LH Journalists Bring Home the Highest Award in Scholastic Journalism

The Little Hawk Journalism team won the NSPA Online Pacemaker and their newspaper placed 3rd at the JEA/NSPA national conference in Los Angeles. The team also won nine journalism state championships and is an All-Iowa News Team of the Year Finalist.


Jonathan Rogers

Editors Aala Basheir, Haileigh Steffen and Rebecca Michaeli hold their Pacemaker award and 3rd Place Best of Show award from the national journalism conference in Los Angeles.

John Weigel, Reporter

Little Hawk journalists traveled to Los Angeles to attend the JEA/NSPA national convention.  At the convention, they won third place Best of Show for their newspaper and the NSPA Pacemaker award for their website.  Only 20 schools in the country were honored with the Pacemaker and The Little Hawk was the only school in Iowa to receive the award.

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” Executive Director Laura Widmer said. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best.”

Lucy Thompson, Araminta Siegling, and Hattie Connover meet with Quill and Scroll director Jeffrey Brown before a presentation on the positive uses of social media. (Jonathan Rogers)

Students of the Little Hawk journalism program were challenged to “rock the web” this year and push more creative content like podcasts. The award means more than what it represents, it means recognition of years of hard work and consistency.

“I think it means a lot. It’s incredible that we won the actual physical award, it’s always nice to have documentation of the work we’ve been doing, but I think it represents something more than that. I think it’s an acknowledgment of all the work that we have done over the past year, two years, especially throughout the pandemic. It’s a satisfying, validating thing,” Rebecca Michaeli ’22, Website Executive Editor said.

Michaeli led a staff of over fifty journalists throughout the year.  The staff updated the News, Sports, A&E, Culture, Multimedia and Feature sections on a weekly basis.

“This award is the culmination of six months of really outstanding journalism by this year’s team.  Rebecca was an outstanding leader who made good stories even better, while pushing really fun content like the podcasts.  To win the Pacemaker is really something special and then to also have them place 3rd for the newspaper is outstanding.  To have one of the best journalism websites and newspapers is quite an achievement.   I also want to give some praise to Anna Gayley the yearbook editor and all the photographers.  Photos really make the website pop and the photos by Anna and Lauren Koch were simply outstanding.  This is really shown in all the Iowa High School Press Association state awards they also just won,” Jonathan Rogers, adviser of the Little Hawk, said.

On the state level, The Little Hawk was also just awarded nine “state champion” or first-place awards and is an Iowa News Team of the Year finalist.  The Little Hawk’s state awards are listed below.


2022 IHSPA Spring Journalism Contest

1st Place

Rosangel Flores-Rubio – Teaching Race in Iowa – Art

Rosangel Flores-Rubio – Aala Basheir – Greta Stanier – News Laws of Teaching Race – Magazine Cover

Lauren Koch – Top Ranked City Football – Sports Feature Photo

Lauren Koch – Senior Paint Fight – News Photo

Lauren Koch – Fist Pump – Sports Action Photo

Haileigh Steffen – The Review Revived – Multiple Page Newspaper Design

Haileigh Steffen – Teachers Give Love Advice – Entertainment

Wisdom Konu – Why We Talk about Bruno – Review

Social Media – Rebecca Michaeli


2nd Place

Haileigh Steffen – Local Chef Local Food – Video Story

Anastacia Laux – Comic Book Tells More than a Story – Personality Profile

Max Berry-Stoelzle – Top Ranked City Football – Sports Recap

Isaac Bullwinkle – Frances Bottorff – Educational Censorship – Staff Editorial

Greta Stanier – Freshmen to Watch – Newspaper Multipage Design

Shoshie Hemley, Emily Martinez – #StopAsianHate – In-Depth News

Ash Jimenez – Gender Neutral Bathroom in Danger – Column

Haileigh Steffe, Lulu Roarick – Teachers Overworked – School News

Web Design – Rebecca Michaeli

Social Media Reporting – Rebecca Michaeli


3rd Place

Max Berry-Stoelzle – Dental Dangers – In-Depth Sports

Matisse Arnone, Rebecca Michaeli – A Push for Diversity – Social Justice Reporting

Parker Max – Jack Degner – Livestream vs. Linn Mar – Entertainment

Frances Bottorff, Isaac Bullwinkle – 4th Ave Reevaluates Masks – News Story



Honorable Mention

Lulu Roarick – Infographic

Haileigh Steffen – Video Story – Students Protest for Reproductive Justice

Lucy Thompson – Natalia Stretches Wrestling Photo – Sports Action Photo

Anna Gayley, Lulu Roarick, Ava Brewer – Good Morning City High – Video News

Sophia Wagner – Araminta Siegling – Students Protest Racial Inequality – News Story

A Push for Diversity in Music – Matisse Arnone, Rebecca Michaeli – Feature Story

Aala Basheir – Lulu Roarick – New Laws of Teaching Race in Iowa – Feature Story