Extra, extra! Read all about it! Two editors from the Viator Voice are advancing to the state finals of the IHSA journalism competition.
Stephen Hannon ’17 and Elias Rivera ’17 both placed second in their respective events at the Stevenson sectional to advance to Friday’s state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Stephen advanced in headline writing, while Elias qualified for state in photo storytelling. They emerged from a pool of reporters from 14 schools from the North and Northwest suburbs.
Other editors who placed include Alex Horne ’17, who took fourth in copy editing, Vicky Garro ’17, who placed fifth in editorial writing, and Stephen, who finished sixth in newspaper design, using Adobe InDesign software to lay out different pages. Maeve Schumacher ’18 also competed in sports writing.
Only the top three students in each event, however, qualified to compete at state.
Saint Viator High School have been publishing a student newspaper nearly since the start of the school, or more than 50 years ago. Students have attended high school journalism conferences for years, but this was the first time its staff competed against other high schools in the IHSA’s state series.
— Mr. Paolelli (@ViatorMisterP) April 22, 2017
“It was fun, but I felt the pressure of representing our school—and our newspaper—well at the competition,” said Katie Boler ’17, who competed in editorial cartooning and created three cartoons—on the spot—to match different editorials written for the competition.
Nicole Marcinkus ’18 serves as one of the co-editors of the Voice’s local section. She competed in both news writing and feature writing events.
For newswriting, she and the other reporters sat in on a presentation by a lieutenant from the Buffalo Grove Police Department, who briefed them on the latest crisis intervention plan for the village. After his 25-minute talk, students were allowed to ask questions before sitting down to write their news story—all in 90 minutes.
“It was like a press conference,” Nicole says. “I loved it. I loved being with a community of other journalists, in a professional setting.”
She didn’t place, but afterward, she received a critique from the judges about her lead, verb usage and organization of the facts in the story. They all were positive, she says, and good advice that she will take with her going forward in her journalism career.
In the headline writing competition, students read six stories and had to assign corresponding headlines. One dealt with a student production of the play, “Twelve Angry Men,” to which Stephen assigned this headline: “Disorder in the Court.”
“I think the judges liked it,” he says. “I tried to summarize each story in a short, concise headline, and still have time to play with the words a little. I tried a bunch of different combinations to see what worked best, but basically, I wanted to stay away from the drab and add a little twist to grab the reader.”
Viator Voice editors were nominated by the staff to be able to compete at sectionals, and once nominated they could choose their events. Their top place finishes surprised Mr. Chris Paolelli, moderator for the paper, who said he looks for them to build on this experience in the future.
“I’m thrilled at how well our team did in their first year of competition,” said Mr. Paolelli. “I’m beyond proud of what these kids accomplished, and I’m looking forward to many years of IHSA excellence in the future.”