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Top journalists named

Competitions draw lots of entries, make it tough on judges

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Top students honored in annual portfolio competition

CSMA welcomes the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation this year as a supporting sponsor for the student prizes. That support allowed us to award first place winners checks for $300, while their school media programs received another $250.

All place-winners receive a certificate of recognition. Those checks and certificates were mailed on May 1.

Broadcast Journalist of the Year
chosen by Aaron Manfull, print and online adviser at Francis Howell North HS in Missouri, and the 2011 Dow Jones News Fund Journalism Teacher of the Year
1st Place – Nick Sangalis, Regis Jesuit HS – Senior
Runner-up – Lee Brockway, Rampart HS – Senior

Reporter of the Year
chosen by Mitch Eden, yearbook and newspaper adviser at Kirkwood HS in Missouri, and the 2015 Dow Jones News Fund Journalism Teacher of the Year
1st Place – Gabe Barnard, Mountain Vista HS – Senior
2nd Place – Aimee Yan, Standley Lake HS – Sophomore
3rd Place – Samantha DeMers, Brighton HS – Junior
Honorable Mention – Ella Wawrzynek, Fairview HS – Senior
Honorable Mention – Makenna Allen, Rock Canyon HS – Senior

Photographer of the Year
chosen by Mark Murray, president of the Association of Texas Photography Instructors and acclaimed speaker on all journalism matters
1st Place – Aidan Hicks, Smoky Hill HS – Junior
Runner-up – Declan Palmer, Arapahoe HS – Junior

Designer of the Year
chosen by Lori Keekley, print and online adviser at St. Louis Park HS in Minnesota, and the 2016 Dow Jones News Fund Journalism Teacher of the Year
1st Place – McKenna Nylander, Lewis-Palmer HS – Senior
2nd Place – Will Satler, Brighton HS – Senior
3rd Place – Amanda Kowalski, Longmont HS – Senior
4th Place – Tara Diltz, Legend HS – Senior

Middle School Journalist of the Year
chosen by Jack Kennedy, former adviser, and the 1993 Dow Jones News Fund Journalism Teacher of the Year
Abby Mensing, Cimarron MS (8th grade)

Comments from the judges

Broadcast Journalist of the Year
There was some nice work with each of this year’s entrants to the Broadcast Journalist of the Year category. Overall, there were some great stories told and high quality work by the student journalists. For portfolios like this, it’s nice to see some variety in the student work. It shows that the students can be versatile and produce a wide variety of content. It’s also nice to see some depth in at least one area where the student excels. From a technical standpoint, my advice for the portfolios submitted and all student broadcast journalists is pretty much the same. From a video standpoint, make sure to capture a variety of steady footage and work to think and shoot in sequences. Also, make sure you have a solid, tight focus for each of your stories and don’t be afraid to utilize voiceovers to help connect information and tie the piece together. Good audio is critical in stories. Make sure you have good mics and watch your levels when editing. Also, don’t feel the need to drop music behind your video stories to make them sound better, try to use natural sound as much as possible in the background. Finally, having an on-camera presence is great, but it takes work to sound knowledgeable and look comfortable in the process. You can achieve this by practicing and getting feedback.

Broadcast Journalist of the Year
1. McKenna Nylander – The photos take center stage. Design is interesting without being boxy. Nice touch with the continuation of the “box” motif from the cover.
2. Will Satler – Again, photos are strong and design showcases them. Design varies, but continues theme.
3. Amanda Kowalski – Design takes a chance while still helping the reader navigate the page.
4. Tara Diltz – Some nice elements. Particularly strong was the “Finding his final home” spread.

Photographer of the Year
The strongest images captured great storytelling moments and powerful emotions. The top portfolios also demonstrated a wide variety of skills in photographing sports, news, and feature photos. While captions were not required, it was helpful to see them to explain what was happening in each photo. Many of the images I looked at would benefit from tighter cropping to ensure that only the pieces that are important to the story in the photo are included. While images may be cropped one way for publication, I’d encourage every student to crop contest entries to ensure strong composition. It is important to look for moments where people are interacting with each other. The strongest images captured these connections. Photos of one person by themselves have to have a powerful story in order for the viewer to connect to the subject. I was excited to see a portfolio from an 8th grader in the contest and will be looking forward to seeing what this student does in future years.

Reporter of the Year
The good
Most written pieces are anchored in solid AP Style.
Photojournalists are telling multiple stories with their images and accompanying captions/reporting
The variety of topics covered by each journalist is excellent. Continue to diversify and experiment with all topics and mediums.
Also keep reporting on topics that matter to your audience. Loved the fact that most of you did not stray from the controversial and important, and you handled the topics with a professionalism many news outlets can learn from.
The top portfolios displayed a wide range of storytelling and editorial leadership.

Tips to remember
Remember the goal is to over-report. Talk to anyone and everyone about your topic – that way you can trim the fat and keep the good. Some pieces have the bare minimum and not enough sources.
Always, always attribute and keep your opinion out.
Leads must not state the obvious or general. They must engage, excite, evoke emotion. Think “Who will be the face of my story?” and begin your reporting there.
The explanation that accompanies your portfolio is helpful to provide background and insight into your work.

Middle School Journalist of the Year
Tough competition. The winner worked in both yearbook and video broadcast (and shared great work in both areas), and was instrumental in jump-starting Cimarron’s video program. From her principal: “She has successfully started Cimarron’s first Colts Cast. She has created a sustainable model by training and leading other students so the program continues in the future. This has transformed other areas of the school such as plays, concerts, and athletics, as Cimarron has developed live streaming for families across the nation to view.” Colorado boasts some of the nation’s top middle school yearbooks, which makes this award even more prestigious.

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