The Student Journalism Competitions (SJC), which are normally held in the Fall, will be help remotely this year.
The prompts and information will be sent out to advisers in January. The students will have from January 25 until February 5 to compete in their chosen category.
The board is working on finalizing the details for registration, prompts, rules, and creating an adviser "To-do" list.
Keep checking our website and social media pages for updates. We will also be emailing advisors. Please reach out with questions.
Journalism education stretches year-round for many of us. After such a challenging school year, we are especially excited to share Pennsylvania-based summer journalism education that is free.
Point Park University is offering a wonderful opportunity for journalism educators and student journalists to continue learning from experts this summer. The Pittsburgh-based university has planned a robust schedule of webinars on a diverse collection of topics.
Several of our PSPA members are leading webinars designed for other advisers and teachers, themed on topics that we brainstormed that might help with some practical knowledge and skills— such as New Voices protections, covering government meetings, yearbook planning, and social media strategies.
Point Park's digital content and PR/advertising webinars are open to both high school students and adults, while their student journalism workshops are designed specifically for high school students. All of the topics are practical, relevant, and designed to support journalism and communications programs. We encourage you to share these opportunities with your publication students.
We're excited to partner with Point Park University on these programs, and we look forward to seeing PSPA advisers and students at the webinars! Please contact SummerCamps@PointPark.edu with any questions.
Updates from PSPA
At our most recent meeting, our board members—most of whom are teachers—breathed a collective sigh that the unprecedented challenges of the 2019-2020 school year are over (or nearly over), at least for classroom instruction.
Like you, we are tired.
Also like you, we are all facing a great deal of uncertainty ahead as Pennsylvania schools adapt to COVID-19.
Our board wanted to reach out to share what we know right now about PSPA’s plans for summer and for proceeding into the 2020-2021 school year.
But, before we jump into business, we also want to congratulate you, our advisers. We know that the last few months have been extra-complicated for so many of you, as you worked to stick to deadlines, adjust sections and coverage, push out the final issues of the year, and encourage publication students through all of the challenges of remote learning. We’ve watched your posts and shares with so much admiration—knowing that what happens behind the scenes of a publication is more complicated than anyone else in your school might understand.
Our board salutes you for everything that you’ve done.
We also empathize if you did not get everything done with your students. We all have some degree of sadness and regret about how the school year ended. It has sometimes been hard to stay focused on the positives. We get it, and we still applaud you for supporting student journalists to the best of your ability.
Even with all the uncertainty, a fresh start in the new school year sounds promising to all of us.
PSPA will extend the 2019-2020 membership to June 30, 2021 for all of our current member schools.
There is no need to renew your PSPA membership, and no fee for the 2020-2021 membership.
We’re simply extending your membership through next year.
Our board reached this unanimous decision with sensitivity to schools’ financial challenges, questions about whether advisers would have access to funds, and our own uncertainty about the programming we’ll be able to offer in the 2020-2021 school year.
We want to continue to support student journalism in Pennsylvania for the next school year, and through the challenges of COVID-19, regardless of our schools’ ability to pay a membership fee.
If you have any questions about this decision, please contact us.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MEMBERSHIP
SUMMER CRITIQUES ARE STILL ON!
We will offer our annual PSPA summer critiques to all member schools in the following categories:
A publication critique is an evaluation of a publication's quality based upon a rubric. Critiques are completed by experts from across the country. Your publication staff will receive a document full of helpful, constructive feedback that will help you to improve. All publications earning GOLD recognition will be sent on to a new judge where your publication will compete against other GOLD publications to determine who wins the annual All-State Keystone Award in each category.
The deadline for summer critique submission is July 31, 2020.
The fee for each critique is $60.
The critique fee covers paying our judges as well as the logistics of mailing and online submissions. If you’re unable to access these funds prior to critique registration, we can invoice you once your critique is complete.
Please read more about our summer critique process and instructions for submission here. Our judges look forward to reviewing your publications!
START CRTIQUE SUBMISSIONS
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT SJCS
At our June board meeting, we voted to design our regional competitions to run remotely in fall 2020. We based this decision on the news we are hearing from many schools throughout the state—that field trips are uncertain for the fall. In order to keep things as fair and open to as many students as possible, online competitions seem to be our best option.
Designing what this online system for competition looks like is our board’s summer project. Our board members are experienced in all of our categories, and we’re looking forward to the challenge. We will update you on our plans in early fall. In the meanwhile, we’d like to hear your suggestions and questions!
LEARN MORE ABOUT SJCS
IN CASE YOU NEED HELP...
We hope that the uncertainties of education this fall are not impacting your publication staff. Still, we wanted to make sure you all saw the Student Press Law Center’s High School Budget Advocacy Toolkit.
“If you suspect your program may be eliminated or weakened as a result of COVID-19 budget cuts, this toolkit is for you,” the site states. We’ve reviewed the site, and we all agree that it presents some useful tools, talking points, and even sample letters and communications strategies.
If you are facing any challenges with funding, censorship, or other areas of concern, please also reach out to our board. PSPA exists to support you, and we will do everything we can to help.
