortable with the minute detail, but one reader comment captures the judges’ feelings perfectly: “Public school teachers (are) pillars of society and when they allow students to follow them on social media, it affects the students. Nothing in the article is speculation or hearsay. There is proof to back everything up. This teacher is asking students to meet up with him outside of school. He is posting wildly inappropriate material on a site which he has accepted underage followers. It is the responsibility of the press to relay the truth regardless of how ugly it is.”
SECOND PLACE: Sarah Se-Jung Oh, Korea International School, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, for “Hope is tenuous in South Korea.”
Reporting from Seongnam, South Korea, Sarah weaves several different perspectives and vivid images into a well-written piece that lets the readers see, hear and feel the longing for peace between the Koreas. The judges loved the image of people gathered around televisions with “hope surfacing from disheartened faces” and the description of Kim’s step across the border as “something so penetrable to just step over.”
Ethan Peter of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Issues: Race in college admissions.”
Ethan does a good job summarizing the issues related to the allegations of discrimination against the nation’s elite universities, and finds some interesting local sources to interview. The judges would like to see a less hypothetical lede to help bring this issue home for Kirkwood readers. Is the valedictorian and varsity captain with a perfect ACT score a Kirkwood student?
Harrick Wu, Archbishop Riordan High School, San Francisco, Calif., for “Smoke saturates San Francisco skies.”
Harrick pulled a lot of pieces together for a newsy piece on how the Bay Area fires impacted life at his school. The judges would like to see more emphasis on storytelling with a stronger focus on the events at Harrick’s school, weaving the supporting details into the narrative.
Frida Zeinali, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran, for “Working to save the world’s smallest seals.”
The judges love when student journalism takes them to new places and shows them new things. It is rare to hear anything about Iran that does not involve politics or war. Frida’s story focusing on the effort to save Caspian seals in Iran is a good read – and increases awareness about the suffering of a beautiful mammal.
NEWS STORY TEAM
FIRST PLACE: Riley Burke, Jeffrey Wells, Josephine Powell and Olivia Popp of McClatchy High School, Sacramento, Calif., for “Five Teachers’ Complaint Against Administration And District Settled.”
Great detail in your account; and an exceptionally good explanation of the timeline of the story. This is what news should be: an attempt to create “the first draft of history” via a thorough and well-written account of many opinions and observations. Your story was fully professional and multi-sourced. Excellent!
SECOND PLACE: Melissa Liu and Caimin Xi of Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “Born in the USA.”
Very well done. Your research and writing are solid. But remember, this is a news story. You need to cover pro-change, con-change and any other viewpoints on the issue. The immigration law change is not just advocated by Trump; there are other voices. Always try to talk to all the players, not just one side. But great work!
HONORABLE MENTION: Grace Brubaker and Emma Basco of McClatchy High School, Sacramento, Calif., for “Students Run Into Scheduling Issues In The First Weeks of School.”
You interviewed knowledgeable sources, so try to use their words-not your paraphrase- more often in the future. Readers want to hear in their mind that there is a person talking. Think about a broadcast story; wouldn’t you prefer to see/hear a person being interviewed rather than an anchor giving a summary? More important is that you didn’t talk to “the other side” e.g. the District HRD person, an administrator, etc. While it can be difficult, at least try. Then if they won’t talk that is a significant fact to be mentioned in your story.
FIRST PLACE: Logan Crews, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “We’re Still Here.”
Crews produced a searching, intensely personal column about the reality of living as a young transgender man during the fight for transgender rights in this country. It’s not just a courageous piece – the quality of Crews’ writing would make him a standout on any subject.
SECOND PLACE: Jasmine Bobbins, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “The erasure of my remaining innocence.”
With statistics, reporting and personal storytelling, Jasmine Bobbins shares the perspective of someone living with day to day racism and the larger impact of systemic racism on the society. Well constructed and effective.
Vinithra Sudhakar, William G. Enloe High School, Cary, North Carolina, for “India’s Carnatic music the latest impacted by #MeToo movement.”
Sudhakar shines a light on the way a movement for justice and equality has cut across cultures. With strong writing and reporting, Sudhakar brings readers who may not be familiar with the culture and its music into the importance of her subject.
Arianna O’Harra, East Anchorage High School, Anchorage, Alaska, for “I’m a high school student in Alaska. We spent more time practicing for a mass shooting than for an earthquake.”
