The status of high school journalism on the Southside is in exceptionally talented hands. For the second straight year, a Southport High School student is the Indiana High School Press Association’s journalism student of the year. Madelyn Knight received the honor recently and accepted the $1,000 scholarship that accompanies the award.
Knight was one of five Southside high school students who were honored at the IHSPA’s First Amendment Symposium earlier this month at the Indiana Statehouse. Last year Andrew Tapp, a student activist for freedom of high school press among state legislators, was the recipient of the award.
“Getting the award was kind of surreal; I kind of blanked out,” Knight recalled. “It made me realize all the hard work I had put into journalism was worth it.”
This is a high honor for Southport High School to have two consecutive journalist-ofthe-year recipients. Knight’s specialties were in social media and page design for publications.
“It’s kind of crazy because Drew was awesome and won the award last year. I kept thinking I had no chance because they won’t pick a student from the same high school two years in a row,” She is deep into social media and is a teen fact-checker for Media Wise, a Google news initiative that helps high school and middle school students understand what they are reading online is real or not.
“Social media plays a big role; there’s no stopping it,” Knight observed. “I think the best approach we can take is to educate teens to know how to fact-check and to know what is fact or fiction."
Knight has added to the quality of high school’s news magazine, the Journal, and online Journal Rewind. Mike Klopfenstein is the SHS journalism teacher and advisor. Knight’s interest in media began as a photographer. She is a four-year journalism student who has many interests. She is a member of the Honor Society, school leadership group and student mediator, international thespians and student board of a state association for German language.
She is the daughter of Robert and Ingrid Knight and is the youngest of five children. Knight becomes eligible for national honors and a $3,000 scholarship in late April. Southport High School journalism student Russell Peterson Womack was awarded first place in sports journalism with schoolmate Logan Zrebiec second place.
Greenwood High School’s Anna Lowe earned second place in First Amendment design with schoolmate Hannah Heilman among three state essay award winners. IHSPA student board president Haley Pritchett was among four finalists for state journalist of the year and was a featured speaker.
“Journalists have one of the most important, yet underrated jobs in the world, “Pritchett stated. “Journalism gives people a platform, it saves lives and it keeps our country held accountable. Media is not bad; the majority of journalists are not liars and our craft will never die out.”
Southport student Haley Miller, a student board at-large member, also spoke: “Journalism granted us a special gift that not many professions can claim. We are entrusted with serious responsibility, with an essential mission: to recognize the ordinary people. As student journalists, we have the chance to illuminate their stories and truly make an impact.”
IHSPA Hoosier Star yearbook finalists include Roncalli’s Reveille in division II and Center Grove’s Trojan division III with the yearbook awards to be announced in October.