Iowa Journalist of the Year Contest

This contest recognizes the state’s top high school journalism students!

Journalists interested in submitting for the contest must do so electronically by January 15, 2024. The contest opens in November 2023.

The 2024 Iowa Journalist of the Year will receive a $500 scholarship sponsored by Iowa High School Press Association and Iowa Newspaper Foundation.  The first runner-up receives a $300 scholarship and the second runner-up receives a $100 scholarship. The top winner will also have the opportunity to compete for the national Journalist of the Year award, the winner of which receives a $3,000 scholarship. Up to four $1,000 runner-up scholarships are also given for the national competition.


For the contest, students will compile a portfolio of work and reflect on the work they’ve completed. Iowa JOY submission guidelines are the same as the national JEA JOY submission guidelines.

There are 9 judging categories included in the contest:

  • 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/item within the portfolio should be accompanied by a clear, concise revealing reflection that outlines the following:

  • If the work was published, the evidence of usage/publication (should the candidate see it fit to include)
  • If the work was entered in any contest, how it placed, if applicable
  • An explanation/reasoning for each example. The explanation/reasoning should include 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, be easy to read and explain why this entry is important and was chosen for the portfolio.

Students may not have examples that fit all 9 categories. That is fine. The categories are an attempt to include the vast types of experiences students encounter while working on a media staff.

*Please note there have been changes and the links reflect the updated information 


ELIGIBILITY Requirements: 

Eligible students:

  • Must be seniors.
  • Applicants are no longer required to have two years of scholastic journalism experience, though most will have served on a media staff for two years.
  • Can be planning to study any major in college.
  • Have an adviser who is a current Journalism Education Association member.


All entries must be digital. Entries are submitted as a URL. Portfolios must be public and not password protected.

Review these instructions on how to create a journalism website.

Places to consider when deciding where to host work examples for the portfolio include the following:
For Print: – Adobe Acrobrat PDF portfolio – WordPress – – Blogger –
For Broadcast: Google Sites – –

All entries should be submitted here:


The JEA website provides details about the national JOY submission process.

The portfolio created for this contest can be used in other ways:  for scholarships, for job interviews, when applying for leadership positions in organizations. Compiling a portfolio of work and reflecting on it is something most teenagers have not done. It sets you apart.


January 15, 2024

Applications and portfolios must be submitted.  The state winner will be announced in February, giving them time to revise their application if desired before submitting to the national competition.

March 10, 2024

Winning entry must be submitted to the JEA national office.

Early April 2024

National winners will be announced.

April 2024

National winners will be introduced at the National Journalism convention.

Sister Rita Jeanne Scholarships, named for JEA’s longtime treasurer, recognizes some of the top high school journalists in the country.  Scholarship funds — $3,000 for the top winner, and $1000 each for runners-up (up to six runners-up awards are usually given) — are released to the student after the winners are announced.



  • 2023 Krisha Kapoor, Iowa City West High School
  • 2022 Kailey Gee of Iowa City West High School
  • 2021 Alyce Brown of Pleasant Valley High School
  • 2020 Natalie Dunlap, Iowa City West High School, Iowa City
  • 2019 Andrew Maresca, Johnston High School, Johnston
  • 2018 Mina Takahashi, City High, Iowa City
  • 2017 Isabelle Robles, Iowa City West High School, Iowa City
  • 2016 Molly Hunter, Washington High School, Cedar Rapids
  • 2015 Anne Rogers, Johnston High School, Johnston
  • 2014 Laura Scieszinski, Johnston High School, Johnston
  • 2013 no entries
  • 2012, Lisa Friesth, Johnston High School, Johnston
  • 2011, Kelly McGowan, Johnston High School, Johnston
  • 2010, Kallen Kramer, Johnston High School, Johnston
  • 2009 James Kuberski, Davis County High School, Bloomfield
  • 2008 Ariana McLaughlin, Kennedy High School, Cedar Rapids
  • 2007 Briana Byrd, Central High School, Davenport


Leslie Shipp

[email protected]