School newspaper wins highest journalism award

Barbara Hootman

Owen High’s The Hoofbeat school newspaper recently received the coveted Tarheel Award, the highest award given for high school journalism by the N.C. Scholastic Media Institute.

“We have won many awards over the years, but we’ve never gotten the Tarheel Award ... until this year,” Adrienne Hollifield, faculty adviser and journalism teacher, said. “After 15 years of teaching journalism, I am finally able to say we received the honor. This is our first time, and it says the paper is competitive on a national level.”

Each year the newspaper enters the institute’s competition, and among several section and individual writing awards, it has been given All-North Carolina designation four times. The designation makes it eligible for the Tarheel Award, the highest of institute awards. In June, The Hoofbeat staff found out that it was among five N.C. high school newspapers to receive the Tarheel Award.

The newspaper was critiqued in eight areas including content and coverage, news writing and editing, features, sports, opinion, design visuals and reader services.

“To receive an All-North Carolina ranking means we do an excellent job in all the areas,” Hollifield said. “... Cassie Moseley and Lucy O’Brien, the co-editors in chief this year, did an amazing job with the newspaper this year. They chose the content, determined the style, made sure that students got their work in on time and according to AP (Associated Press) style, and they were phenomenal leaders of an excellent team.”

Mosely is excited about receiving the Tarheel Award.

“I was honestly not expecting it,” she said. “It’s such an honor to be the first editors (at Owen)to get such a high award. As nice as the award is, it doesn’t compare to the late nights singing 1980s pop hits while eating pizza and producing four beautiful newspapers together. I couldn’t be prouder of the 2014-15 Hoofbeat staff.”

Hollifield said the Tarheel Award is a culmination of the hard work and love for journalism of many students, including previous editors and staff willing to think outside of the box. She gives the staff the credit for producing the quality product that brought home the award.

“My students have taught me much more than I could learn from other advisers,” Hollifield said. “They have taught me that they can teach as well as I can, that they can edit in the language of their peers with greater effect, that they can organize to raise money and get ads, that they have the empathy to deal with tragedy in our community in a caring way, and that they know how to work and how to play and when to do each.

“I love teaching journalism because of my students and (because of) what I have taught them and they have taught me. The Tarheel Award confirms that we are going in the right direction for others to see what we have accomplished.”