RECOGNIZE A PA JOURNALISM TEACHER
Do you know a journalism teacher or adviser who goes above and beyond to support student journalism at your school? Nominate a journalism teacher/adviser for Pennsylvania Journalism Teacher of the Year by July 31, 2020. We encourage you to take a look at the application process early, as several components are required.
LEARN MORE ABOUT JTOY
We wish all of you some much-deserved relaxation and peace in summer 2020.
Watch for more updates soon.
EMMAUS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER DENISE REAMAN RECOGNIZED AS 2020 PENNSYLVANIA JOURNALISM TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Pennsylvania School Press Association has chosen Denise Reaman of Emmaus High School as the 2020 state Journalism Teacher of the Year.
Reaman advises The Stinger student newspaper, where she teaches four levels of journalism as well as ninth-grade English. Since 2009, she has coached a staff of more than 30 editors and writers involved with this award-winning print and online publication.
Reaman’s students regularly attend PSPA regional events and National High School Journalism Conventions (NHSJC). At the fall 2019 NHSJC, Stinger staff members ranked among the top 10 in the nation for story of the year, feature writing, and editorial cartooning.
Reaman is recognized as a Certified Journalism Educator by the Journalism Education Association. She previously taught and advised journalism at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, PA.
Prior to her teaching career, she worked as a news and feature reporter for The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, PA. Her background as a professional journalist affords her the opportunity to share experiences with sound news judgment and reporting in the classroom for best practices.
“Ms. Reaman has inspired me and a number of other students to pursue careers in journalism,” former Stinger editor-in-chief Andrea Klick wrote. “Her immense guidance over the years and commitment to The Stinger has helped me grow as a person and find my passion for journalism.”
Reaman’s own passion for her subject area inspires her colleagues at Emmaus High School.
“Rarely have I seen an educator so dedicated to the success of her students,” wrote English department chair Diane DiDona. “Generous with her time and expertise, she provides a platform for students to excel and supports them as they learn and grow. She is a person who makes a difference in students’ lives, day after day, year after year, and long after students have departed from Emmaus High School.
For many of Reaman’s students, her excellence in teaching extends beyond the English and journalism curriculum, inspiring them to greater courage and confidence.
“The journalism classroom, room 559, was an outlet for creativity; a place to be oneself — and I quickly acclimated to its loving environment,” former Stinger editor-in-chief Rachel McQuiston wrote. “Because of Ms. Reaman’s drive and motivation, we all felt inspired to produce our best work every time. I feel blessed to have learned from such a strong, confident leader.”
Pennsylvania School Press Association originated in 1925 and stands as one of the oldest scholastic journalistic organizations in the country. The organization supports K-12 student journalism statewide through journalism competitions, summer critiques, awards and recognition, mentorship for advisers, and other resources.
To nominate advisers for the 2020-2021 PSPA Journalism Teacher of the Year, visit the PSPA website to submit applications for any active member of the organization by July 31, 2020. Nominations can be submitted by any teacher, administrator, student, or media professional.
For more information about Pennsylvania School Press Association, visit www.paschoolpress.org or contact Paul Fantaski at email@example.com.
Pennsylvania School Press Association is proud to announce that Conestoga High School senior Claire Guo of Berwyn, PA is the 2020 Pennsylvania Student Journalist of the Year (SJOY). Cole Skuse of Freedom Area High School in Freedom, PA is the 2020 Pennsylvania SJOY Runner-Up.
PSPA also extends commendation to Rylan Bassett of Emmaus High School in Emmaus, PA; Leah McNear of Freedom Area High School; Samuel Shelenberger of Saegertown High School in Saegertown, PA, and Kathleen Taranto of Emmaus High School.
Guo is a four-year staff member of The Spoke, Conestoga High School’s monthly news publication. This year, she serves as co-Editor-in-Chief of The Spoke. She previously served as Opinion Editor and Student Life Editor. In 2018, Guo was selected to be one of 42 students nationwide to participate in J-Camp in Detroit, Michigan, a six-day intensive journalism scholarship program led by professional journalists sponsored by the Asian American Journalists Association. She will attend Yale University in fall 2020.
In her recommendation letter, co-adviser Cyndi Hyatt wrote, “Claire has the tenacity of a pit bull and when an important story is due and obstacles stand in her way, she kicks into Wonder Woman mode digging in to finish and to finish strong.” Co-adviser Susan Gregory agrees. “Because this is a student newspaper, she is mostly self-taught. Claire is motivated and tenacious,” she wrote. “Add intelligence and creativity to the mix, and you have an award-winning student journalist.”
All SJOY candidates assemble digital portfolios that include examples from the eleven categories of the Journalism Education Association’s curriculum. Judges provide specific feedback on candidates' portfolios. One judge, upon review of Guo's extensive portfolio, noted, “An already-strong publication has helped Claire to grow into herself, while she has made outstanding contributions to make that publication even stronger. This portfolio was a joy to review, and could be used as a model of how to celebrate student journalism.”
Guo’s portfolio moves on to national SJOY consideration, where her work will be judged alongside 2019 SJOY winners from other states. The national winner and runners-up will be announced at the National High School Journalism Convention, currently scheduled in Nashville, TN from April 16-18.
