Student Journalist Impact Award

Deadline: March 10

About the Award

The purpose of the Student Journalist Impact Award is to recognize a secondary school student (or a team of students who worked on the same entry) who, through the study and practice of journalism, has made a significant difference in his/her/their own life, the lives of others, the school he/she/they attends and/or the community in which he/she/they resides. (NOTE: This is not a scholarship competition. Do not send transcripts.)

This award is co-sponsored by the Journalism Education Association and the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists. Quill and Scroll became a co-sponsor in 2018.

Entry Criteria

  • Teachers/advisers may nominate students or students may nominate themselves for this award. (More than one student per entry per school is permissible.)
  • The entry must be that of a secondary school student(s) whose teacher/adviser is a JEA member at the time it was published, broadcast or created.
  • The entry must be original student work and must have been published within two years preceding the deadline. Date of publication/production must be indicated.

Application Form

  • Please fill out this form to nominate an individual or publication for the Impact Award. Nominations are due March 10.
  • The entry will include URLs or PDF uploads of the article, series of articles (as it/they appeared in print), or multimedia that made the impact.
  • A narrative of at least 250 words explaining why the piece or series was produced and how the entry impacted the individuals, others, the school and/or community. Include, if any, media coverage that the entry generated in the community.
  • Three letters, uploaded as PDFs, attesting to the impact of the work from the adviser, a school administrator, professional journalist and/or member of the community (parent, student, resident). The impact of the work, not the author(s), should be the focus.





Jane McGill, Omaha (Nebraska) Central High School (Brody Hilgenkamp, adviser)

The question of “How many teachers would be leaving after the year” led Jane McGill on a two-month-long investigation into the impending teacher shortage at Omaha (Nebraska) Central High School. Her investigation shed light not just on the situation at her high school, but throughout Omaha. Her diligence and determination to share the plight of teachers by using their own voices was picked up by local news media as well.




Eddy Binford-Ross, South Salem (Oregon) High School (Brian Eriksen, CJE, adviser)

From Erinn Harris of the JEA:

“In this age of New Voices, legislators around the country argue that student journalists are not mature enough to cover stories important and consequential to their communities. Eddy Binford-Ross proves them wrong. Her fearless reporting of protests in Portland, Oregon, not only helped inform readers of The Clypian at South Salem High School, but also readers and viewers around the world. Even in the face of great personal risk, Binford-Ross knew that documenting this moment in history was a worthwhile and important endeavor, showing the world the impact of student voice.”



2020 Impact Award winner’s reporting prompts school board to move from discussion to action

The Orange & Black, Grand Junction (Colorado) High School (Megan Fromm, MJE, adviser)

The students at Grand Junction performed that most valuable of journalistic functions: They identified a problem, thoroughly researched how it came to be, presented the information in easily digestible, but clearly understood, forms, and spurred a community to act on and improve the situation. And even though the voters of Mesa County eventually failed the students at GJHS, the effect of the stories remains, and the community the students empowered remains committed to improving the education of their children and peers.



2019 Impact Award winner’s work motivates school to address mental-health issues

The Chronicle, Classical Academy High School, Escondido, California (Barak Smith and Corie Shields, CJE, advisers)

After the death of one of their classmates, the staff of The Chronicle knew it needed to do something to help the school and community learn more about mental health and the impact on their generation. What followed was an in-depth look driven by information collected in 370 student survey responses, which accounts for almost half of their student body. “Invisible Wounds,” a full-page spread, presented information that the school and community not only listened to, but used as a driving force to take action and make change.



Booster Redux staff earns Impact Award for coverage of new principal who lacked credentials

Booster Redux staff, Pittsburg (Kan.) High School (Emily Smith, CJE, adviser)
The staff of the Booster Redux reporting on the appointment of the new principal for Pittsburg High School took an unexpected turn when it delved into the candidate’s credentials. Numerous discrepancies were uncovered by the students that had gone unchecked by the school district’s administration. In the wake of the students’ investigation, the new principal resigned. The administration and Pittsburg School Board hired a consultant to better screen applicants. The story was picked up by a host of national media.

Special Recognition

Staffs of the Aerie yearbook and Eagle Eye newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida (Melissa Falkowski and Sarah Lerner, advisers)

Special recognition was given for their coverage following the deaths of 17 students and staff at the school Feb. 14, 2018. MSDHS students launched a national discussion on gun control, school safety and the political influence of the National Rifle Association.