Congratulations to our 2021 Newspaper & Digital News winners!

June 21, 2021


The eligibility window for entries in this year’s IJEA Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest — March 2020 to March 2021 — just happened to coincide with what will be remembered as the COVID-19 pandemic year.

From the the initial lockdown to the arrival of multiple vaccines, Illinois high school journalists saw it all. Facing one challenge after another, students and their advisers truly rose to the occasion!

In recognition of the outstanding work they did, including but not limited to coverage of COVID-19 and its impact on their school communities, we are proud to announce the following winners of the 2021 IJEA Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest:

 


How the Contest Was Organized


Member publications could submit work published between March 2020 and March 2021. Schools that entered the contest were assigned to a division based on enrollment.

The 2021 competition featured five divisions, from smallest schools (Division 1, enrollment 850 or fewer) to largest (Division 5, enrollment 2,601 or more).

The contest offered 31 categories in which students could compete, including a special category devoted to COVID-19 coverage. These categories allowed us to recognize the great variety of student journalism being produced by print, digital and hybrid publications.

The 31 categories were divided into four types:

  • CORE | Twenty categories open to all media, print and digital
  • PRINT | Five categories open to print-only media and print versions of hybrid media
  • DIGITAL | Five categories open to digital-only media and online versions of hybrid media
  • SPECIAL | One category (Best COVID-19 Coverage) open to all media, print and digital

 


Overall Awards & Our Scoring System


The top three point-scoring publications in each division received certificates indicating first, second or third place for Best Overall Publication within their respective divisions. In addition, certificates were awarded to each division’s top three print-only publications (Best Print Publication), top three digital-only publications (Best Digital Publication) and top three hybrids (Best Hybrid Publication).

Publications earned points based on how they placed in each category except for the special category of COVID-19 coverage, which did not count for points. All other categories followed the scoring system outlined below. Congratulations to all of our winners — and to everyone who competed and all of the journalism professionals who served as judges!

  • 1st place = 5 points
  • 2nd place = 4 points
  • 3rd place = 3 points
  • Honorable mention = 1 point

 


DIVISION 1 BEST PUBLICATIONS


The following publications were the top point scorers in Division 1. The “Best Overall” honor went to the publication that earned the most points regardless of type (print, digital or hybrid).

For complete results in each D1 category as well as links to all winning entries, click the following link:

 


D1 Best Print Publication | Publication that appears in print only


  • 1st: The Zephyr, Taylorville H.S., Stephen Steele, adviser
  • 2nd: Tiger News Today, Herscher H.S., Kerri Robinson, adviser

 


D1 Best Digital Publication | Publication that appears online only


  • 1st: Launch Pad, Okawville Junior/Senior H.S., Dana Donovan, adviser

 


D1 Best Hybrid Publication | Publication appearing in print and online


  • 1st: U-High Midway, University of Chicago Laboratory H.S., Logan Aimone, adviser
  • 2nd: Bogan Bytes, Bogan Computer Technical H.S., Maria Baltsas, adviser

 


D1 Best Overall Publication | Most points regardless of publication type


  • 1st: The Zephyr, Taylorville H.S., Stephen Steele, adviser
  • 2nd: U-High Midway, University of Chicago Laboratory H.S., Logan Aimone, adviser
  • 3rd: Tiger News Today, Herscher H.S., Kerri Robinson, adviser

 


DIVISION 2 BEST PUBLICATIONS


The following publications were the top point scorers in Division 2. The “Best Overall” honor went to the publication that earned the most points regardless of type (print, digital or hybrid).

For complete results in each D2 category as well as links to all winning entries, click the following link:

 


D2 Best Print Publication | Publication that appears in print only


  • 1st: The Advocate, Washington Community H.S., Jennifer Reiser, adviser
  • 2nd: The Sentinel, Marist H.S., John Gonczy, adviser
  • 3rd: Inscape, Mother McAuley Liberal Arts H.S., Diana Burban, adviser

 


D2 Best Hybrid Publication | Publication appearing in print and online


  • 1st: Kaneland Krier, Kaneland H.S., Dominic Bruno, adviser
  • 2nd: Payton News Network, Walter Payton College Prep H.S., Curtis Nunnery, adviser
  • 3rd: The Knight Times, Grayslake North H.S., Brenda Smith, adviser

 


D2 Best Overall Publication | Most points regardless of publication type


  • 1st: Kaneland Krier, Kaneland H.S., Dominic Bruno, adviser
  • 2nd: The Advocate, Washington Community H.S., Jennifer Reiser, adviser
  • 3rd: The Sentinel, Marist H.S., John Gonczy, adviser

 


DIVISION 3 BEST PUBLICATIONS


The following publications were the top point scorers in Division 3. The “Best Overall” honor went to the publication that earned the most points regardless of type (print, digital or hybrid).

