Howell North journalism students win national awards in Washington DC

Posted on 11/10/2014
FHN journalism students pose for a photo outside the Capitol building

FHN Journalism Staffers stand outside Ben's Chili BowlThe Francis Howell North High School journalism staff returned from their fall National High School Journalism Convention that was Nov. 6-9 in Washington DC. More than 6,200 student journalists and their advisers attended, making it the second largest in the convention’s history.

The staff did some site seeing, attended learning sessions, competed in competitions  and brought home some awards.

Top honors from the convention went to the North Star newspaper and FHNtoday TV broadcast staffs. Both staffs earned Pacemakers from the National Scholastic Press Association. The Pacemaker is widely regarded as the top honor a high school journalism staff can get. It’s the second straight Pacemaker nod for the North Star staff and the first ever for FHNtoday TV. Francis Howell North High School has now won Pacemakers in each of the four available Pacemaker categories: Newspaper, Yearbook, Web and Broadcast, putting them in very select company nationally.

“The conference was awesome,” FHNtoday.com Editor in Chief Jake Chiarelli said. “In between seeing the monuments and experiencing our nation’s capital, we bonded as a group, met new friends from around the country and learned a ton of things. We chatted with professional journalists and heard from icons like Bob Woodward and Mary Beth Tinker. Overall, the trip was a great reminder that the effort we put in day in and day out really does pay off and we had a blast in the process.”
FHN Jornalism Students Pose with awards in DC
The staff nabbed three places in different categories in the Best of Show competition for those schools that attended. In the Newspaper Special Edition category, the North Star placed fifth. In the Large School Website category, FHNtoday.com/FHNgameday.com placed second. The Excalibur yearbook brought home a second place finish in their category as well.

Individually, a few students were honored nationally by the National Scholastic Press Association for work they did last year. Graduates Maddie Hiatt and Cameron McCarty earned an honorable mention in the Newspaper Page/Spread Design of the Year category. Cameron McCarty also grabbed an honorable mention in the Environmental Portrait Photo of the Year category. Graduate Drake Kruep took the top spot, first place, in the Yearbook Spread Design of the Year category. FHN senior Daniel Bodden brought home two awards, an honorable mention in the Feature Story of the Year category and a first place finish in the Infographic Design of the Year category. 

A few staff members were honored for their work in write-off competitions at the convention. Earning honorable mentions were Ariel Kirkpatrick in Yearbook Student Life Photography, Sammie Savala in Newspaper Sports Photography, Aly Jenkins in Graphic Design: Advertising, Lauren Camenzind in Yearbook Copy/Captions: Academics, Maggie Torbeck in Newsmagazine: Layout, Emma Pursley in Review Writing, Lauren Pike in Feature Writing, Lexi Wilkinson in Editorial Writing and Tristan Chenoweth in Newswriting. Excellent ratings were eared by Jessica Allison in Yearbook Sports Photography and Kristina Forst in Yearbook Layout: Theme. The top spot of Superior was earned by Jake Chiarelli, Alexis Tainter and Sam Skaggs in Online News Package and Ashleigh Jenkins in Literary Magazine: Photography.
For the first time ever, the staff entered the Quiz Bowl competition at the convention. Seniors Lauren Pike, Maggie Torbeck, Daniel Bodden and Jake Chiarelli did great and made it to the semifinal round.

“It was a really nice few days and I couldn’t be more proud of the students in the program,” Director of Student Media Aaron Manfull said. “It was great seeing the staff interact with others from around the country who share similar interests to them and to hear all the ideas the staffers came back with to make themselves and the program better.”

The program’s student editor-in-chiefs who oversee production of the media are: senior Daniel Bodden (North Star newspaper), senior Kristina Forst (Excalibur Yearbook), senior Jake Chiarelli (Digital Media) and senior Ashleigh Jenkins (Photography). The journalism program at FHN is led by Aaron Manfull and Jordyn Klackner. They oversee the 90 members on staff and 300 students who run through the program each year.

High school students at FHN can enroll in a variety of journalism courses. Beginning students can take Digital Photojournalism for Practical Arts credit. The Introductory Journalism class counts as a Communication Arts credit and next year there are plans to add a new introductory course, Broadcast Journalism, which will also count as a Communication Arts credit. Once students have had a prerequisite, they can join staff and enroll in a for-credit class, taking Newspaper Production, Newspaper Production Honors, Yearbook Production or Yearbook Production Honors.

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