O’Harra deals deftly with a topic that sadly dominates both the headlines and the psyche of students today. She grounds the story in statistics and reporting without losing the personal – not easy to do on a topic like this one.
FIRST PLACE: Wolfgang Frick and Maddie Hawes of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “The Trump administration: a performance review.”
The writers take the novel approach of arguing in support of a position they personally might not agree with: Donald Trump’s presidency and whether he should remain in office. Frick and Hawes’ effort to get readers to consider different viewpoints is commendable, and with their imaginative approach, the authors prove that there is a case to be made both for and against Trump.
FIRST PLACE: Thea Gribilas, East York Collegiate Institute, Ontario, Canada, for “Natural beauty in Ontario.”
The images in this essay tell a compelling story, and the diversity in angles, scenic settings, time of day and weather give a good overview of the different types of natural beauty that exist in the Ontario region. The creative talent of the photographer is evident in the quality of the images.
SECOND PLACE: Dawit Leake, UWC Red Cross Nordic, Flekke, Norway and
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for “Norwegian tranquility.”
This collection of images evokes a sense of peace for the viewer and the selection of similar scenery gives a grounding effect with the ethereal quality of the essay. The title is simple, but the story and intent are clear. It is very artistic and emotive, and successfully executed.
Olivia Han, Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “Shall We Dance?”
The subject and energy of the Under the Sea Homecoming essay were lively and fun, and the presentation reflected that feeling. The captions and descriptions were thorough and informative.
Owen Ferguson, Doune, Scotland, for “Amsterdam has it all.”
Descriptive and informative, the Amsterdam essay included both interior and exterior settings, detail and different times of day as well. People enjoying themselves, architecture and history were included for a diverse presentation. For a photo essay, I would like to have seen a bit more focus on the photo, rather than the essay portion of the category. It was a bit difficult to tell what some of the images were, and they could have been more prominent for this category.
PHOTO ESSAY TEAM
FIRST PLACE: Abney Garcia, Gabby Rogge, Melanie Russell, Elizabeth Chan, Landry Raymond and Mariana Ramirez of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Finally: Lions defeat Boyd 34-24.”
SECOND PLACE: Aden Lantos, Laisha Lugo, Abigail McAdams, Gabby Rogge, Abney Garcia, Elizabeth Chan, Mariana Ramirez and Adrian Wilson of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Homecoming 2018.”
FIRST PLACE: Abney Garcia of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Finally: Lions defeat Boyd 34-24.”
Fantastic image of long-awaited victory.
SECOND PLACE: Paxton DeVault of Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for “Crowd Reaction.
This image sums up perfectly the fervor of Trump supporters. It is rather ironic that the President appears as a small figure in the background, highlighting the power of his supporters.
Kimberly Mitchell of Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Holi celebrates spring with people of all colors.”
Great image reveals the fun that is the Holi festival. Love the action of the two boys!
Elizabeth Chan of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Homecoming 2018: Lionpalooza.”
Beautifully composed, great use of available lighting.
Cameron Hope of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Pie in the face.”
FIRST PLACE: Micah Wheatley, El Camino Real High School, Woodland Hills, California, for “Multicultural Festival celebrates differences.”
This image was rich and beautifully executed. We could feel the strength and passion of the blessing and were intrigued to read more about the festival and the people being celebrated.
SECOND PLACE: Micah Wheatley, El Camino Real High School, Woodland Hills, California, for “Shooting at Thousand Oaks bar promotes reflection on campus.”
Another impressive and moving image by Micah. Initially we weren’t sure if the low light on the mourners would work but it does. It actually illustrated succinctly the pain and grief felt by survivors, friends and family members, who are also victims, unheard and left in the dark by those who refuse to respond to gun violence.
Grinesa Bajrami, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Engineering presentation covers history of inventions.”
We can feel the excitement Kolby Tran is sharing and now we really do want to know more about the history of robots!
Paxton Devault, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for “Trump embraces Council Bluffs.”
Yes, we see him in the news every day, but Paxton did a great job covering the President and illustrating how an inch can be called a yard just by stretching your arms out bigly!
FIRST PLACE: Cheryl Chen and Chloe Meyers, Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “The Buzz.”
SECOND PLACE: Chase Webber, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Music photo illustration.”
FIRST PLACE: Aden Lantos of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Homecoming 2018: Lionpalooza.”
Good action. This image captures a moment that stops the viewer to think and wonder if the quarterback is tackled. This image has a clean background and is easy to read.
