Auburn, Maine, U.S.A. – Now in its ninth year, Youth Journalism International’s annual awards contest unearths some of the best writing, photography and art by teens around the globe.
A surprised Evelyn Sanchez wiped away tears as she received the 2018 Student Journalist of the Year trophy while her Indiana classmates crowded around her.
“I just love telling everyone’s story,” said Sanchez, who plans to study journalism at Indiana University. Journalism can be a great career, she said. “It’s not really selfish. You’re doing it for others.”
Marianne Salcetti, who won the 2018 Journalism Educator of the Year honor, embodies that spirit, having spent her life in the profession as a reporter, editor and teacher.
Salcetti is an assistant professor at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where student Abbygail Vasas said Salcetti’s “frequent reality-checks” are her best attribute.
“She has truly shown me that nothing worth doing is easy. Especially journalism,” said Vasas.
Salcetti, who is leading her students in a right-to-know court battle to compel the city of Keene to release public documents, said, “I’m always about speaking truth to power.”
She said the best journalism has always nudged and even pushed the arc of justice.
“Good journalism does good,” Salcetti said.
Frida Zeinali, a high school student in Tabriz, Iran, won the top newswriting prize, the Frank Keegan “Take No Prisoners” Award for News, for her story about how air pollution sickens people.
“People often get used to inequity. They tend to ignore injustice since it’s easier for them, whether it’s a seemingly harmless side-eye or authorities’ failure in meeting their trust,” said Zeinali. “This indifference frightens me. I believe this fear is the trigger behind my efforts for trying to bring a voice to the unheard.”
The two other trophies went to Sarah Se-Jung Oh of South Korea, who won the Jacinta Marie Bunnell Award for Commentary and the staff of The Exonian newspaper at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire for Courage in Journalism.
Twenty seven contest judges – including many media professionals – selected winners in more than two dozen other categories. A complete list of winners, with comments from judges, is below.
Two of the judges, Eugenia Durante and Michelle Harmon, said they “saw the heart and verve of young writers who took on controversial issues their generation inherited. Each entry spoke for a cause experienced in local communities and mirrored by global ones. We were so impressed by the writers’ courage and bravery to speak long overdue truths. These pieces were no small feat, and we encourage all writers to take note from these brave individuals.”
Several of the judges said selecting the winners wasn’t easy.
“These were tough choices,” said judge Wendy Riling. “The talent of these students is fantastic!”
Lynn Abrahamson, a longtime judge, said, “I continue to be amazed at the talent, creativity, and resourcefulness of the young writers.”
Those earning 2018 awards in YJI’s Excellence in Journalism contest represent six countries on four continents as well as 23 U.S. states. Winners of the top five categories received crystal trophies and all winners get custom-made award certificates.
The non-profit 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 2017 for 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: Evelyn Sanchez, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Evelyn Sanchez is the “busiest and most multi-talented journalism student an advisor could ask for,” according to her teacher Tom Hayes, who described her as an excellent student and hard worker who has the compassion to gladly help a fellow student who is struggling. Evelyn’s writing and video work demonstrate exactly what he meant. Bravo, Evelyn!
Amanda Su, Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, California
Sarah Se-Jung Oh, Korea International School, Seongnam-si, South Korea
Dan Malloy, Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania
JOURNALISM EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
WINNER: Marianne Salcetti, Keene State College, Keene, New Hampshire
Students said Marianne Salcetti’s infectious passion, fierce advocacy for democracy and the First Amendment make her an exceptional teacher deserving of the honor. We’re impressed with Salcetti’s tenacity, innovative approach and unparalleled dedication to her students, inside and outside the classroom.
Matthew LaPorte, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada
Kate Plows, Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania
COURAGE IN JOURNALISM AWARD
WINNER: The Exonian newspaper and members of its staff at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire: Madison Kang, Zac Feng, Bella Alvarez, Makinrola Orafiyada, Grace Carroll, Kilin Tang, Willa Canfield, Emily Pelliccia, Mai Hoang, Sam Weil, Paul James, Bianca Beck, Tim Han, Jacqueline Cho, Suan Lee and Rose Horowitch.
The Exonian newspaper and website covered the difficult story of new revelations that multiple faculty members had sexually abused students. The abuse, which took place over a period of many years at the private school, had not previously been reported in the school paper.
