Yearbook and Newspaper Staff Competes in JEA and NSPA Journalism Competition in Dallas


2017-18 yearbook and newspaper staff enjoy sightseeing in Dallas after competing in the fall annual JEA and NSPA journalism competition. Names listed from left to right: Ashleigh Johnson, Katherine Wallace, Claire Willis, Hadley Olson, Chelsea Bagwell, Ciara Greene, Alex Blashwood, Kai Cole, and Mrs. Robin Smith. Image taken by yearbook and newspaper advisor, Mr. Roland Smith.

For about the twentieth time, some of the Gig Harbor High School yearbook and newspaper staff attended a JEA and NSPA conference and competition. Eight students and their Adviser, Mr. Smith, arrived at the airport at 5:30 in the morning on November 15th to catch their flight to Dallas, Texas. Prior to the conference, students got a list of different competitions in which they could compete in. Most of the students chose to compete in layout-based competitions, and so the students completed their designs and submitted them online before arriving at the convention.

One student however, had to complete her assignment on the spot. Senior Ciara Greene competed in a review writing competition in which she had the opportunity to go up in the Reunion Tower and sample some of Wolfgang Puck’s amazing food. After tasting it, she had a maximum of two hours to write her review. The results would not be announced until two days after the competition, which gave the several judges time to review all of the competitors’ work. At the award ceremony, she was awarded an honorable mention for her work.  The rest of the staff was extremely proud of her as she was the only one who received an award on the trip.

Along with the competition, the yearbook and newspaper staff took several classes to learn more about the many components of a yearbook, newspaper, and video media. On their first day, most of the students took a Digital Photo class. The class covered everything there is to know about a camera from the camera’s functions and settings, to the different types of photos you should take as a photo journalist. Other students attended a graphic design class where they learned how to use the different computer programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. Then for the next two days, everyone went to four short classes of their choice per day. For example, Claire Willis went to a yearbook design class where she learned how to make yearbook pages more interesting and appealing to the eye. Overall, the classes that everyone attended were fun and informative.

After classes, everyone got to explore the city. Some of the girls also used this time to go swim in the infinity pool and hot tub. Most walked to different places that you can’t find in Gig Harbor to get lunch, and explored the city until they were needed for evening activities. One of the planned evening events was visiting the Dallas Art Museum. This museum had art pieces from every era imagined. Chelsea Bagwell was particularly excited to see the Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh art pieces. One of the last events they attended was a State Fair Carnival in the ballroom of the Hyatt hotel, where the conference was located at. The yearbook and newspaper staff played fair like games for tickets that they redeemed for prizes.

Fun classes, activities, and awards made this journalism conference and competition a highlight to these girl’s yearbook class and year. They got to see and experience some amazing things and they can’t wait to attend the spring conference in San Fransisco this year in the spring.