Journalists learn, win top awards at San Francisco national convention


Patrice Graham

U-Highlight and U-High Midway members won top awards in competitions at a national high school journalism convention in San Francisco. The U-High Midway won first place in newspaper and website, and the U-Highlights yearbook placed fourth in their contests.

Skye Freeman, Reporter

Journalism students from all three programs attended the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco April 20-22, where they received awards in on-site competitions, learned about topics from writing and design to photo and broadcast, and explored iconic locations all over San Francisco. 

In the NSPA Best of Show competition, the U-High Midway staff received first place in newspaper and first place in website for schools with enrollment below 1,800, and the U-Highlights yearbook received fourth for under 252 pages. 

U-High Midway staff member Zara Siddique takes notes and listens to a speaker at one of the many workshops she attended at the national journalism convention. (Kaden Moubayed)

Students participated in a wide range of workshops led by professional journalists and experienced advisers from all over the nation, developing skills in writing and photography and hearing from innovative figures in their areas of interest. 

The most interesting one that I went to was Religion in the Newsroom,” Midway audience engagement manager Victoria Washington said. “It was about what it means to be Christian or a person of faith and a journalist. I also went to some photojournalism ones and yearbook ones.”

Students competed in the National Student Media Contests, hosted by the Journalism Education Association. Newspaper and yearbook staff participated in on-site challenges, which included completing timed assignments and producing content on demand, and attended critique sessions to qualify for awards. Fourteen students received individual awards: 

Superior rating:

  • Mia Lipson, editorial writing
  • Kaden Moubayed, first-year photo
  • Olivia Quiles, yearbook copy/caption: clubs
  • Zara Siddique, commentary writing

Excellent rating:

  • Kabir Joshi, review writing

Honorable mention:

  • Chloë Alexander, news editing/headline/current events
  • Light Dohrn, press law and ethics
  • Claire Eimer, yearbook copy/caption: sports
  • Amy Ji, yearbook copy/caption: academics
  • Clare McRoberts, feature writing
  • Audrey Park, online news package (team)
  • Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu, online news package (team)
  • Sahana Unni, online news package (team)
  • Victoria Washington, news writing

Students worked with and against high school journalists from across the country, most pining after the top spots.

“The competition that I specifically attended was on news writing,” Victoria said. “It was held in person at the convention, and we wrote the news story after having a live interview, then submitted them for judging.”

After a hectic Thursday spent on the plane, the group wound down by exploring the San Francisco Bay area, touring Alcatraz and stopping at In-N-Out for dinner. 

“The food was great,” assistant editor Clare McRoberts said. “I know some people went shopping if they had a little extra time in their free periods, but the culture was really great, so we took advantage of that.”

On Saturday night to end the convention, the group stopped at Ocean Beach to watch the sunset over the Pacific.

The U-Highlights and U-High Midway team gather for a photo at Ocean Beach, concluding the journalism convention and trip.  (Jayna Rumble)