The Official Site of the Missouri Interscholastic Journalism Association


The Official Site of the Missouri Interscholastic Journalism Association


The Official Site of the Missouri Interscholastic Journalism Association


Student Journalist of the Year

The Missouri Student Journalist of the Year competition is one that annually honors the top student journalist from the state of Missouri. Members can submit a portfolio for one student for this annual honor. 

Applicants can enter the contest here.

There are also videos to help applicants create outstanding portfolios available here:

The deadline for this year’s contest will be Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Late entries will not be accepted.

The winner of the MIJA SJOY competition will move forward to the JEA national contest as the MIJA candidate.

Member MIJA Schools: Every MIJA member high school publication (newspaper/magazine, yearbook, broadcasting, web or other media) may submit one student entry to the MIJA Student Journalist of the Year competition. There is no cost to MIJA member schools. In order to advance to the national level, the winner must also belong to a JEA member school. 

MIJA SJOY candidates must:

  • Meet all national requirements and guidelines (including the adviser being a JEA member).
  • Be a senior and have participated in student media for a minimum of two years.
  • Be a member of a publication which is a current MIJA member.

The components of the MIJA SJOY process align with those of the national JEA SJOY process.

Entrants should submit a state application, supporting materials and the online portfolio to the judge and MIJA office using the Online Submission Form by the deadline:

  • Application:
  • Supporting documents, which should be submitted as .PDF files in the Online Submission Form:
    • Official high school transcript or a counselor’s statement including journalism classes take, grades and current GPA. Student should be a high school senior and should have an overall GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • Action photo of applicant involved in some aspect of student media.
    • Three letters of recommendation from those who know the applicant well and understand the impact of the journalistic experience on the student’s life. No letter should exceed two pages in length.
    • Personal resume.
    • Self-analytical essay: Students should write with passion and make an impact on judges because this essay functions as the applicant’s one-on-one interview with the judges. Essay should not exceed two pages in length.
    • Website Portfolio:
      • Submit an online portfolio meeting the national expectations and guidelines.
      • The link/URL you provide on the application will be all the judge needs.
      • Candidates should create an online portfolio for examples of their work, and organize it based on the categories outlined on the judging rubric:
        • Reporting and Writing
        • Editing, Leadership and Team Building
        • Design
        • Broadcast Journalism
        • Photojournalism
        • Web and Social Media
        • Law, Ethics and News Literacy
        • Marketing and Audience Engagement
        • Commitment to Diversity (Note: Work in this area can also be embedded in other categories in lieu of creating a dedicated category in the portfolio)
      • Each artifact within the portfolio should be accompanied by a clear, concise revealing reflection that outlines the following:

        • If published, the evidence of usage/publication of example should the candidate see it fit to include
        • If entered in any contest, how the work example placed if applicable
        • An explanation/reasoning for each example. The explanation/reasoning includes the applicant’s explanation about the specific assignment. Include any difficulties encountered with the assignment and special circumstances affecting it. Explanation should typically be less than 100 words in length), easy to read and should explain why this entry is important and was chosen for the portfolio.
      • The applicant’s personality should be evident in the entry. The student should choose a design/concept for the portfolio.
      • Here are a few examples of past state and national winners’ portfolios. Keep in mind the contest submission process and organization of work examples requirements may have changed since some of these were submitted.

SUBMIT MATERIALS using our Online Submission Form


  • Test every document you plan to send. Do they open? Do they look perfect? Does your URL work?
  • Use a non-school email to submit your entry. Many schools limit the size of email attachments students may send. Do not risk yours being caught in a blocker.
  • Choose a professional email address, like your first and last name, or an initial and your last name. Remember first impressions are important, [email protected] or [email protected] don’t say “professional student journalist.”


  • Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024: One student from each Missouri school’s publication may submit his/her application via the Online Submission Form, linked above.
  • Late February to early March: MIJA will notify the SJOY winner.
  • March 27, 2024: MIJA SJOY winner will be recognized at the annual JDay.

The honoree and/or the nominator will be invited to prepare a 30-second acceptance video to run at the spring JDay.

SCORING:  The state SJOY judge will use the National SJOY Contest Scoring Rubric. All categories and possible points are the same between the state and national scoring rubrics.

2024 Sponsors & Award: a plaque & $2,500 scholarship. The Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri proudly continues the tradition of offering a $2,500 scholarship to the MIJA SJOY, provided that the MIJA SJOY winner is admitted to the University of Missouri and chooses to attend the Missouri School of Journalism.

QUESTIONS: If you have questions about the process, please contact the MIJA board at [email protected].

