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


2018-2019 Annual Report


Student press rights progress, a national Journalist of the Year winner and an incredible convention – just another successful year for the Texas Association of Journalism Educators.

We are proud of the work we did in 2018-2019, which you will read about in this report. In addition, TAJE would like to highlight some additional goals for the upcoming year.

Continue to prioritize student press freedom in Texas by spreading the word about New Voices legislation. We will collect more stories from students affected by administrative censorship and continue to foster positive relationships with school administrators and school boards to help them better understand how student press rights benefit all stakeholders in the school community.
Involve students in planning and implementation of TAJE business by establishing a student advisory council.
Improve communication and member interaction by utilizing social media and online tools to connect with members.
Curate a slate of engaging and powerful sessions for Fall Fiesta to better prepare Texas journalism students to tell powerful stories about their school and to help their advisers prepare them for the ever-changing landscape of 21st century journalism in America.
Continue to provide enrichment for both teachers and students by providing scholarships to workshops and encourage continuing education by providing college scholarships to graduating seniors.

Membership was up by 45 from last year. The year ended with 292 members (51 of those lifetime members).

The 2018 Fall Fiesta was held at the Wyndham on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Oct. 20-22. More than 700 students and teachers attended the convention which provided writing, photography and design contests on Saturday and 55 sessions on Sunday for the students. Seventeen vendors supported the convention with both their information, sessions and freebies. The Saturday keynote with Texas Monthly staff writer Skip Hollandsworth kicked off the convention.The author and screenwriter also signed copies of his latest book for attendees. Yearbook companies donated adviser bags, hosted a luncheon, provided judging-night snacks and offered breakfast for advisers. Some highlights of the convention included the Intensive Writing session with David Knight and Scott Winter and the advent of The Bureau which featured brief sessions on a variety of topics during registration on Saturday morning and a place for judges and staffs to meet for onsite critiques on Sunday. Before schools left on Monday, hundreds of awards were presented to students and their publications.

TAJE received more than 1,900 entries in the Best of Texas contest, an increase of almost 600 entries. Broadcast categories and Best of the Best awards were added this year. More than 40 percent of entrants received an honorable mention, excellent or superior designation. See individual winners at the links below.

Best in Texas: Newspaper & Broadcast

Best of the Best: Newspaper & Broadcast

Best in Texas: Yearbook

Best of the Best: Yearbook

The Fall Fiesta contests had more than 600 registered entries.

Fall Fiesta Contest Winners


Texas took home bragging rights in JEA’s 2019 National High School Journalist of the Year Contest when Parker Davis of St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas was named the winner in April. Davis received a $3,000 Sister Rita Jeanne Scholarship and was the first Texan since 2008 to claim the JOY title.

Advocates lobbied for New Voices legislation in the 2019 session, garnering support from Democratic lawmakers to restore student press rights to public high school journalists. House Bill 2244 passed out of the House Public Education Committee, but died in the calendars committee, which schedules floor hearings, when the legislative session ended May 27. The companion bill in the Senate, SB514, was heard in the Senate Committee on Education but was left pending without a vote. Advocates plan to organize efforts to reintroduce New Voices bills in the 2021 session.


During Fall Fiesta, TAJE presented three Pathfinder Awards to PJ Cabrera, Kira Hayes and Katie Moreno. Trailblazer Awards were given to Laura Negri, Melonie Menefee and Margie Comstock. Mark Murray was named a Texas Treasure, and Mitchell Franz, Derek Gower and Cade Cleavin received the Friends of Journalism Award.

During the Interscholastic League Press Conference Edith Fox King dinner in April, TAJE honored Westlake High School principal Steve Ramsey as Administrator of the Year.

TAJE awarded $8,000 in scholarships to students and teachers. See the list of recipients.