FHN Journalism Program Earns Multiple Honors in Dallas

Posted on 11/21/2017
FHN Journalism Program Earns Multiple Honors in Dallas

The Francis Howell North High School journalism staff attended the National High School Journalism Convention in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 16-19. The staff did some sightseeing, attended learning sessions, and also competed … and brought home quite a few awards.

“It was a great few days in Dallas,” said FHN Director of Student Media Aaron Manfull. “The staffers got to learn some skills to bring back to the team. They got to see some of the local sites and made some new, great memories in the process.”

The top prize went to the North Star Newsmagazine. The National Scholastic Press Association honored the North Star as a Pacemaker winner in the newspaper category, the fifth consecutive Pacemaker Award the North Star has earned. FHNtoday.com, the website all FHN student journalism staffs feed content to, placed fourth in the Large School Website Category.

Nine staffers were honored for their work in write-off competitions at the convention. Earning honorable mentions were Joel Boenitz in Sports Writing, Kelsey Decker in Broadcast News Story, and Kylie Kirkpatrick in Yearbook Copy/Caption: Clubs. Earning Excellent ratings in the write-offs were Noah Slaughter in Feature Writing, Alyssa Barber in Videography, McKayla Bogda in Newsmagazine: Layout, Anna Lindquist in Literary Magazine: Poetry, and Emily Hood in On-Air Reporter. The top write-off spot went to Taylor Sheridan, who earned a Superior in Broadcast Newswriting.

Two students were finalists in the NSPA’s individual awards for work that appeared during the 2016-17 school year. Senior Carolynn Gonzalez earned an Honorable Mention in the Newsmagazine Page/Spread Design of the Year category, and junior Sarah Zimmermann brought home third Place in the Diversity Story of the Year category.

Two teams of students from FHN qualified for the final 16 teams in the Journalism Education Association National Journalism Quiz Bowl event. McKayla Bogda, Anna Lindquist, Alyssa Barber, and Noah Slaughter made up one team; and Kelsey Decker, Emily Hood, Madison Abanathie, and Joel Boenitz made up the other. Both teams represented well.

“I’m so proud of all that the students accomplished,” Manfull said. “They work so hard day in and day out. While the awards aren’t something we push here in the program, they are nice bonuses when students get them.”

Finally, Director of Student Media Aaron Manfull was honored by the JEA at the convention with the Medal of Merit Award. Manfull was one of seven individuals honored with the award that is presented to JEA members who have made significant contributions to scholastic journalism. In addition to his responsibilities with the journalism program at Francis Howell North and advising the journalism club at Barnwell Middle School, Manfull is JEA’s founding Digital Media Committee Chair, running and coordinating content for the site JEADigitalmedia.org. He and his wife Kate run the Media Now summer journalism workshops for high school students and advisers (MediaNow.press), and he speaks at conferences throughout the country each year helping students and teachers build their programs. In addition, Manfull helped co-author the textbook “Student Journalism and Media Literacy.”

The FHN publication program’s student editor-in-chiefs, who oversee the production of media are senior Carolynn Gonzalez (North Star newsmagazine), senior Kylie Kirkpatrick (Excalibur Yearbook), senior Taylor Sheridan (Digital Media), senior Alyssa Barber (FHNtodayTV), and senior Alex Rowe (Photography). 

High school students at FHN can enroll in a variety of journalism courses, led by Manfull and Jordyn Kiel. Manfull and Kiel oversee the nearly 100 members on staff and 300 students who participate in the program each year. Beginning students can take Digital Photojournalism for Practical Arts credit. The Introductory Journalism and Journalism 2 classes count as Communication Arts credits. Once students have had a prerequisite, they can enroll in Newspaper Production, Newspaper Production Honors, Yearbook Production or Yearbook Production Honors.

For more information about the journalism program at FHN, please contact Mr. Manfull at aaron.manfull@fhsdschools.org.

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