FRANK KEEGAN “TAKE NO PRISONERS” AWARD FOR NEWS
WINNER: Frida Zeinali, Tabriz, Iran, for “Smog chokes Iran, sickens citizens.”
Frida Zeinali takes on the problem of smog from an unlikely perch in Iran, a country that has a serious problem that she highlights from her home in Tabriz. It is killing 80,000 annually, forcing schools to close on bad days and worsening asthma for many, she reports.
JACINTA MARIE BUNNELL AWARD FOR COMMENTARY
WINNER: Sarah Se-Jung Oh, Korea International School, Seongnam-si, South Korea, for “Between the World and Me: Through the Eyes of an Asian Teen.”
As an Asian teen, Sarah Sejung Oh struggled to understand the African-American experience she read so much about – the pieces and passages that made her “groan and sigh.” Her essay tells how a novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates cleared the way for her to see the unique challenges facing African-Americans and to appreciate their complexity. It’s an honest and thoughtful piece from a young writer with talent.
Mugdha Gurram, Conard High School, West Hartford, Connecticut, for “Muslim ban breaks America’s promise.”
Kim Houchin, Bullitt East High School, Mt. Washington, Kentucky, for “Trump v. ESPN: Freedom of Speech Edition.”
Lily Zhu, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, Princeton Junction, New Jersey, for “The Hidden Danger of Calling Asians the ‘Model Minority.’”
Garret Reich, Glenwood, Iowa, for “Abolishing DACA targets innocents.”
Carianna Spencer, Orono High School, Long Lake, Minnesota, for “Gun Control Saves Lives.”
FIRST PLACE: Isabelle Del Rosario, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “Editorial cartoon.”
Identifiable imagery and vibrant color sends a direct message.
SECOND PLACE: Elliot Kalsner Kershen, West Hartford, Connecticut, for “Refugee crisis.”
Grayscale is a good choice to evoke a sense of sadness and pain.
HONORABLE MENTION: Alyssa Toner, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “A word from the artist.”
Good humor and confident sense of layout.
FIRST PLACE: Harrison Gooley, Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “A Bond Unbroken.”
Captivating and the first piece that brought a tear to my eyes.
SECOND PLACE: Logan Crews, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Pride and Privilege.”
Well-structured and well written.
HONORABLE MENTION: Cassie Valdez, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “The People’s Branch, Think Again.”
Thought-provoking and well written.
FIRST PLACE: The Friar’s Lantern, Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, for “Fraternity means more than its reputation.”
An excellent editorial that brings a national story home to the students in a meaningful way. It is well written and the opinion a good reminder of the values the students feel the school stands for. Although the national story touched Malvern, The Lantern’s community, directly, this piece shows the students’ willingness to take on a controversial topic with an authentic voice that certainly speaks directly to the students in language they understand.
SECOND PLACE: Spotlight, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Time to stand up against violence.”
“The killing is real.” With this, the editorial board, at the start of school before Parkland and the national attention the massacre drew, captures the board’s frustration over community violence and urges students to say something if they suspect something while also calling on the school community and community at large to get involved to get leaders’ attention.
Tech Talk, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Massachusetts, for “Make the right call.”
What student hasn’t been frustrated by the lack of uniform enforcement over a school rule? This editorial challenges school officials to enforce the ban on cellphones in school and backs it up with reasons why.
The Kirkwood Call, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Speech shutdown.”
An impassioned editorial with a great timely message for students: “Those who wage their wars on social media should be held accountable if it leaks into the school.”
FIRST PLACE: Madeline Brockmyre and Alexis VanSingel, Grand Haven High School, Grand Haven, Michigan, for “Homelessness in Grand Haven.”
“This is an impressive and detailed look into homelessness in Grand Haven, with a hard look at how it impacts young people who wind up without a home. That you tackled such a tough issue with professionalism and care is admirable in every way. Well done!”
SECOND PLACE: Marjory Valle, Hera Boyd, Abbagail Speitel, Evelyn Sanchez, Luna Stinson and Abby Beaumont of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “It’s time to stop teenage violence.”
HONORABLE MENTION: Alex Haylock, Mike Harrington, Dan Malloy, Liam McKnight and Billy Corcoran, Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, for “When the Vapor Clears.”
