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WHHS editor runner-up in national competition

A West Henderson High School student who had already been named the North Carolina High School High School Journalism was a runnerup for National High School Journalist of the Year and received a $1,000 scholarship.


Lauren Stepp, co-editor of the school's award-winning Wingspan, was one of eight runners-up chosen by the 18-member Journalist of the Year Committee. She has won a full scholarship to attend UNC Charlotte. Among her achievements were reporting and writing for the high school newspaper and leading a redesign of the newspaper into a magazine-style product. She also worked as a free-lance writer for the Hendersonville Lightning.

Taylor R. Blatchford of Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo., was named the 2014 Journalist of the Year.

The 33 entries in the national scholarship competition each had previously been named state Journalist of the Year winners.

The awards were announced by the Journalism Education Association on Monday during closing ceremonies of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Convention in San Diego.

The Journalism Education Association is a national organization of scholastic journalism teachers and advisers headquartered at the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism at Kansas State University.

Blatchford’s diverse digital portfolio earned her the national title and a $3,000 scholarship. She is a 21st-century journalist and the editor-in-chief of the innovative VISTAj program which converges news magazine, news website and yearbook.

“As a scholastic journalist, Blatchford exhibited strong skills in design, photography and writing in the entry,” said Wayna Polk, MJE, Journalist of the Year Committee chair.

“I was impressed at the level of her journalistic skills in all fields,” Lisa Van Etta, adviser at Duchesne Academy in Houston and committee member, said. “As we worked through the portfolio, Blatchford’s work became stronger with each category.”

With dreams of becoming a musical journalist, Blatchford has photographed more than 20 concerts, and many of those images were in her entry.

“Every day VISTAj pushes me to go past what I know I am capable of,”
Blatchford said. “I learned to create high goals and even higher dreams for
myself, to work hard and to never give up.”