White wins Illinois Journalist of the Year

Madison Venckus, Feature Editor

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Omega editor-in-chief senior Natalie White was named the 2018 Illinois Journalist of the Year (IJOY) on Thursday, March 8. She became the organization’s 29th Journalist of the Year since 1989, and the second student journalist from DGN to win the award.

Hosted by Illinois Journalism Education Association (IJEA), the honor comes with a $300 scholarship and makes White and other state winners eligible to compete for the national title.

The IJOY award requires the applicant to have an extensive online portfolio that showcases a variety of skills including layout and design, writing, copy editing and photojournalism.

Journalism adviser Elizabeth Levin supported White throughout her years on the staff and throughout the application process.

“Natalie is a multi-talented student who excels in every dimension of journalism, from web design to sports writing. She’s an extraordinarily principled young woman and we’re so proud of her,” Levin said.

Under White’s leadership, the publication has won a number of recognitions including a Gold Medalist ranking from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, NISPA’s Golden Eagle award, and the website earned a historic silver certificate from NISPA.

Co-editor-in-chief senior Sidney Lee has worked alongside White and admires her dedication and work ethic.

“Natalie is incredibly deserving of this award. She worked so hard to complete the extensive portfolio and application process. I am so proud to work alongside her and be a part of her journalism journey,” Lee said.

White joined The Omega staff her sophomore year, spending her first year as a sports editor and her next two years as editor-in-chief.

“[The Omega] allows me to make an impact on the community and my school, and give a voice to those who may not be confident enough or have an opportunity to speak out. Also, I love working with the staff and we’re so close this year that it makes all of the hard work more fun,“ White said.

On Thursday, March 8, IJEA representatives including Brenda Field and Stan Zoller visited White in her journalism class to surprise her with the news. Her family, along with Principal Janice Schwarze and Director of Communications Jill Browning, were also present for the celebration.

“I think that the award is a reflection of all of those around me who push me to work harder and have taught me so much. I only wish that there was a way to give a staff of the year award because everyone deserves it,” White said.

White will submit her portfolio for the national competition. The winner will be announced in San Francisco at the JEA National Convention on April 14.