FEATURE WRITING, INDIVIDUAL ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Tharwa Boulifi of Lycée Pierre Mendès France school in Mutuelleville, Tunisia, for “School Smocks Reek of Scarlet Letters for Female Tunisian Teens.”
A well-sourced, finely constructed story on an important topic. It’s never easy to get people to talk publicly about a tough subject. Writing about it in a way that that is illuminating and engaging can be just as difficult. This story checked both boxes.
SECOND PLACE: Taylor Fang of Logan High School, Logan, Utah, for “Camp Introduces Girls to AI – The Modern-Day Industrial Revolution.”
A well-structured and absorbing piece that could have been very by-the-book. The writer went the extra mile to give context and make us care about this story and its subjects.
Carianna Spencer of Orono High School, Long Lake, Minnesota, for “OHS Alum Publishes Critically Acclaimed First Novel.”
An obviously thorough interview made this piece possible. The effort that went into it is obvious. Writing it well brought it home.
Samantha Lynott of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Massachusetts, for “The Pain That Lies Behind Teenage Eyes.”
Shannon Yang, Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, Palo Alto, California, for “Palo Alto Student Direct, Perform ‘Constellations.’”
Ian Brundige of Munster High School, Munster, Indiana, for “‘They’ Is Here.”
Megan Cleveland of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “A Battle of True Grace.”
FEATURE WRITING, TEAM ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Kaleigh Koc, Marti Fromm, Yashi Wang, Will Tulp of Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “Celebration, Not Separation.”
Excellent, challenging topic to tackle for a nearly all-white school. Good reporting to find minority voices to help tell the story, plus supplemented with videos to bring the story to life. This piece is a good example of a newspaper team coming together to find and tell stories that make a difference to their school and community, even if it is not something anyone wants to acknowledge or discuss.
SECOND PLACE: Kyle Bayudan and Shareen Basyari of Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “An Arduous Journey Through Grief.”
A timely piece that followed in the wake of the Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre. The team used the event as a launch point to examine the various types of grief students at their school might encounter, from murder, to divorce, to loss of a friendship. It is obvious they put in the effort to bring the story home to students, finding many voices to share tips and experiences. The helpful graphic and recorded interview are a nice touch.
FIRST PERSON ESSAY
FIRST PLACE: Shannon Yang of Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, Palo Alto, California, for “#Why I March.”
Shannon’s work is well written and organized. She chose a compelling and timely topic and effectively used a little girl’s perspective.
SECOND PLACE: Shareen Basyari of Southwest Career and Technical Academy for “Startup space full.”
A well-developed story line, memorable lede paragraph and details and photos provided interest and texture.
Eric McLaughlin of Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, for “Catching up with ketchup.”
A well-constructed piece on a unique topic that includes interesting facts about calories and ketchup.
Beth Criado-Band, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, Scotland, for “Beating a Mainer at the Moxie Game.”
This is a well-written essay with great descriptors. It’s fun to read and it captured the various elements of the Moxie contest.
Sarah Se-Jung Oh of Korea International School, Seongnam-si, South Korea, for “A letter to my dear baby cousin.”
A creative format, good use of questions and valuable words of wisdom
Mira Squire-Willey of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “I’m Not Autism, I’m Mira.”
Well written, thoughtful and thought provoking. Engages the reader from the beginning.
MULTIMEDIA FEATURE STORY
FIRST PLACE: Kaylee George of Carlmont High School, Belmont, California, for “Women make strides in technology.”
The written content is strongly put across, and is fully completed with the infographics. Would have loved to see a bit of videography and photography.
SECOND PLACE: Avery Walker of Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “Changing Seasons with Patrick White.”
The videography – choice of shots, duration and sequence – is well done. The audio is nicely balanced and worked well to conjure emotions. Try to have ‘establishing shots’ to give the viewer more context.
Beth Criado-Band, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, Scotland, for “Young reporters visit oldest amusement park.”
Taylor Honig, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for “Veteran Running Across Iowa.”
MULTIMEDIA FEATURE STORY, TEAM ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Kaleigh Koc, Will Tulp, Avery Walker, Reser Hall and Lila Tulp of Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “Year Of Trump: A Retrospective on the POTUS’ First Year.”
