State Journalism 2019


Margaret Hoff, Web Editor

On April 1, journalism students from across the state’s long wait to see if they had qualified for the NSAA State Journalism Championship ended. A buzz and a bing sounded from each Alliance qualifier’s phone, followed by expressions of excitement as they read a text from their advisor, Tera Digmann, notifying them of their achievements. The state qualifiers this year included Aubrie Lawrence, Zachary Placek, Brielle Alwin, and Margaret Hoff. This was very exciting as they were guaranteed to place with the new changes made to the championship. Now only eight competitors were chosen in each category, rather than 12, to assure that each student would not go home without a medal.

On the morning of April 22, they embarked on their six-hour drive to Norfolk to compete. That night they enjoyed hibachi grill and the hotel pool, but they needed plenty of sleep for the next day. After driving through a few roundabouts on the morning of April 23, the group arrived at Northeast Community College. The first competition officially commenced at 8:45. The competitors with tests in the first session were Margaret Hoff and Brielle Alwin. Brielle competed in Newspaper Column Writing and Margaret competed in Editorial Writing. Each session was held in different rooms labeled A-L. In each room, there were 24 students, eight from each class (A, B, C). Each class in the room was then separated accordingly. Then, the proctor would give the group a paper with a writing prompt, as well as a bit of extra information, depending on what test you were in. Most of the competitions had a time limit of around an hour.

The next session included Zachary Placek and Margaret Hoff, with Zachary competing in Headline Writing and Margaret competing in Editorial Cartooning. These competitions were slightly different from Column and Editorial Writing. In Headline Writing you do just that, write headlines based on a story given that fit into a certain criterion, such as three words. Cartooning is also pretty self-explanatory, the contestants come in with sketchbooks and drawing utensils in hand to compete, they are given two opposing editorial articles, and have to come up with a cartoon to match one of them.

Then, the group was released for their two-hour lunch break. During this, they took the time to relax before heading back to receive awards. The group enjoyed a meal at Raising Cane’s and then some ice cream from Culver’s. They then decided it would be best to fill up the van before they returned for an easier departure from the competition.

The In-Depth team standing proud on the 7th place podium. (Furthest to the right)

Finally, it was time to reveal the medalists. First place winners would receive gold medals, second would receive silver, and anything below would receive bronze. They began with the preliminary competitions, these included things like broadcast news and photography. The Spud had one group place under a preliminary category. Zachary Placek, Aubrie Lawrence, and Margaret Hoff were very proud when their In-Depth article achieved a ranking of 7th place. Each received a bronze medal for this achievement.

Brielle on her fourth place podium
Zachary with his fourth place medal alongside the other competitors

Once they were done with the preliminary categories they moved onto the competitions that students had just competed in. As they called out the names for Column writing, after a few other competitors, Brielle’s name was called, placing her at fourth in the state for the competition.  This was very exciting for her as it was her first year competing in the competition, as well as her first year in Journalism. Then, Zachary was up to the plate. As the headline rankings were called, it was revealed that he had placed fourth. This was Zachary’s first year medaling. Then Editorial Cartooning was called,

Margaret receiving her second place medal

placing Margaret at sixth. Almost immediately after, Editorial Writing was up. After several names were called, Margaret was placed at 2nd in the state, receiving the only silver medal. This was also her first year competing and was very exciting.

After taking some pictures and awing over their medals, the students were ready to go home. Although it had been plenty of fun, they had a very long drive ahead of them. They packed up their things and headed back to Alliance. The competition was a great experience for all of them, and definitely not one that they will not soon forget.

The medalists all together