The official site of Texas Association of Journalism Educators


The official site of Texas Association of Journalism Educators


The official site of Texas Association of Journalism Educators


Journalist of the Year

[Journalist of the Year]

Texas Journalist of the Year Contest

Where should I start?
Check out the JOY info and requirements from JEA and this submission guidelines checklist.

When are applications due?
Texas JOY applications are due on Feb. 15.

What should the JOY portfolio look like?
JOY applications should have a link to a digital submission to be considered for both Texas and the national JEA JOY contest. Students are highly recommended to create a website to house their work to be considered for the award.

How are applications judged?
The Texas JOY will represent Texas for JEA’s National Journalist of the Year. Here are the JOY guidelines for JEA. Judges consist of professional journalists, former advisers without ties to the participating schools and supporters of Texas scholastic journalism. The judges will score portfolios using a rubric modeled after the JEA scoring guide.

When and where are winners announced?
The winner will be announced on social media and honored at the ILPC spring convention in May.

What scholarships are available for JOY applicants and winners?
The Texas Journalist of the Year will receive the $1,500 Bill Taylor Memorial Scholarship.  The state winner will compete for a scholarship at the JEA national level.

When can we expect feedback from the JOY critiques?
Written critiques are returned to all participants after the winner is announced in May.

Applicants have the strongest chance of success if they follow this checklist when preparing their portfolio:

  • Student should be a high school senior and should have an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Adviser should be a current member of TAJE and JEA.
  • Gather all student and adviser contact information.
  • Provide social media handles for the applicant and publication(s).
  • Provide the link to the student’s online portfolio. Link should be public and not password protected. These will be listed on after the contest has concluded. Portfolio should include evidence of the following: 
    • 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)
  • Two high-resolution photos with the image width at 1,000 pixels. Include the applicant’s name and state in the file name. Example: Joe_Journalist_TX_action.jpg; Joe_Journalist_TX_headshot.jpg
    • 1) an action photo (with caption) of applicant involved in some aspect of student media. The applicant’s face should be showing. If there is more than one dominant subject in the photo, please use location of candidate (left, right, etc.)
    •  2) a head-and-shoulders photo of the applicant (such as a yearbook portrait). 
  • Three letters of recommendation from those who know the applicant well and understand the impact of the journalistic experience on the student’s life. (PDF files accepted; files must each be less than 2MB) 
  • Current resume, including all positions held in student media and their dates. (PDF file accepted; file must be less than 2MB)
  • High school transcript including journalism classes taken, grades and current GPA. (PDF file; maximum of one file accepted; file must be 2MB or less)
  • Personal narrative. Essay should not exceed two pages in length. (PDF file accepted; file must be less than 2MB) Students should write with passion and make an impact on the judges because this narrative functions as the applicant’s one-on-one interview with the judges.

Apply Now
Online application

Need Help?
Contact State Director Lisa Musser Roskens at or call (806) 223-9283.

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