The piece employs a variety of media to tell the story from different angles. The two written opinion pieces are a great way to tell the story. Excellent incorporation of design and infographics. The unity and uniformity of shape, form, color and style is great. The film content is terrific. Try to make sure the audio levels are consistent and balanced. Overall, the package needs more clarity and unity in all the multimedia aspects of the story. Toward the end, the focus starts to get lost a little bit. Try to keep it tight.
SECOND PLACE Rachel Baker, Grace Casey, Grace DiGiovanni, Caty Gallo, Caroline Klinger, Kayleen Italia, Grace Taggart, Katie Szczerba, Natalie Onesi, Hannah Ward and Maddie Zink of Padua Academy, Wilmington, Delaware, for “Padua Media Group Takes On D.C.”
There is a great sense of clarity and laser focus in this piece. The short video segments, the written pieces and photo slide shows all work to support each other excellently. The photo quality and content could be stronger. The videos are very well structured and the content is excellent. The feature style pieces are very colorful, taking the reader on an experiential journey through the different museums.
MULTIMEDIA NEWS STORY
FIRST PLACE: Kendrick Whiteman, Alaska Teen Media Institute and West Anchorage High School, Anchorage, Alaska, for “School Start Times.”
The strength of the spoken word in multimedia really comes forward in this report, through the presence of the various interviewees. Cuts are well-placed and appropriately timed, while keeping to the subject at hand.
SECOND PLACE: Mandy Hitchcock of Carlmont High School, Belmont, California, for “Carlmont Blood Drive Joins Forces With Stanford Blood Center.”
This is a good example of audience-appropriate reporting, which provides more airtime for aspects of the blood drive that would be of interest to the target audience, and maintains their attention.
MULTIMEDIA NEWS STORY, TEAM ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Ezra Dan, Michael Johnson and Piper Sato of Alaska Teen Media Institute and West Anchorage High School, Anchorage Alaska, for “Yup’ik Spelling Bee for Beginners.”
A fascinating look at the effort to save a native language before it disappears.
MULTIMEDIA SPORTS STORY
FIRST PLACE: Ian Schutt of Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas, for “The Mental Game of Boxing: Tyler Jones.”
The piece goes beyond the blows to take a look at the mental energy needed in boxing.
NEWS STORY, INDIVIDUAL ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Tharwa Boulifi of Lycée Pierre Mendès France school in Mutuelleville, Tunisia, for “Viral Video Exposes Cultural Response to Rape in Tunisia.”
The reporter impressed the judges with her story, which put a spotlight on how young women in the north African nation are using videos to bring about change in a place where a shotgun marriage is often seen as the solution to rape. She has a clear and concise writing style that packed more information into 817 words than many writers could manage in a story twice as long.
SECOND PLACE: Haemaru Chung, Trinity School, New York, for “Local Bookstores in the Digital Age.”
How will bookstores survive the demand for content on e-readers? Haemaru Chung’s feature about an independent book shop in Manhattan was well-reported and interesting. The judges appreciated how the reporter wove data together with interviews to illuminate how a national trend is playing out locally.
Micah Maynard of John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “Wildfires strike Tennessee forests, cities.”
Rachel Heller of Arundel High School, Gambrills, Maryland, for “Changes to AP funding spark concern and reflection.”
Shannon Yang of Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, Palo Alto, California, for “Obituary: Maryam Mirzakhani, math professor and Fields Medal trailblazer, dies at 40.”
Abby Speitel of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Giants tackle violence.”
NEWS STORY, TEAM ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Emily Fey and Lizzie Kahle, Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “Xanax Abuse Has Become Popular Among Teens.”
Emily and Lizzie tackle one of the most important issues facing society – the abuse of medication – with style and depth. Well done.
SECOND PLACE: Sofia Islam and Cassie Valdez, Southwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada, for “CCSD budget deficit provokes financial reorganization.”
FIRST PLACE: Rachel Heller of Arundel High School, Gambrills, Maryland, for “Gender and expectations: through the eyes of a preschool teacher.”
A startling piece that reveals so much about gender stereotypes. The reader is allowed into a teachable moment that will fuel a lifetime of passion and courage for the writer; the reader feels gratitude for such willing foot soldiers who brave the current of ignorance.
SECOND PLACE: Maddie Hawes of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “An actress’s nightmare.”
