PV’s journalism program goes for the gold at spring competition


Hannah Thompsen

The second semester honors journalism class accepting the Best of SNO award of distinguished site.

Bri Brauner, Social Media Manager

Over the course of the school year, many PV journalists have been hard at work writing for the Spartan Shield. Their hard work paid off this spring for the annual journalism contests, as many PV students went home with awards.

There have been many journalism contests throughout the school year. PV has been fortunate and had a winner in almost every contest. At the spring contest, PV took home forty-seven awards in a variety of events: twelve first place awards, ten second place awards, ten third place awards, ten honorable mentions and four scholarships.

Senior Maya McClain won a total of seven awards for her pictures. McClain placed anywhere from first to honorable mention for her pictures and picture slideshows on the Spartan Shield online.

“I felt really proud because I’ve worked a lot on my photography –especially my sports photography– and to be recognized for that work was really exciting and rewarding,” said McClain. On top of all her awards, McClain also received the Honorable Mention Award for Journalistic Photographer of the Year for Iowa.

Senior Lily Williams, has been a big part of the Shield’s success. She is one of the editors-in- chief for the print Shield and has earned high honors this past year with her writing.

In the fall, Williams won the On-the-Spot News Writing Contest at IHSPA fall journalism conference. In March, she competed with some of the most talented journalists from across the state and placed third in the Journalist of the Year statewide JEA competition. Then, at the beginning of March at the Leadership and Innovation in Journalism conference at Drake University, she won Journalist Leader of the Year, an award only awarded to one Editor-in-Chief in the state of Iowa each year.      

In March, the Spartan Shield online became a SNO, School Newspapers Online, Distinguished Site for the 2018-2019 school year. This is an honor given to high schools and colleges who meet the specific criteria. Out of the 397 schools’ online news sites across the nation that participate in SNO, PV is ranked nineteenth.

This spring, the Iowa High School Press Association, IHSPA, announced their 2019 graduating scholars. This award goes to the top journalism students in the state. There were twenty-seven awards given out this year; PV has earned four of them. They were awarded to the two editors-in-chief of the newspaper and the two editors-in-chief of the yearbook: Lily Williams and Natalie Murphy, and Maya McClain and Haley Moore.

The IHSPA spring contest also awarded the Spartan Shield website second place website for the state of Iowa..

At the IHSPA competition, PV took twelve first place awards for their print newspaper and website: best sports story, review, feature story, in-depth news writing, editorial writing, sports, news photography, photo slideshows, and magazine design.

While video stories were a new concept to the website last year, PV swept the video news category of the contest, winning first, second, and third place for their video stories. PV also took home a first place award for their podcasts –which was a new addition to the website as of this year.

PV’s journalism department director, Maureen Dyer was ecstatic to see all of the accomplishments of the journalism program so far. “Watching the journalism program grow over the last six years has definitely been the most fulfilling part of my career thus far. We have so much talent at PV, so providing students with a venue for publishing that talent was my priority when I was hired,” said Dyer.

As the school year is coming to an end, the majority of the Shield’s staff will be graduating, leaving some big shoes for the next group to fill. “I hope the Shield’s success encourages more students to consider becoming involved with this school’s publications,” said Dyer.