Journalism brings home awards from JEA

Instead of reporting on the achievements of other students, this week Jeffs journalists have won the awards.

Results from the 2018 JEA competition were announced Sun., Jan. 28, and several FHS journalists were honored by the Journalism Education Association. The JEA is the largest scholastic journalism organization for teachers and advisers.

Entries were awarded with either Honorable Mention, Excellent or Superior, and several categories were offered for students to submit work. With 30 schools entered, the Fairbury publications staff received many honors during the contest.

Honorable Mentions were given to Destini Warnke ’18 for Column Writing, Evie Schwab ’18 for Newswriting, Joy Ondrak ’19 for Sports/Action Photography, Nichole Harris ’19 for Advertising, News/Feature Photography and Photo/Artistic Illustration. Nichole Harris, Delainey Stewart ’18 and Evie Schwab also received an Honorable Mention in InDepth Newspaper Coverage for their collaberative work in the Blazer.

Excellents were awarded Delainey Stewart in Advertising, Joy Ondrak in Yearbook Feature Writing and Josephine Blatny ’20 in Entertainment Review Writing.

Superiors were presented to Evie Schwab in Photo/Artistic Illustration, and Jaelle Johnson ’20 in Sports/Action Photography and News/Feature Photography.

“These accomplishments are serious.  There was no distinction between size of school, so when you see results where your classmates were higher rated than Class A schools, that’s pretty cool,” JEA Nebraska State Director Marsha Kalkowski said. “We like to say that good work shines no matter how big their school program is.”

The staff is ecstatic overall for how they performed in the competition. Journalism adviser Jed Martin is especially proud of the awards his publications staff received from the contest.

“We received more Superiors and Excellents than we had in previous years. In fact, I think this is the first time we’ve won multiple Superiors,” Martin said. “It helps us set the bar high for the state competition; it gives us something to look forward to and a goal to reach. Anytime we have things like this to motivate us is really helpful.”

Judges comments from the contest were rich with critiques, tips, and advice, all of which the journalism staff is either certain they have met, or are determined to work toward in order to improve their publication. Superior winners in Photo/Artistic Illustration were praised for professionalism in terms of artistic ability, illustrative technique and excellent use of photo manipulation software, while Superiors in News/Feature Photography and Sports/Action Photography were applauded for expert decisions in terms of camera settings and photos having excellent storytelling impacts.

“I think whenever you receive a big award for something it shows that you can take pride in the job you’ve done and the job that you’ve done well.” Johnson said.

The work doesn’t end there, however. The staff is already focusing on what they can do to improve their publications, and ultimately get better for the state competition in March.

“We certainly need to improve on creativity in graphics and page layout, and we need to work on interviews and picture quality.” Schwab said. “I think we’ll continue to improve, and I hope we’ll do well when it comes to the state competition.”

Even though their jobs on staff usually entail reporting and honoring the awards and achievements of other students and organizations winning awards comes from the quality of student work.

“We have a lot of quality stories, photos, and graphics.” Martin said. “It’s excellent that we can receive the recognition we deserve for those things.”


Sophomore Jaelle Johnson’s award winning photos (left and right) and Senior Evie Schwab’s award winning design (middle).