For complete results in each D3 category as well as links to all winning entries, click the following link:

 


D3 Best Digital Publication | Publication that appears online only


  • 1st: NCHS Inkspot, Normal Community H.S., Brad Bovenkerk, adviser
  • 2nd: The Elk Grove Guardian, Elk Grove H.S., Kevin Modelski, adviser
  • 3rd: The Burg TV, Schaumburg H.S., Jessica Aulisio, adviser

 


D3 Best Hybrid Publication | Publication appearing in print and online


  • 1st: The Prospector/ProspectorNow.com/KnightTV, Prospect H.S., Jason Block, adviser
  • 2nd: Drops of Ink, Libertyville H.S., Michael Gluskin, adviser
  • 3rd: The Redbird Word/The Daily Bird, Alton H.S., April Gray, adviser
  • HM: The Mustang, Mundelein H.S., Michelle Didzbalis, adviser

 


D3 Best Overall Publication | Most points regardless of publication type


  • 1st: The Prospector/ProspectorNow.com/KnightTV, Prospect H.S., Jason Block, adviser
  • 2nd: Drops of Ink, Libertyville H.S., Michael Gluskin, adviser
  • 3rd: NCHS Inkspot, Normal Community H.S., Brad Bovenkerk, adviser

 


DIVISION 4 BEST PUBLICATIONS


The following publications were the top point scorers in Division 4. The “Best Overall” honor went to the publication that earned the most points regardless of type (print, digital or hybrid).

For complete results in each D4 category as well as links to all winning entries, click the following link:

 


D4 Best Digital Publication | Publication that appears online only


  • 1st: The Glen Bard, Glenbard West H.S., Carolyn Fritts, adviser
  • 2nd: Niles West News, Niles West H.S., Lisa Rossa, adviser
  • 3rd: The Howl, Oswego East H.S., Justin Howard Query, adviser

 


D4 Best Hybrid Publication | Publication appearing in print and online


  • 1st: The Omega, Downers Grove North H.S., Elizabeth Levin, adviser
  • 2nd: The McHenry Messenger, McHenry H.S., Dane Erbach, adviser
  • 3rd: Tiger Times/The Claw, Edwardsville H.S., Amanda Thrun, adviser

 


D4 Best Overall Publication | Most points regardless of publication type


  • 1st: The Omega, Downers Grove North H.S., Elizabeth Levin, adviser
  • 2nd: The McHenry Messenger, McHenry H.S., Dane Erbach, adviser
  • 3rd: The Glen Bard, Glenbard West H.S., Carolyn Fritts, adviser

 


DIVISION 5 BEST PUBLICATIONS


The following publications were the top point scorers in Division 5. The “Best Overall” honor went to the publications that earned the most points regardless of type (print, digital or hybrid).

For complete results in each D5 category as well as links to all winning entries, click the following link:

 


D5 Best Digital Publication | Publication that appears online only


  • 1st: Blueprint, Downers Grove South H.S., Mary Long, adviser
  • 2nd: PHS Cutlass, Palatine H.S., Sean Berleman, adviser

 


D5 Best Hybrid Publication | Publication appearing in print and online


  • 1st: The Evanstonian, Evanston Township H.S., John Phillips, adviser
  • 2nd: Central Times, Naperville Central H.S., Keith Carlson, adviser
  • 3rd: The Voice, Huntley H.S., Dennis Brown, adviser
  • HM: Lion, Lyons Township H.S., Jason Scales, adviser

 


D5 Best Overall Publication | Most points regardless of publication type


  • 1st: The Evanstonian, Evanston Township H.S., John Phillips, adviser
  • 2nd: Central Times, Naperville Central H.S., Keith Carlson, adviser
  • 3rd: Blueprint, Downers Grove South H.S., Mary Long, adviser

 


Dave Porreca, CJE, former adviser of the award-winning Gargoyle student newspaper at the University of Illinois Laboratory High School in Urbana and former IJEA president, administered the contest. Prof. Linda Jones, IJEA executive director and journalism professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago, oversaw the recruitment of contest judges, who were drawn from the ranks of experienced journalists and educators. Prof. Jones also oversaw the production and distribution of certificates for all winners.

An enthusiastic congratulations to all newspaper and digital news media staffs and advisers! We are proud of the amazing work you do each year throughout Illinois. Best of luck as you end an eventful school year. For those who will be returning, we can’t wait to see what you produce next year!

 


NewspaperWinnersMontage

Publication montage created by Dave Porreca, CJE. Featured clockwise from top left: University of Chicago Laboratory’s U-High Midway, Libertyville’s Drops of Ink, Naperville Central’s Central Times, Prospect’s The Prospector, Washington Community’s The Advocate and Lyons Township’s Lion.


 

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