SECOND PLACE: Abney Garcia of McKinney High School, McKinney, Texas, for “Finally: Lions defeat Boyd 34-24.”
This too has good action and is easy to read. The difference between this photograph and the first place is that the action in this image is predictable.
Ashleigh Soto of El Camino Real Charter High School, Woodland Hills, Calif., for “Football heads to playoffs.”
Good action with a clean read.
Kyle Bayudan of Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, NV, for “Professional Academy Wins PA vs. DA Flag Football Game.”
Madison Bentz of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Top basketball pic.”
Good action and good timing.
FIRST PLACE: Thomas Birmingham of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Senior Profile: Zack Demetri.”
Birmingham engaged the reader from the beginning and built his story in a vivid manner with a well-constructed and concise story line.
SECOND PLACE: Eriyale Williams of Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Teen Activist: Meet Kendra ‘Honey’ Salcedo.”
Williams showcased an important and timely message in a piece that was both well written and organized. The “five issues to fight for” section provided additional interest and texture
Cornilius Nelson of the Alaska Teen Media Institute, Anchorage, Alaska, for “Devon Jackson Profile”
This audio story addressed a unique topic with a positive message using a clear and interesting story line. The interview flowed well.
Meredith Mooney of John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tenn., for “Patrick Henry Hughes Inspires KCS teachers.”
Mooney’s effective use of quotes helped capture the essence of the keynote speaker in a positive and compelling way. Story had a thoughtful and thought-provoking message.
Reeya Patel of Ben Davis High High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Being himself.”
Patel’s story carried an important and relevant message in a well-developed profile. Good use of details and quotes.
FIRST PLACE: Daniel Shen and Sraavya Sambara of Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, Calif., for “Hear from Another World: Ali Turanalp adopts English to advance ahead.”
With “Hear from Another World: Ali Turanalp adopts English to advance ahead,” reporters Daniel Shen and Sraavya Sambara provide an interesting look into the life and story of a high school student who came to the United States to learn English. Their piece recounts how Ali Turanalp, a Turkish teenager, came to California to live and learn. In so doing, they give readers a chance to explore Turanalp’s nontraditional high school experience. An empathetic and nuanced look into the life of another student.
FIRST PLACE: Mitchell Green of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Monster Hunter World A Winner.”
The way this review specifically explained and explored the various design elements of this game was very well done. The included graphic was well chosen and also credited correctly. After reading this article, the judges were significantly more interested in playing Monster Hunter World than before. It was a little strange at the end when it said that the series has been stuck on handhelds, though, since the rest of the article does not actually mention what platforms MHW is available on.
SECOND PLACE: Noel Sarte-Saad, Southwest Regional Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Enter the Wizarding world of ‘Bad Owl Coffee Roasters.’”
This was a well-structured review that not only covered all the bases informationally (listing the cafe’s address and operating hours) but also provided a well-produced short video pointing out some of the visually interesting parts of the cafe. It was surprising that the cafe was rated a B given how nice it seemed on the inside, but that is the reviewer’s prerogative. After reading the review, the judges were definitely interested in visiting the cafe, or at least telling a Harry Potter fan about it.
Noel Sarte-Saad, Southwest Regional Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Get an ube fix at ‘Café 86.’”
Great photos and some good analysis. Please note that the term “latte” means “milk” and does not actually refer to coffee.
Katie Scherner, Lake Norman Charter School, Huntersville, North Carolina, for “Bachi: A Cultural Melting Pot in Charlotte.”
The descriptions of the specialty rolls and other food items were scrumptious. It would be good to work on the visual formatting of the article.
Matthew Cortes, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Black Ops IIII A Worthy Successor.”
Good research on some of the details in this review. But the judges couldn’t find anything online that said Black Ops IV would be the last title in the Black Ops series as claimed in the article. Also, would recommend using IV instead of IIII.
REVIEWS, GENERAL, TEAM REPORTING
FIRST PLACE: Maddie Meyers, Grace Fearheiley, Elliott Notrica and Thora Pearson of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “5 Underrated STL restaurants.”
The writers provide bite-sized and useful reviews of local eateries accompanied by whimsical and engaging art from Thora Pearson. Readers get a glimpse of what each restaurant is like, and the experience the reviewer had there. All are positive, as the headline suggests, but for those in the St. Louis area, the testament of these young writers should be enough to get them to try a new place to eat.
FIRST PLACE: Bridget Killian of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Sounds of Summer.”
SECOND PLACE: Markus Meyer, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada, for “Cody Jinks Impresses with Gritty New Album ‘Lifers.’”