Runner-up Cole Skuse has been a member of the Print Media Workshop at Freedom Area High School since 2017 for the last three years, and currently serves as both Editor-in-Chief of the Shawnee Yearbook, News Editor of FHS Press, and Copy Editor and Business Manager for both publications. He is also part of the Broadcast Media Workshop, where he anchors and helps to produce Bulldog Beat.
“All the administrators in our district can attest to both the challenge and the honor of a Cole Skuse interview,” Freedom Area High School Principal William Deal wrote. “Cole comes to an interview with hard-hitting questions and thorough research. He is willing to call out inconsistencies and obfuscation. He will not shy away from a controversial topic. Instead, he seeks to report facts from all sides of issues and provides information to our school stakeholders to help them make educated and informed decisions.”
The Pennsylvania Student Journalist of the Year award was named for Dr. Jane Blystone in 2011, and includes a $500 scholarship for the winner, as well as $100 awards for runners-up. Competition standards and rubrics align with the Journalism Education Association's Student Journalist of the Year competition. The annual competition is open to senior student journalists.
Please visit the JEA SJOY page for information about preparing a portfolio. Sample portfolios from last year's state winners are posted on JEA's site. Portfolios for the 2021 Student Journalist of the Year will be due in early spring 2021.
The Bad News: With the spread of the coronavirus impacting many schools and communities throughout Pennsylvania, the PSPA Board and Penn State officials determined that our safest course of action is to cancel the in-person PSPA State Finals event, previously scheduled for March 25. The health and safety of our students and advisers comes first. We’ll regret missing this day of competition and learning in 2020.
The Good News: Our PSPA board is working on a plan that will still allow our student finalists to compete for the state championships. We are meeting again next week to review statewide coronavirus impact and to keep developing our competition plans. Our board knows that it is important to establish a fair timeline for a remote finals competition. Many of these details are contingent on how this situation evolves over the next few days. We will contact the advisers of student finalists with some updated information by Friday, March 20
Until then, we’d love to hear from you. Our board had a lively discussion at tonight’s meeting about all the ways that coronavirus impacts our schools. If there is information that you would like us to know as we develop these plans, please reach out. And if your students publish journalism about the evolving coronavirus situation in your community, please send it our way—we’d love to feature some of these stories on our social channels.
We will get this done... for the kids. Stay tuned, and stay safe.
In January 2019, Sen. Andy Dinniman (D, 19th District) agreed to draft and sponsor what has since become Senate Bill 806, the “Free School Media Act,” making Pennsylvania one of 10 states with pending New Voices legislation. Fourteen states have already passed similar legislation, protecting the rights of student journalists and their advisers.
The bill is currently being discussed in the Senate Education Committee, on which Dinniman serves as Minority Chair. In January 2020, Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D, Chester/Montgomery) has agreed in principle to draft and sponsor New Voices legislation in the House of Representatives.
For the bill to become law, it must be taken up by and make it out of committees and pass floor votes in both houses of Congress before it would be sent to the governor’s desk.
PSPA has endorsed this bill, and we are excited to see its progress. Although progress is being made, we need your help, student journalists and advisers!
A few ways to help:
PSPA looks forward to welcoming 125+ regional qualifiers and their advisers to Penn State University on March 25, 2020 for this year's state Student Journalism Competition finals.
The information below is designed to help you prepare for the day. All contest rubrics and the specific schedule that details this year's presenters will be released no later than March 1.
DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION FOR PRINTING
PENNSYLVANIA (special) – For local high school journalists, the quest to become a State Champion commenced once again when the Pennsylvania School Press Association opened up its Sixth Annual State Journalism Contests. On October 31, students from all over central Pennsylvania traveled to Juniata College with hopes of advancing to the State Finals held at Penn State Main on March 25, 2020.
PSPA Board member and site coordinator Nate Thompson expressed his appreciation for several aspects about the event. “I am so thankful institutions like Harrisburg Area Community College truly advocate and support journalism in Pennsylvania schools. They have hosted our regional event for the last four years. On behalf of PSPA, I simply must thank Lizabeth Kranzel, Natalie Toma, Brandon Sheppard, Lori Firedlander and all the other staff of HACC who worked to make this all happen."
"I also need to give a shout-out to all our guest presenters: Anna Orso, reporter from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Karissa Tumbusch from Jostens Yearbooks, Sam Miller, founder of Vidjam, and Abdullah Abu-Mahfouz, filmmaker," Sands added. "Because of everyone’s efforts, 16 student journalists from some of our outstanding south-central PA schools have advanced to the State Championships.”
Contests involved literary design, photography, copywriting, sports-writing, editorial cartoon, broadcast media, and poetry talents. Only the top-scoring competitors in each Regional contest category qualified to attend the State Finals. PSPA proudly announces the following students as 2019-20 State Finalists:
The Pennsylvania School Press Association originated in 1925 and stands as one of the oldest scholastic journalistic organizations in the country. The group presently is headquartered in Manchester, PA and welcomes all to apply for membership. For details, visit www.paschoolpress.org.