Since 1969, MIJA, your state-wide program, has honored student journalists from all over the Show Me State. All of these honorees were submitted for consideration in the Journalism Education Association’s High School Journalism Student of the Year.

Here is a list of previous winners:

  • 1969 Nancy Lewis, Kirkwood High School
  • 1970 Erica Chaney, Charleston High School
  • 1971 William Abrams, Horton Watkins (Ladue) High School, St. Louis
  • 1972 Charles Dunn, Mountain Grove High School
  • 1973 Rory Riddler, St. Charles High School; Becky Whisner, Warrensburg High School; Linda Ann Whelan, Monroe City High School
  • 1974 David LaGesse, St. Charles High Schoo;l Jay Leve, Horton Watkins (Ladue) High School, St. Louis
  • 1975 Ann Robinson, Scotland County R-l, Memphis; Nancy Ruhling, Kirkwood High School
  • 1976 Karen Wallensak, Kirkwood High School, Rhonda Metheney, Central High School, Cape Girardeau
  • 1977 Nathaniel Brown, Hickman High School, Columbia; Tom Reese, Kirkwood High School; Joy Howard, Truman High School, Independence
  • 1978 Wendy Kafoury, St. Charles High School; Chris Schipke, Kirkwood High School
  • 1979 Amanda (Mandy) Blanck, Boonville High School; Claudia Kauffman, Center High School, Kansas City
  • 1980 Mark Grimm, Central High School, Cape Girardeau; Kathy Morris, Hickman High School, Columbia
  • 1981 Cliff Cokington, Truman High School, Independence; Steve McCall, Hazelwood West High School
  • 1982 John Goodman, Jefferson City High School; Jordan Smith, William Chrisman High School, Independence
  • 1983 Mary Schulte, Washington High School
  • 1984 Diane Mittler, Kirkwood High School
  • 1985 Joe Barloon, Rockhurst High School, Kansas City; Kyle John, Truman High School, Independence; Teresa Schmedding, Mexico High School
  • 1986 Brad Ward, Scott City High School
  • 1987 Sherry L. Stanton, Platte County High School, Platte City
  • 1988 Jeff Fields, Center High School, Kansas City
  • 1989 Catherine Pegram, William Chrisman High School, Independence
  • 1990 Avani Kherdekar, Mt. Vernon High School, Mt. Vernon; Daniel Berg, Horton Watkins (Ladue) High School, St. Louis
  • 1991 Michael K. Griffin, Kirkwood High School
  • 1992 Audrey Nell Reed, Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles
  • 1993 Jeffrey C. McMurray, Truman High School, Independence
  • 1994 Kristen Aggeler, Hickman Mills High School, Kansas City
  • 1995 Amy Ann Corsale, Liberty High School
  • 1996 Nora Katherine Radley, Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles
  • 1997 Margaret Marie Heger, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, St. Louis
  • 1998 Lisa Royse, Jefferson City High School
  • 1999 Ann Kettenbrink, Jefferson City High School
  • 2000 Rachel Felix, Park Hill High School
  • 2001 Blythe Terrell, Kirkwood High School
  • 2002 Christopher Young, California High School
  • 2003 Kalen Ponche, Francis Howell North High School, St. Charles
  • 2004 Lauren Miller, Mexico High School
  • 2005 Sarah Handelman, Park Hill South High School
  • 2006 Danielle Karstens, Francis Howell North High School
  • 2007 Tess Olsen, Hickman High School, Columbia
  • 2008 Kelly Moffitt, Clayton High School, St. Louis
  • 2009 Tyler Cacek, Rock Bridge High School, Columbia
  • 2010 Johanna Mayer, Washington High School
  • 2011 Morgan Said, St. Teresa’s Academy
  • 2012 Kelsey Bell, Francis Howell North High School
  • 2013 Kelci Davis, Francis Howell Central High School
  • 2014 Sara-Jessica Dilks, St. Teresa’s Academy
  • 2015 Daniel Bodden, Francis Howell North High School
  • 2016 Sophie Nedelco, Notre Dame de Sion, Kansas City
  • 2017 Rachel Adamson, Winnetonka High School, Kansas City
  • 2018 Zoe Butler, St. Teresa’s Academy, Kansas City
  • 2019 Abigail White, Lee’s Summit West High School
  • 2020 Hunter Donelson, Truman High School, Independence
  • 2021 – Abby Prywitch, Parkway Central High School, Chesterfield 
  • 2022 – Audrey Culver, Liberty North High School, Liberty
  • 2023 – Emilia Belcolore, Kickapoo High School, Springfield
  • 2024 – Elizabeth Franklin, Parkway West High School, St. Louis