Responses to JOY Meet & Greet session a win-win for contestants, judges

Meghan
Meghan Brobowsky shares the 2017 winning JOY plaque at the Seattle convention Awards Ceremony.

2017 Journalist of the Year winner Meghan Bobrowsky from Davis Senior High School in California “loved the Meet & Greet.”

The new session for state winners and judges of the Journalism Education Association JOY contest was held Saturday, 10 a.m., at the Seattle JEA/NSPA convention April 6 – 9.  The session was created to provide a space for state winners to meet each other, and for judges to put a human emotion to the portfolios they score.

‘It was so nice to put a personality to the portfolios,” Christina Geabhart, MJE and judge from Oak Park High School in North Kansas City. “I look forward to seeing how this Meet & Greet concept evolves.”

Bobrowsky described meeting one of the judges for her JOY portfolio: “I was sitting near the door, joking with Kellen (2016 JOY Winner) about how I was shy and scared to talk to the other JOYs because I was intimidated by them.  Then the judge came up to me and said, ‘Oh, I judged your portfolio, and you weren’t shy there!’  We laughed about that, and then she explained the judging process to me.  It was interesting to learn that each judge only judges a few portfolios, not all of them.”

Jessica Hunziker, CJE and a judge from Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colo., said, “I was reminded of the humanity of what we do. These incredible journalists dedicated so much to telling the important stories of others in their schools and communities, but few get to hear their stories.  Meeting these students face to face validates their work, and provided an awesome opportunity for dialogue between students and judges.”

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The Meet & Greet Session was held 10 a.m. Saturday at the Seattle JEA/NSPA conference.

State winner Jacob Lintner from FHNGameDay.com in Missouri recommended the event become a mainstay for future years. “I really appreciated being able to connect with all of the other state winners, and the extra Twitter followers certainly didn’t hurt.”

Illinois state winner Abbe Murphy also lauded the event, but was disappointed that it was “not very well advertised.” She explained that other JOY winners were at the convention but didn’t attend because there was no prior communication, like email.

New Mexico state winner Emily Ashbe said it was “fun,” and suggested “a circle format along with an introduction of each person to everyone.”

Another one of four judges who attended the initial session, Leah Waters, a teaching assistant from the University of North Texas in Denton, provided the following feedback: “The JOY Meet & Greet was the only opportunity we would ever have to see the faces of the top student journalists in the nation in one room. I wouldn’t have missed that for anything. These kids, in spite of their age, are brilliant professionals, both with competitive spirits and cooperative attitudes. I loved meeting with them all because it gave them two things: 1. recognition and affirmation for their talents and efforts to scholastic journalism and 2. the knowledge and encouragement that they are not alone in the pursuit of truth, in the calling of storytelling. And that’s the greatest gift we can give to them so early in their careers. I’m a judge because it works as a barometer measuring the best student journalism at work today. I’m quite lucky to see the work in scholastic journalism, the lengths to which students will go to cover and uncover the truth. We’re in good hands.”

Hunziker added, “I attended the JOY Meet & Greet because I felt it was important to see the faces behind the portfolios I judged.  I found the experience of judging to be inspiring and insightful, and attending just rounded out the process for me.”

Michelle Harmon

Michelle Harmon is in her 13th year of teaching and advising the school newspaper at Borah High School in Boise, Idaho. She is state director of Idaho JEA and President of the Idaho Student Journalism Association.

mharmon has 40 posts and counting.See all posts by mharmon

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