HONORABLE MENTION: Noel Sarte-Saad, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Admire ‘Flowers in the Spring.’”
REVIEWS, INDIVIDUAL, FILM AND THEATER
FIRST PLACE: Sofia Scarlat of Whitmore High School, Morgantown, West Virginia, for “Five Films That Are Gateways into the Brutal World of Eastern Europe.”
Sofia’s round-up of important and influential films is not a review per se, but it is a smartly curated short list of films that give a window to a part of the world that is mysterious to many of us in the West. Her insights into the selected films are smart and perceptive and the quality of writing was at a completely different level.
SECOND PLACE: Yunkyo Kim of Northeastern University, Boston, Mass., for “Boston’s ‘Slutcracker’ is bold, bawdy but not boring.”
Yunkyo’s review of this alt-ballet production is insightful for seeing past the potential shock value of burlesque to see the message of sexual independence and female empowerment. With sexuality and sensuality being a hot-button issue for centuries, she sees past the naughtiness to the larger message addressed by the piece.
HONORABLE MENTION: Sarah Se-Jung Oh, Korea International School, South Korea, for “A Quite Place” and “SKY Castle.”
Sarah’s two reviews were very detailed and thoughtful, … well-written and extensively engaging, but both pieces veered into spoilers (a major no-no) and think pieces about the themes of the films.
HONORABLE MENTION: Frida Zeinali of the University of Isfahan, Iran, for “Lady Bird: Mom, I need to fly.”
Frida’s response to the film was beautiful to read and showed an intense connection with material. The only reservation is that the review didn’t dip far enough into the performances and technical aspects of moviemaking.
FIRST PLACE: Caimin Xi of Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “Gold Mettle.”
Short and sweet! Great lead – tying in Stevenson and Team USA colors, and high school and Olympic swimming. Nice use of solid quotes from three pertinent people: the subject, her mom and a teammate. One opinion missing would be from a swimming or Olympic authority – maybe her coach: are her Olympic aspirations realistic? And, just a little pet peeve: numbering items in a list. Do you really need to say “two” when you’re listing two records?” Breaking two Patriot Aquatic Club records in the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relays.” And, clever headline.
SECOND PLACE: Ethan Peter of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “In it for the long run: boys’ cross country.”
Nice banner tie-in, in the lead to the final ‘graph. Great quote illustrating the x-country camaraderie: “The running kind of sucks, but it’s really fun to go out there and enjoy the actual event with teammates and friends.” Used a lot of quotes well to dispel the notion that the team’s no-cut policy is just a participation trophy-type philosophy. Also, all the quotes made it a nice character-driven story: runners you could root for.
Kylie Palomba of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Does Tech Need More Sports?”
Interesting topic. Good pros and cons from students and faculty who feel Tech has enough teams or needs more, and explaining why Tech offers what it does.
Kimberly Mitchell, Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., “Girls gain skills one pin at a time.”
Great lead – each of the first few ‘graphs made you want to read the next. A very long story to prove a point: wrestlers are warm and welcoming, and the sport is empowering for girls. The theme got a tad redundant after a while, with really only one person quoted. Could have used a few more guys quoted – wrestlers or the coach – since the sport is 95-percent male. The one boy who was quoted wasn’t even talking about the star of the story, Talia Fine. Even a quote from Fine’s parents or friends – if wrestling had changed her – would have added another angle to the story.
Jennifer Hollis of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “Cost no barrier to sports at Cape Tech.”
Great and interesting topic. But seemed to be addressed one-sidedly: everyone agrees no kid should be turned away from playing sports because of equipment costs. But, what wasn’t explained is how Tech provides equipment. Especially, when “Cape Tech is also unique when compared with some other area high schools, as there is no fee to play sports.” As a column, the one side was presented well. As a journalist piece, needs more balance. Good quotes from ADs, coaches and a player. Questionable quote from a freshman, saying he’s never seen anyone turned away. A freshman, who has only been there for one or two or three sports seasons? An upper classman would have been more authoritative.
SPORTS FEATURE TEAM
FIRST PLACE: Emily Lu and Ojasvi Saxena of Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “No Need for Hate.”
Though invisible to many people, bigotry towards athletes of color is a real problem that deserves attention, as Lu and Saxena’s story shows. Excellent effort to move beyond the scores and highlights of sports to examine a serious issue and what is being done about it.