A powerful, strong, and heart-felt piece. The writing grows hand in hand with the experience of the author, who also shows a deep capability of dealing with the issue in an organic and multi-faceted way.
Patrick Galloway of John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “Sevier students are often their own worst enemies.”
A moving piece from a middle school student who shows maturity beyond his age. What does the future have in store for writers of such verve and boldness? What must it be like to call out your peers at this stage of young adult life? The future is promising.
Ben Cohen of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “My experience at Chesed Shel Emeth.”
An inspiring piece that address an age-old religious conflict. The writer’s vision of community and hope carries in a new generation’s willingness to put out the fire of hate and invite peace.
Puneetha Goli of The Village School, Houston, Texas, for “Why Women have a Difficult Time Climbing the Corporate Ladder.”
A well-constructed piece of writing showing great analytical skills. We particularly enjoyed how the fluid and sometimes even witty writing melds with such an important and controversial topic.
Sofia Scarlat of Whitmore High School, Morgantown, West Virginia, for “Let’s Stop Beating Around The Bush: Romania’s Anti-Corruption System Is Dying.”
A strong opinion piece. The author shows a good understanding of the political situation, using appropriate language and a personal writing style.
OPINION, TEAM ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Bridget Killian and Hannah Cohen of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Should ‘Under God’ be in the Pledge?”
Both authors did a good job of referencing historical events and statistical information to provide context for their thoughts. Both authors also engaged the idea of American cultural adaptation and modernization in interesting ways. The pieces could have been stronger if each had addressed a concern of the other side head-on; for example, on the “No” side, the author could have acknowledged that the phrase in question is a positive aspect of the Pledge for some people and come up with a response, or on the “Yes” side the author could have taken a little more time to address atheism.
SECOND PLACE: Logan Crews and Claire Boysen of Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri, for “Inclusion of girls in the Boy Scouts of America”
The authors did a good job of anchoring their ideas in their own personal experiences. However, it felt like each author was being dismissive of the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts depending on their stance and anecdotes, rather than seeking to understand each organization on its own terms. It would have been good for each author to address the issues that BSA cited as reasons for allowing girls to join and the issues that GSA brought up in response, e.g. familial logistics and women’s leadership in today’s political climate.
Judges note: This was a very competitive category and hard to judge. Sometimes less is more. The best magazines and newspapers have strong photography not just because they have great photographers, but also because they have great photo editors. When you’re editing for a photo story or photo essay, it helps to be ruthless. People will remember the weakest photo from a story as much as they remember the strongest. When you’re editing your photos for a photo essay look at how a picture plays off against others in the story. Do photos duplicate each other? Take one (or more) out. Is one photo stronger than another, but you like them both? Take the weaker one out. It’s not easy to do, but it will make you a better photographer and your work stronger.
FIRST PLACE: Veronica Murphy of Manila High School, Manila, Arkansas, for “Miss Manila Pageant held Saturday.”
This was the closest entry to the classical definition of photojournalism, which is telling people’s stories through photography. There’s a nice selection of portraits mixed with moments and interaction and an assortment of wide, medium and close-up photos. This is the sort of assignment newspaper photographers everywhere have to cover every year and Ms. Murphy did a nice job with it. Sometimes less is more. It would have been better if it were edited down to no more than 15 of the strongest photos. With photography, people tend to remember the weakest picture(s) as much as they do the strongest. Tighter editing would have made this an even stronger story.
SECOND PLACE: Beth Criado-Band, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, Scotland, for “Steel Stacks loom large over Bethlehem.”
This is a nice set of photos that illustrates the industrial decline of the heartland. The photo selection is a tight edit and there’s A nice mix of medium and distance photos. I think the package could have used some very tight photos. Perhaps of rusted rivets, or dilapidated machinery or A busted window, but very tight on the rivets, machines or window. Tight photos like this, sometimes called detail photos, help break up the story, and can give readers eyes a place to rest.
Laura Vonkampen of Benton High School, Benton, Iowa, for “Christmas in Iowa.”
A lovely set of photos and very strong technique. Excellent use of foreground/background selective focus with the lead photo of the cards and Christmas lights. The other photos show the same attention to technique, for example the Santa hat and cat photo. We like that it was a tight edit of carefully selected photos, but thought a human element was missing. The hand reaching for the lights is nice, but it would have been nice to see something more. Perhaps a photo of a child (or adult) decorating the tree done with the same attention to selective focus as the other photos.
