September 2, 2011 / News & Notes

NSPA announces seven Pioneer Award winners for 2011

Written by Idea File Staff

Kansas City, Mo. (Sept. 2, 2011) – The National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) announced that seven individuals have been selected to receive a 2011 Pioneer Award, NSPA’s top individual honor.

Each year, NSPA awards the Pioneers to people who have made a significant contribution to scholastic journalism beyond their regular job requirements. Among this year’s recipients are long-time Walsworth customer Robin Gibson Sawyer from First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

Sawyer has been the yearbook and newspaper adviser at First Flight since 2004. Previously she taught journalism at Manteo (N.C.) High School for 13 years. Sawyer’s publications have been chosen NSPA Pacemaker winners and finalists, and the Dow Jones News Fund selected her as the 2000 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year.

This year’s other Pioneer winners include:

Kathy Roberts Forde, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of South Carolina, has served scholastic journalism as a high school adviser, contest judge and convention presenter. Forde is a nationally recognized journalism historian and legal scholar.

Jane Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law in the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she is also the Director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. A lawyer and former journalist, she served on the board of directors for NSPA for six years, from 2005-2011, and was a member of the board of directors for the Student Press Law Center.

Janet Levin has taught journalism and English and advised The Correspondent newspaper at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Ill., since 1985. She has received the Medal of Merit, Teacher Inspiration Award and Master Journalism Educator status from the JEA.

Jeff Nardone has taught English and journalism at Grosse Pointe South High School in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., since 1994. He advises the NSPA Pacemaker-finalist newspaper, The Tower. He was a 1999 Distinguished Adviser from the Dow Jones News Fund and a 2008 Gold Key recipient from the CSPA.

Judy Robinson is an assistant professor in the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. She is a former high school adviser and executive director of the Florida Scholastic Press Association. She is active with the JEA mentoring program.

Debra Rothenberger has taught journalism and English for 32 years, the past 27 at Brandon Valley High School in Brandon, S.D., where she advises the Echo newspaper and Lynxonian yearbook. The Echo was inducted into the NSPA All-American Hall of Fame in 2003. She is a Master Journalism Educator from JEA, and she is also the JEA South Dakota state director.

The seven winners will receive their awards at the upcoming JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Minneapolis, Nov. 17-20, and will be honored during the Adviser Luncheon on Nov. 19.

NSPA maintains a composite plaque of Pioneers and displays it at the JEA/NSPA national conventions. Candidates are nominated and selected by previous Pioneer Award winners.

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Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.