Minnehaha Academy senior Maddie Binning was named Minnesota’s “Journalist of the Year,” an award given annually in each state by the Journalism Education Association (JEA).
To be considered for the honor, high school journalists across the nation collected pieces of their work and compiled them into online portfolios. To meet JEA requirements, students were encouraged to provide work samples in 11 categories, including writing, editing, design, web and photojournalism. When submitted, all online portfolios were judged and one winner was selected from each state.
In Minnesota’s case, Binning was crowned by Journalism Educators of Minnesota, JEA’s local branch.
“It’s nice to know that people appreciate the work that I do,” she said.
Binning, editor-in-chief of the Talon newspaper, advised by Reid Westrem, will continue her study of journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto.
“She’s humble,” said Meena Morar, sophomore staff writer for the Talon. “She doesn’t broadcast all of the things that she does, so you don’t even realize the multitude of things she does do.”
Along with the honor of being heralded as Minnesota’s finest journalist, Binning was also given a $500 scholarship, which she plans to put toward her college education.
She does not see this award as a conclusion to her high school journalism career, but rather, a continuation of a life-long passion.
“This is just a dot on the timeline,” Binning said. “It’s just a reinforcement of my desire to continue on in journalism. It’s just a way of encouraging myself to keep going, to know that the work I’m doing is valuable. It just helps me to know that I’m on the right path.”
“Just as my sophomore year of high school was about to begin and the school was entering the Centennial year, my newspaper adviser sent out an email to the Talon staff suggesting that someone try to do a daily photo project, not unlike that of Jim Brandenburg. However, instead of one press of the shutter, the challenge was to capture one photo per school day to capture the Centennial year of our school. Despite having won an award for writing the previous year and having desire to cultivate my skill as a writer, I decided to take on the challenge while also continuing on with the usual newspaper work. The project that was intended to be a year-long project turned into a three year project that I also turned into videos. Every day of my high school experience from sophomore to senior year has been documented through photography. Some of my best photos are shown in a gallery on the Redhawks Online website.”
– Maddie Binning