Caroline Lobel of Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, California, for “Mooncake Festival.”
Another example of the type of assignment photojournalists at daily newspapers have to tackle every year. We like that it was done in B&W. This is a good subject for a photo essay. The photos are good, but too similar. The photos of the mooncake display and the drinks in the juice boxes are very similar. The mooncake photo is an excellent choice for going in very tight, to show us either the decorated pattern on the cake or the repeating symmetry of the mooncakes in the display. It would have been more effective to mix up the photos of the people in the parade, with some tighter, perhaps just a face. You could also go in much tighter for the Lion Dancers. They’re an interesting subject, but the space between them and background detract from the lions.
FIRST PLACE: Isabel Miller of Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “Gymnastics.”
This is just an all-around great photo, technically exquisite with incredible timing. The laughter and joy on the faces of these girls makes me want to know more!
SECOND PLACE: Sarah Allen of Bullitt East High School, Mount Washington, Kentucky, for “General of the Basketball Court: Ezell Calls the Shots.”
This was the perfect feature portrait. It’s not a game photo, which is a good thing, as this story wasn’t about a game. Positioning the subject on the ball rack gave him authority which worked perfectly with the headline. This portrait tells me in one glance that the young man is the commander of this team.
Isabel Miller of Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “Coalition.”
Great photo. We love the caricature behind the girl; he’s listening to her! Very well done composition and lighting.
Katie Kelley of Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Outdoor Fun.”
Love the smiles. Not sure what these girls are doing, but the photo makes me wish I was out there with them, having fun!
Arthur Kopellas of Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Massachusetts, for “Fresh Day.”
What a fun way to start your freshman year! Great action shot with glasses flying through the air.
Tatum Metcalf, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “Library Renovations for Children’s Section.”
Good, clean photo. Reflects the joy of reading and the importance of a good reading space.
Emily Stewart, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “New Art Teacher.”
This image works because it shows the teacher engaged with a student as she creates.
FIRST PLACE: Adriana Ibarra, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for “Community Mourns Death of Deputy.”
Judges were struck by the poignancy of this photo. Without reading the accompanying article, it was possible to understand that a community had lost not only a deputy, but a son as well. The stark, simple portrait of a man, surrounded by flags and flowers, told me the story of a community and its loss.
SECOND PLACE: Anthony Aguillar, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “A day without immigrants.”
What a great photo! Composition, lighting and colors all combine to focus on the passion of the demonstrators. The “Not a Public Entrance” sign seemed especially well placed as the anti-immigration laws being put into place seem to imply a denial of public entrance. Well done!
HONORABLE MENTION: Carter Grim, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “Solar Eclipse at Sevier Middle.”
The eclipse was the event of the year and the judges immediately knew what those girls were looking at!
FIRST PLACE: Nadia Brown, Manila High School, Manila, Arkansas, for “Sexual Harassment no longer in the shadows.”
This image tells a story in a stand-alone format. Nice use of black and white to illustrate that these issues sometimes fall into the “gray” category. The topic is timely, and the viewer finds interest in the words behind the woman, as her face being covered is compelling enough for you to want more. The representation of the #metoo hashtag on her hands without her face also show the lack of comfort for victims to share their stories. It is also mechanically sound, well-lit and has good composition. Great job illustrating a difficult topic.
SECOND PLACE: Laura Vonkampen, Benton High School, Benton, Iowa, for “Hopes and Dreams for 2018.”
The tagline, Sparkle with Possibility, tying in the holiday lights and the nicely written style of the 2018 on the chalkboard tell a great story. The timing of the piece with the new year makes it relevant and the ambition is considerable, as the topic of goals and setting your intentions is relevant. The style is original, and it’s also difficult to light this image, making the mechanics of orchestrating the image relatively complicated.
Madison Bentz, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Massachusetts, for “Dealing with Bullying.”
Creative use of the writing on the subject’s back. The tagline makes a story out of the image, with the washing of the slurs people hear. Good illustration of the topic. Original presentation.
Molly Turner, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “Fake News.”
