WEST HARTFORD, Conn., U.S.A. – Young writers, photographers and artists from across the globe took home prizes in the Youth Journalism International 2015 Excellence in Journalism contest.
Annie Schugart, a standout editor for a suburban Kansas City high school paper who’s now a freshman at Harvard University, took top honors as this year’s Student Journalist of the Year.
Competition was stiff in nearly every category, with more than 130 awards in about three dozen categories going to students in 23 U.S. states and Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Egypt, Italy, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria and the United Kingdom.
“This year the field of entries was the strongest I’ve seen. It was inspiring to see so many well-crafted pieces on so many diverse topics,” said judge Joe Killian, a daily newspaper reporter in Greensboro, N.C. who got his start through Youth Journalism International.
The annual contest, now in its sixth year, recognized student writing and reporting, art, photo and multi-media skills in more than two dozen news, sports and opinion categories. A panel of experienced judges chose the winners and those picked in the top categories will receive engraved crystal trophies. Prizes for finalists and winners in the other categories are custom-made certificates.
“It becomes more obvious each year that the talent level is always increasing,” said judge Frank Johnson, the outgoing leader of the Manufacturing Alliance of Connecticut. “What great writers and such interesting topics. Many of these writers are far better than those who report local news in Connecticut or elsewhere.”
Another judge, Dr. Mariechen Puchert from East London, South Africa, said, “This year brought an impressive cross-section of feature writing. It was a pleasure to see that young journalists are not shying away from addressing serious topics that have a direct impact on their peers. “
Other big winners in the contest included Journalism Educator of the Year Barbara Bateman from Mobile, Alabama; Eden Tadesse, from Ethiopia, who won the Courage in Journalism Award; Sophie Tulp, of Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas, whose newswriting earned her the Frank Keegan “Take No Prisoners” Award for News; and Ahmad Zaqout, a Roanoke College freshman in Virginia, who collected the Jacinta Marie Bunnell Award for Commentary.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to review the work of so many talented young people,” said judge Lynn Abrahamson, a public health official in Maryland. “It was especially hard to choose winners this year, since there were a number of excellent submissions.”
Shawnee Mission East High School posted the best overall record, taking home 15 awards. A Las Vegas, Nevada high school – Southwest Career and Technical Academy – placed second with 10.
Youth Journalism International has been educating the next generation of news professionals and talented teens since 1994. Formally incorporated in 2007, it is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit public charity. Its website can be found at www.youthjournalism.org.
The contest covered work published in English between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2014. Those eligible must be 19 or under and not working professionally.
For more information, please contact Jackie Majerus, Youth Journalism International’s executive director, at (860) 523-9632 in Connecticut or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A complete list of winners, along with judges’ comments in italics and many links, is here.