Taft Award honors Heiman and Kelley for service to scholastic journalism

MIPA is excited to announce that the judges voted to name Missouri School of Journalism faculty Suzette Heiman and Ron Kelley as the 2021 Taft Award winners.

Since becoming MIPA’s executive directors, Heiman and Kelley embody the word “outreach” in so many ways!

Executive Director Suzette Heiman

Heiman suggested and helped the MIPA board of directors find innovative new ways to market the organization, reach teachers and administrators statewide, and network with professional journalists and their organizations, as well as sharing learning opportunities both on the University of Missouri campus and around the state. When MIPA celebrated its 95th anniversary and held its 50th Annual Journalism Day, Heiman was instrumental in having those monumental occasions recognized by politicians statewide and on the MU campus, as well as organizing events for journalism teachers to meet and collaborate.

Executive Director Ron Kelley

In the last couple of years, Kelley worked to update the summer scholastic journalism workshops offered to students statewide. His work on diversity and inclusion has created fresh opportunities for student journalists. Also, Kelley worked with the team producing journalism curriculum for use by Missouri teachers, as well as around the world.

During the pandemic, both Heiman and Kelley have been instrumental in assisting MIPA in pivoting to meet the changing needs of journalism educators and students statewide. With quarantine canceling the 51st annual JDay just days before the event last spring, they helped spread the word and encouraged speakers to continue to share their presentations in the first-ever virtual platform. Over the summer, they have worked with the new board of directors to find funding for a new contest platform that promises to make the entire process easier and more effective for everyone, as well as new ways to host the next virtual JDay in a few weeks.

In their decision, judges wrote, “Suzette and Ron are some of the biggest supporters of scholastic journalism in Missouri. They are always looking for opportunities to reach more Missouri students, and they are willing to go above and beyond in order to promote scholastic journalism across the state.” Also, “Suzette and Ron have helped to lead MIPA through a very difficult transitional period, and I believe that the organization is so much stronger because of their tireless work.”

The nomination read, “Suzette Heiman and Ron Kelley have advocated on behalf of MIPA for funding for the transition to the BetterBNC platform for contests and has done a great deal to promote MIPA to non-member schools.”

They will be recognized as the Taft Award winners during the annual Journalism Day on Wednesday, March 31. This year’s presentation will be on a virtual platform. Please watch this website for their acceptance speech(es) to come!

For more information on the award, please read: https://mipajournalism.com/awards/taft-award/