Ohio Journalist of the Year and Runner-Up Hail from East
if managing the production of an 80-plus-page student publication
every month isn’t enough, Lakota East senior and Spark magazine
co-editor Maddie Weikel also finds time to write for it.
fact, it’s something she manages to do often enough, and well enough,
that she earned the distinctive honor of this year’s “Ohio Journalist
of the Year” from the Journalism Education Association (JEA).
very insightful. She sees the big picture and is able to connect it
back to her peers and our school, and that’s what makes her stand out,”
said Spark adviser Dean Hume.
To even be considered for the
award, Maddie and her statewide competition had to compile a sizeable
portfolio of their work. It certainly didn’t represent all that she’s
done during her three years in East’s award-winning journalism program,
but Maddie’s portfolio included 32 pages of her best work.
to Hume, over the years this award has put more emphasis on the
electronic media use. But Hume pointed out that the judges’ comments
commended the mechanics of Maddie’s writing, reporting and coverage,
saying it went well beyond the scope of any other candidate’s portfolio,
even those with extensive electronic coverage.
showing up in Maddie’s portfolio is how well she excels beyond her
ability to report on tough issues,” Hume said. “It takes a certain kind
of person to be an editor. She’s constantly working with our package
editors to set up all the angles, source the stories and create a
seamless connection among all the stories under one common theme.”
basically helping produce another paper within the paper and teaching
other kids how to do that,” Hume continued. “And that’s something
that no portfolio shows.”
As the fourth consecutive Spark
editor to win this honor, she joins a long line of 10 East winners
over the program’s 23-year history. Even more impressive is that
fellow co-editor Brittany Meister earned this year’s spot as runner-up
in the state competition.
“Brittany writes some heavy stories
and she’s one of those people who makes sources feel so comfortable
that they open up and help her tell a great story,” Hume said.
and awards for the Spark’s complete portfolio of publications are
abundant, too. For the ninth straight year, it was named a “Gold
Crown” winner by the JEA; only 15 high school publications nationally
receive this honor.
Spark was also the recipient of the Quill
and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists’
first-ever “Blue and Gold Award.” Only three are awarded nationally,
and last year’s complete Spark portfolio earned the distinction for
“best writing and editing.”
Lakota East High School seniors and Spark Magazine co-editors Maddie Weikel and Brittany Meister
(left to right) were winner and runner-up, respectively, in the
Journalism Education Association’s “Ohio Journalist of the Year”
competition. They are joined by 23-year adviser Dean Hume.