IHSPA recognizes Trojan Epic as Yearbook of the Year and WSS staff as 1 of 5 News Teams of the Year

WSS staffers win individual news and photo contests, present breakout sessions at annual state journalism conference


Above: The 2017-2018 Trojan Epic staff. Below: The 2017-2018 West Side Story staff.

The Iowa High School Press Association recognized both the Trojan Epic yearbook and West Side Story staffs at its annual state journalism conference today at The University of Iowa. The 2016-2017 Trojan Epic received the Yearbook of the Year award for large schools. The yearbook staff had 36 winning entries total, including a sweep of all four places in the profile writing competition.

IHSPA selected the 2016-2017 West Side Story staff as one of five News Teams of the Year in the state for 2017.

The other four News Teams of the Year include The Pirate Press staff from Hudson High, The Tiger Hi-Line staff from Cedar Falls High, The Little Hawk staff from Iowa City High and The Vox staff from Marion High.

News Team of the Year banner
Broadcast editor-in-chief Samalya Thenuwara leads a breakout session titled “Video for Dummies” at IHSPA’s state journalism conference on Oct. 26 at the University of Iowa.

IHSPA judges selected the five News Teams of the Year from a field of 15 finalist schools—determined in April from the schools with the highest number of points accumulated during IHSPA’s spring journalism contests. WSS had 163 points and 41 winning entries—the most in the large-school category. The contests included cartoon, design, photography, video and writing awards for broadcast, newspaper and/or website.

Three WSS staffers landed individual awards in IHSPA’s On the Spot contests. Reporter Anjali Huynh ’19 received first place in the photo contest. Profiles Editor Prateek Raikwar ’18 received second place in the news writing contest. Raikwar competed and placed in this contest all three of his years on WSS staff—a first in WSS awards history. Photographer Teya Kerns ’20 received third place in the photo contest. For a list of previous WSS awards, visit wsspaper.com/awards.

Online editor-in-chief Fenna Semken leads a breakout session titled “Throw Away the Words.”

All three WSS editors-in-chief presented breakout sessions at the conference, as well. Broadcast EIC Samalya Thenuwara ’18, presented a session titled “Video for Dummies” to provide students with tips and tricks to make their videos look clean and professional.

Online EIC Fenna Semken ’18, presented a session titled “Throw Away the Words” about incorporating infographics and embeddables into print and online stories.

Print EIC Nina Elkadi ’18, presented a session about The Los Angeles Times High School Insider project, which she became involved with after attending the National Scholastic Press Association’s journalism convention in L.A. in April 2016.

Print editor-in-chief Nina Elkadi leads a breakout session titled “How to get published in The L.A. Times.”

The annual IHSPA conference broke attendance records in its 96th year with nearly 1000 area journalism students, advisers and experts heading to the Iowa Memorial Union downtown.

Students participated in sessions dedicated to anything from covering controversial topics to developing social media strategies in the newsroom. The keynote speaker was Scott Winter, author of “Nebrasketball: Coach Tim Miles and a Big Ten Team on the Rise” and journalism professor at Bethel University.