MacJournalists shine in NSPA individual awards competition

Shield recognized as Pacemaker finalist; Shield, Knight 4th in Best of Show


Bella Russo

HEAD OVER HEELS (LITERALLY): After finishing the first major dance number of the show, junior Grace Hickey as Little Becky Two Shoes strikes her final pose. The dance number in question, “Look at the Sky,” was a moment of celebration for the poor people of Urinetown. “In this number, the poor folks finally saw a glimpse of freedom from their oppressive and totalitarian regime,” Hickey said. “Mr. Denning told us to act with every particle of our  bodies in this scene and be super intentional with our energy and motivation.” During the show, Hickey explains that a million thoughts were buzzing through her mind all at once. “In the final pose, all I could think was ‘Arm up! Don’t fall over! Smile!… HURRAY!’” Despite the crazy circumstances and obstacles Urinetown had to overcome, Hickey’s claims that it was her favorite MacTheatre to date. “Out of the 8-plus shows I have performed in, this one was extra special,” Hickey said. “Everyone in it wanted to be there so bad.” Reporting by Alysa Spiro.

MacJournalism received some good news from Saturday’s National Scholastic Press Association awards assembly livestreamed as part of the virtual NSPA/Journalism Education Assocation’s fall national high school journalism convention.

Senior online co-editor in chief Lucy Marco won first place in the nation in the Digital Story of the Year competition in the blog category, and a team of 13 staffers also won first place nationally in the Digital Story of the Year competition in the photo gallery category.

Marco won her first place award for her Dec. 19 story, “Make yourself at gnome,” an installment of her blog, Lucy’s Laboratory. The team of staffers won for the March 30 Tuesday Top 10 photo essay, “One last visit to ‘Urinetown.’”

Prior to the convention, 18 MacJournalism entries in the NSPA Individual Awards had been identified as finalists, and 12 of them placed in the top five of their respective categories on Saturday.

Additionally, MacJournalism enjoyed seven winners in the Best of Show competition among schools who attended the virtual NSPA/JEA convention.

Marco won first place again for an installment of her blog, “Thinking inside the box,” and she and her fellow Shield Online co-editor-in-chief Alice Scott shared a first place award for the broadcast feature story “Thank God it’s Friday.”

While the Shield was not named as one of the 29 Newspaper Pacemaker Award winners announced on Saturday, it was recognized for being named earlier as one of the 66 Newspaper Pacemaker Award finalists.

The first issue of the Shield for 2021-2022 and the 2021 Knight yearbook both placed fourth in the Best of Show competition.

NSPA Individual Awards

WEE THE PEOPLE: Junior Amethyst Mellberg-Smith holds up a sign during a Urinetown scene involving a protest for the right to “pee for free.” Mellberg-Smith thinks that the show is a commentary on the current political climate. “It’s totally political satire,” Mellberg-Smith said. “It’s making fun of serious situations that are somewhat similar to things happening now, but in such a comedic and absurd way it really shows how messy politics and fighting for what’s right can be.” Mellberg-Smith said that while being on stage for the first time in a year was a rewarding experience, her favorite part of the production was spending time with her friends. “Finally seeing people every day made all of the hard work feel effortless,” Mellberg-Smith said, “and I can’t wait to do it again!” Reporting by Samantha Powers. (Bella Russo)

First place

Lucy Marco, “Making yourself at gnome,” NSPA Digital Story of the Year, Blog.

Marley Angle, Ellen Fox, Sophie Leung-Lieu, Lucy Marco, Madelynn Niles, Samantha Powers, Lydia Reedy, Bella Russo, Lanie Sepehri, Alice Scott, Alysa Spiro, Kennedy Weatherby and Tallulah Wilson, “One last visit to ‘Urinetown,’” NSPA Digital Story of the Year, Photo Gallery

Second place 

Alice Scott, Kate Boyle, Anna McClellan and Grace Nugent, “A COVID-19 year in the life at Mac,” NSPA Best COVID-19 Reporting, Broadcast.

Third place

The Knights lock pinkies and face the crowd for the singing of the school song after the win on Thursday night at House Park. This tradition was accentuated when half the stadium lights went out unexpectedly and created this unusual scene. The Knights will next face the Crockett Cougars this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Burger Stadium. (Caleb Melville)

Caleb Melville, “Knights out, lights out,” NSPA Photo of the Year, Sports Feature.

Evie Barnard, Kate Boyle, Josie Bradsby, Olivia Capochiano, Ellen Fox, Evelyn Griffin, Lucy Marco, Anna McClellan, Samantha Powers, Sofia Ramon, Lydia Reedy, Bella Russo, and Alice Scott, “A virtual VASE gallery of MAC state finalists,” NSPA Digital Story of the Year, Interactive Graphic.

Fourth place

Lindsey Plotkin and Bella Russo, “Bring the heat,” NSPA Design of the Year, Yearbook Spread.

Alice Scott and Makenzie Mason, “Stepping up as leaders,” NSPA Digital Story of the Year, Multimedia Sports Story.

Caleb Melville, ““Masked super hero,” NSPA Photo of the Year, Feature Photo.

Ellen Fox, “We can handle the truth,” NSPA Story of the Year, Editorial.

Alice Scott, “Multimedia journalist of the year portfolio,” NSPA Portfolio of the Year, Multimedia Journalist of the Year.

Lucy Marco, “Life as a teenage essential worker,” NSPA Best COVID-19 Reporting, Print News or Feature Story.

Fifth place 

Knight and Shield staffs, “Best use of social media promotion entry,” NSPA Best Use of Social Media, Social Media Promotion.

Honorable mention

Morgan Eye, “The fish are drowning,” NSPA Broadcast Story of the Year, News.

Alice Scott, “A message to President Biden and Vice President Harris from the voters of tomorrow,” NSPA Broadcast Story of the Year, Commentary.

Hannah Zuniga, “Summer traveling,” NSPA Design of the Year, Information Graphic.

Madelynn Niles, “Taking a closer look,” NSPA Photograph of the Year, Feature Photo.

Anna McClellan, “The return to campus,” NSPA Photograph of the Year, Environmental Portrait.

Kennedy Weatherby, “Photojournalist of the Year Portfolio,” NSPA Portfolio of the Year, Photojournalist of the Year.


Best of Show Awards

First place

Alice Scott and Lucy Marco, “Thank God it’s Friday,” Broadcast Feature Story.

Lucy Marco, “Thinking inside the box,” Blog.

Second place

Kate Boyle, “Sink or Rise,” Blog.

Fourth place

The Shield, Vol 69, No. 1, Oct. 1, 2021, Newspaper/Newsmagazine, 

The 2021 Knight, Yearbook, 144-264 pages. 

Sixth place

Grace Nugent, “Free Guy delivers pixel perfect performance,” Blog.

Senior Michael Valentino participated in the LBJ Fire Academy’s live fire skill day that was held on Sep. 25. After a full year of learning about fires, extinguishers, equipment and how to use it, Valentino and the three other seniors a part of the academy put out their first live fires. “It was so cool,” Valentino said. “I ended up doing the nozzle, which is the first person in line, which was super cool, I really wanted to do that.” Caption and photo by Kennedy Weatherby.

Ninth place

Kennedy Weatherby, “Class of ’22 is on fire (figuratively),” Photojournalism.

NSPA Pacemaker Awards


The Shield, Newspaper Pacemaker Award