Illinois JEA

IHSA Journalism Tournament

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Two Organizations, One Statewide Journalism Tournament


NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IHSA journalism tournament for 2019-20 was canceled. The 2020-21 tournament is currently scheduled to take place in April 2021.

Since the spring of 2006, students throughout Illinois have had the opportunity to compete in journalism events in a statewide tournament administered by the Illinois High School Association.

The tournament begins with sectional competitions at seven locations around the state. The top three finishers in each event at the sectional sites then go on to compete a week later in the state final.

What makes this tournament so exciting is that the students do all of their work onsite under deadline pressure. They’re on their own with no one to lean on. It’s a true test of journalistic ability.

Students generally have just 90 minutes to complete their specific tasks, and then judges assess their work. The top six finishers in each event win state medals, and the top three schools take home IHSA trophies.

It’s an invigorating experience, one that thousands of students have participated in over the last decade — and it probably wouldn’t have happened without the dedication and vision of IJEA members.

Our board worked closely with IHSA officials in the years leading up to the inaugural tournament, tending to the details while holding fast to the big-picture ideal of a statewide competition that would put journalism students from all backgrounds on an even footing, if only for two days a year.

After helping to transform that ideal into reality, IJEA members have continued to be closely involved in the planning and management of the tournament.

Our members also sit on the IHSA advisory committee that meets a week after each state final and recommends changes for future tournaments. Our board of directors maintains a close working relationship with the IHSA administrator in charge of overseeing the tournament — Susie Knoblauch for many years, and Matt Troha beginning in 2014-15.

In the process we’ve created a true partnership between IJEA and IHSA, all for the benefit of Illinois high school journalists. To learn more about the past, present and future of the IHSA journalism tournament, we invite you to visit the links below.



The story of how IJEA helped to create the statewide journalism tournament

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IHSA Journalism Tournament