Vistaj editor honored as state’s, nation’s best

Update: JEA names Blatchford National Journalist of the Year

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Senior Taylor Blatchford, co-editor of Vistaj, at Mountain Vista High School, in Highlands Ranch, has won the 2014 Dorothy Greer Scholarship. Megan Troutman, from Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, was named runner-up.

UPDATE: On April 13, the Journalism Education Association announced Taylor had been chosen as the National Journalist of the Year, chosen from 32 state winners. The award comes with a $3,000 prize. Taylor is the first Colorado student to win this award.

Taylor will receive a $2,000 scholarship from CHSPA if she attends a Colorado university (half that if she goes out of state), while Megan will receive a $1,000 scholarship (same terms regarding staying in state).

Also honored was Rebeccah Sheppard, from Englewood High School, was won the Eric Benson Scholarship. Funded by the Benson family, this award honors a young man who died tragically young, but whose dream was to be a journalist. The Benson Scholarship carries an $800 award.

As the Colorado Student Journalist of the Year, Taylor now advances to the Journalism Education Association National Student Journalist of the Year competition, which will be judged in San Diego in April during the spring National High School Journalism Convention.

Vistaj is a converged media program at Mountain Vista, now in its second full year within a philosophy that encourages student journalists to cover prescribed beats, and to produce content for a wide variety of media, from newsmagazine and yearbook, to website, social media and video broadcast. The adviser is Mark Newton, MJE.

“I sat in my sixth-period class [in December], ready to head to my two journalism classes where I would spend the remainder of the day,” wrote Taylor in her reflection essay, part of her portfolio. “The carefree Friday feeling quickly changed when the principal made an announcement to report that there had been a shooting at nearby Arapahoe High School, less than 10 miles from Mountain Vista. I was saddened and worried about the students I knew who attended Arapahoe, and journalism provided an opportunity to put these feelings to productive use. I spent that afternoon and evening interviewing MVHS students and compiling information for a multimedia Storify post, which accumulated over 1,000 views in the next 24 hours on our website,”

You can see her Arapahoe coverage at

Taylor’s portfolio, in the form of a WordPress website, features strong writing for the newsmagazine, yearbook and website, along with a variety of page designs for newsmagazine and yearbook. She has photographed a variety of events, from concerts to sports, and she has developed strong skills in multimedia and social media.

She has been part of the Mountain Vista student media program since midway through her freshman year, and the Eagle Eye newsmagazine, for which she was a copy editor as a junior, was a National Pacemaker last year.

Committee members thought she was one of the strongest winners in the Greer Scholarship competition in a number of years, and believe her work will stack up well with other top student journalists at the national level.



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