A tough mechanical presentation, cutting subjects out from the background. Good concept and placement. Tells a clear story.
Isabel Miller, Shawnee Mission East High School, Prairie Village, Kansas, for “Swim.”
Good to see how the photographer turned the lens and focused on the emotion.
SECOND PLACE: Arthur Kopellas, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Massachusetts, for “Boys soccer.”
The photographer caught an excellent second of the action.
Carter Grim, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “Looking back at strong Cross Country season.”
We like the angle that the photographer picked to make this picture. But when shooting into the sun, unless you are looking for a silhouette, it is a good idea to add a little flash to help show what is in the foreground.
Camryn McPherson, Xavier High School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for “Jack Scott’s TD reception.”
Very good timing for this photograph. Seeing the play from a different angle, maybe more straight on the receiver, would have made it even better.
FIRST PLACE: Rachel Heller, Arundel High School, Gambrills, Maryland, for “Josh first, disability second: raising a child with Duchenne and autism.”
The simplicity of the writing style was handled gracefully and added depth to the story. Wonderful portrayal.
SECOND PLACE: Amanda Su, Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, California, for “They left Vietnam, but Vietnam never left them.”
What a great read about the history of the Vietnam War from a very personal angle! A comprehensively reported story, and the way that the veterans’ stories were captured sustained the readers’ interest throughout.
Cornilius Nelson, Alaska Teen Media Institute and Bartlett High School, Anchorage, Alaska, for “CITC Fab Lab.”
Wonderful to see how the global phenomenon of FabLab is flourishing locally. Informative, clear, and hopeful in tone.
Shannon Yang, Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, Palo Alto, California, for “Students showcase their unique pets: Sophomore Jenna Kaplan, gecko.”
A unique story of the gecko and told with so much warmth. The details make this piece shine.
Shannon Yang, Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, Palo Alto, California, for “Teachers share embarrassing, awkward dating stories: Amy Anderson.”
This is the kind of story that portrays teachers in a humane, relatable way.
FIRST PLACE: Nathan Lariviere, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Massachusetts, for “Wolfenstein II. “
Great review! Exceptionally well written.
SECOND PLACE: Noah Laub, Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Harwich, Massachusetts, for “Bowling and BBQ.”
Shannon Yang, Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, Palo Alto, California, for “Staffers explore unique spots to get sweets in the Bay Area: CreaTEAve Café.”
Sarah Se-Jung Oh, Korea International School, Seongnam-si, South Korea, for “Book Review: When Breath Become Air.”
Aidan White, Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, for “Lunchables: A truly unparalleled culinary experience.”
GENERAL REVIEWS, TEAM ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Mugdha Gurram, Conard High School, West Hartford, Connecticut and Garret Reich, Glenwood Community High School, Glenwood, Iowa, for “Strength and determination on display at National Cowgirl Museum in Texas.”
Together, the writers made a strong case for visiting the Fort Worth, Texas museum.
FIRST PLACE: Markus Meyer, Belmont Secondary School, Langford, British Columbia, Canada, for “Chris Young Underwhelms Despite Bright Spots on ‘Losing Sleep.”
This review communicates something meaningful about where the artist has come from and where this album sits in that trajectory. It’s well-written. The writer has the vocabulary and knowledge to describe a record clearly to someone who’s never heard it. And we get a really good idea of the writer’s aesthetic priorities and tastes, which is so important in arts writing, because it helps the reader understand whether this is coming from the perspective of someone who likes what they like or doesn’t like what they like.
SECOND PLACE: Rachel Heller, Arundel High School, Gambrills, Maryland, for “Concert Review: Animal Collective play sold-out show at DC’s 9:30 Club.”
This review feels totally professional. It brings the whole scene alive, and it describes well what it’s like to listen to Animal Collective.
HONORABLE MENTION: Justin Hern, Suffield Academy, Suffield, Connecticut, for “Emotional night at U2: The Joshua Tree Tour.”
Feels professional, with thoughtful analysis. It’s really just a play-by-play, but the writer provides color commentary that communicates clearly. It’s about what you’d want or need from a review of a stadium show by a band whose music has been around for 30 years.
FILM AND THEATER REVIEWS, INDIVIDUAL
FIRST PLACE: Lily Zhu, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, Princeton Junction, New Jersey, for “Live-Action Beauty and the Beast: A Balance Between Classicality and Modernity.”