SPORTS NEWS INDIVIDUAL
FIRST PLACE: Mandy Hitchcock, Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Camp Fire smoke burns sports schedules.”
Great use of visual and text merged together. A fun and informative approach for the reader to digest. This is a wonderful mix of storytelling content. Text, video, infographics, pictures and more. Really sharp multi-media storytelling. Be careful to make sure that pictures of people are the ones quoted next to the image. If not, then you should make that picture less focused on one person and more generic to avoid confusion.
SECOND PLACE: Ella Miller, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tenn., for “Running blade grant changes student athlete’s life.”
Very nice opening, which immediately intrigued and grabbed the judges, who wanted to read more. Quotes are set up nicely by the words in between and they provide great insight for the story you are trying to tell. Structure and flow are also both very good, which helps with a story like this. We would have enjoyed more elaboration on the “one in 40,000” line that drew us in. Tell us more about the numbers. Also, she gives a nice plug to her coaches. A quote from them would have been a good add near the end if possible.
Veronica Roseborough, Carlmont High School, Belmont, Calif., for “Vallero’s winning streak continues off the field.”
Wonderful opening graphs. An appropriate and interesting tee-up for the direction the story was headed. Good flow and use of quotes. The judges were interested to know what exactly Reich said in the letter because both Reich and the coach talked about the letter but readres never know what exactly it said. The first reference to “Smith” is missing, so readers don’t know who that is.
Adam Beal, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Mass., for “eSports team ready to go online.”
Nice use of descriptive quotes to tell your story. The judges liked the way you told the story in way that made those who may not be familiar with video gaming to be able to follow and appreciate it. At times, the story is redundant. You led into a quote early on by saying “cheerleading or dance” when the quote itself says “cheerleading or dance.” Maybe the lead in could say something like, “governed by the same body as other competitions that aren’t technically sports.” The first graph should set up the story more directly. We expected more from the students debating if it’s a sport or not since the first graph says, “even if they can’t agree on if it’s a sport.”
Benji Wilton, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Issues: Concussions.”
Very nice use of descriptive words and phrases that immediately paints a picture for the reader. The judges liked the “what’s being done” section at the end, which answers some of the questions your readers would have at that point in the story. More variety in your phrasing would keep it fresh for the reader. For example, you have “according to” several times in a relatively short story.
FIRST PLACE: Brianna Galloway of John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tenn., for “Kneeling athletes should be free to protest.”
Brianna’s piece on the anthem issue was well thought out and written well. It effectively explored both sides of the issue and then reached a reasonable conclusion.
SECOND PLACE: Isabel Slippen of Pierre Van Cortland Middle School, Croton-on-Hudson, New York, for “That day I learned to surf.”
Isabel used descriptive words to bring the reader along for her joy ride. The story was well written and captured the challenge and exhilaration of surfing.
FIRST PLACE: William Kremer, the Ramaz Upper School, New York, New York, for “A Revolution in Technology.”
A punchy, well-reasoned article that was very well structured and concisely covered a lot of ground. The lede and final line were both relevant and impactful, lending the piece polished. It could have been better by making the transitions between paragraphs more intuitive and incorporating a larger perspective to inform the argument, perhaps with a comparison to similar classes at other high schools.
SECOND PLACE: Jocelyn Huang, El Camino Real Charter High School, Woodland Hills, Calif., for “Laptops serve as textbooks in 1:1 rollout.”
A comprehensive, informative piece that did a great job laying out the whole situation with student laptops from various perspectives. The photos were also relevant to the article and interesting.
Jocelyn Huang, El Camino Real Charter High School, Woodland Hills, Calif., for “All seniors need access to a stylus.”
A solid opinion article that zeroed in on a lesser-known topic and built a great case for more attention. In a longer version, it would be great to see what the author’s proposed solution to the problem would be.
Tom Mueller, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Check your six: Fortnite’s newest season is here.”
The writer has an excellent grasp of tone and mechanics and also adheres well to journalistic style. He also demonstrates passion for the subject. The analysis could use some separation between the author’s desires as an avid player and objective game industry reporting.
Ben Bowler, Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, Illinois, for “iPads with Purpose.”
A good overview of technology in the classroom and the specifics around using iPads in particular. The note about student-led education at the end is intriguing.
Note to student journalists and teachers: We’ll be doing this contest again next year for stories written in English between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019 by students 19 and under. Think about what you can do to win and then do it! There are many categories – and we’re open to creating new ones – and plenty of opportunities to bring your work to our attention.