Lily’s take on the Disney reboot was not only well-written, but cast a smart, feminist perspective on the film. She showed a lot of perception regarding feminism, but also how the movie subtly incorporated a wider swath of race, sexual orientation, and class distinction. In addition, she took time to praise (or even notice) technical elements. A lot of things go into making a movie and she made sure to cover a range within her review.
SECOND PLACE: Beth Criado-Band, Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, Scotland for “T2 Trainspotting is a dangerous, tender trip down memory lane.”
Beth wisely knew the original film when approaching her review of the Trainspotting sequel. This gave her an informed opinion as to how the characters had changed (or not changed), as well as how certain scenes relied on prior knowledge. In addition, she took the time to examine how the movie disappointed in some ways and excelled in others.
Luke Ashworth, Bristol Eastern High School, Bristol, Connecticut, for “Intimacy, subtlety make The Wolves great.”
Owen Ferguson, McLaren High School, Doune, Scotland, for “Last Jedi: For Star Wars fans, old and new.”
FILM AND THEATER REVIEWS, TEAM ENTRY
FIRST PLACE: Jackson Volenec and Patrick Kearney of Coginchaug Regional High School, Durham, Connecticut, for “Coco.”
Jackson and Patrick keyed into the fact that context is very important when approaching a review. They not only placed Coco within the continuum of Pixar’s artistic output (thereby allowing them to note that the film was better than some disappointing releases), but they noted the care with which Latin American culture was represented in the film.
SECOND PLACE: Vikram Balasubramanian and Skyler Spears of Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, California, for “American Horror Story tackles political polarization.”
We really enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm that Vikram and Skyler brought to their review. Their knowledge of previous AHS installments and the current American political scene helped sell us on watching the series. Points off for a few too many spoilers and a misspelling in the headline. Now that’s a horror!
FIRST PLACE: Garrett Hallinan, Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, for “The Return of O’Shaan Allison.”
This story flows well. I understand the player’s journey.
SECOND PLACE: Carianna Spencer, Orono High School, Long Lake, Minnesota, for “Rowing Club Meets Year With New Changes.”
Thorough and well researched.
HONORABLE MENTION: Isabella Wilkinson, John Sevier Middle School, Kingsport, Tennessee, for “Is running in Kingsport safe?”
FIRST PLACE: Stowe Milhous, Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, for “Intramural basketball is back and better than ever.”
Good job weaving together related events. Nice use of the Instagram video to augment the storyline. Readers heard from many voices, so clearly Stowe put in a good amount of reporting. Would have been interesting to learn how the 190 players compares to previous years.
SECOND PLACE: Ryan Eggers, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, Indiana, for “Giants win in legendary fashion.”
Strong opening and closing leaves the reader feeling good about the story. Impressive level of detail in describing the game. It helps readers who didn’t attend the game understand it well. The piece does at times, read a bit too much like a play-by-play. Consider condensing or combining the details to make it even more impactful. More quotes, including some from other voices like players and others, would have helped.
Jordan McAlpine, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for “Jackets fall to Rams.”
Good informative game story that outlined how and why things happened, which is a basic yet pivotal component to a news story. We liked your use of different verbs and adjectives. Within a football game story, it sometimes can be challenging to find new ways to describe action yet you clearly took that challenge and excelled. If it was available to you, some quotes by the newsmakers you mentioned would have enhanced the narrative.
Emily Eikenberry, Thomas Jefferson High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa, for “Manz nominated for MVC.”
First graph immediately told the news and everything else built from there, which is good. Linking at the end to the voting ballot is a good tool. It gives the reader an active step to participate and connect the dots of the story you told. On the voting, the reader could use some more detail about how it worked. You tell us that staff, students, etc. helped him stay in the top 50, but how? The judges would have liked to know what makes this coach so special. Using quotes from others about him could be an effective option to articulate that.
FIRST PLACE: Pavithr Goli, The Village School, Houston, Texas, for “Concussions in High School Football.”
Building upon his friend’s tragic experience by citing hard research, the writer makes a compelling case against the practices and plays that are most likely to cause a traumatic brain injury during high school football practices and games.
Note to student journalists and teachers: We’ll be doing this contest again next year for stories written in English between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018 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.