Great Scott! Editor is Broadcast Journalist of the Year

After earning individual acclaim for portfolio, co-editor-in-chief embraces goal to take The Shield to the next level


Dave Winter

For a PBS Student Reporting Labs event at SXSW, Scott presents a black arm band that was part of the Student Press Freedom Week campaign she organized.

Ingrid Smith, co-online managing editor and co-news editor

At the 2022 Paper Plate Awards, Shield staff agreed that “God is a Woman” and her name is Alice Scott. The video she makes on an iPad ends up on national TV. The story she writes about her personal life leaves strangers in tears. The campaign she organizes about student press freedom ends with half the school wearing black armbands. 

According to newspaper adviser Dave Winter, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that Scott is MacJournalism magic. From the moment Scott joined Shield staff as a freshman, she has been a leader. Recently, co-editor-in-chief, Scott has been named the National Student Press Association’s Broadcast Journalist of The Year… and McCallum doesn’t even have a broadcast journalism program. 

“Put that on a T-shirt,” Winter said.

I came to MacJ with broadcast being my major skill set.

— Alice Scott

When Scott is not steering MacJournalism toward success, she can be found managing musicals for tech theater, tutoring for McCallum Writing Center and studying after sundown to maintain top grades. 

She prefers to be busy, crossing things off her 50-item to-do list with an almond milk cold brew in hand. Scott described The Shield as “disorganized, impactful and hardworking.” But it’s no secret that Scott works the hardest of all.

The broadcast basics

With six years of broadcast journalism under her belt, Scott has her process down to a science.

Objective No. 1: humanize yourself. Scott catches her subjects in their natural habitats and approaches them with a TV smile. She sits on the floor, pulls out the tripod legs and says, “How was your day?” Be confident and friendly–interview subjects can smell fear. Attaching the ring light, she tells her subject the interview game plan. Time to turn on the ring light. Careful, don’t blind them! 

Objective No. 2: get good quotes. Scott has studied her interview subjects extensively and has a list of questions written in her head. She sees how the subject responds–she’ll either need to push with follow-up questions or pull way back if they’re a talker. Remember, you’re a journalist, not a judge. When she gets a good quote, she timestamps that moment in her head and moves right along. 

I’m really trying to pass on my knowledge to other people because I don’t want broadcast to die in this program.

— Alice Scott

Objective No. 3: Put on your headphones and get in the zone. Scott makes a timeline with all her interviews and approximately 80 b-roll clips then sits down to edit. One hour passes, two, three– editing is as easy as breathing. When the final product gets the Scott stamp of approval, it’s time for her signature sign-off: “This has been Alice Scott reporting for The Shield Online.”

Before she even turned 14, Scott had been station manager of Kealing Broadcast Television (KBTV), one of the most acclaimed middle school broadcast journalism programs in the nation. With every crown jewel of middle school journalism in her possession, Scott became one of only a few students in Shield history to join staff as a freshman.

“I came to MacJ with broadcast being my major skill set,” Scott said. “I was new to writing stories, and I was new to taking photos, which is funny because broadcast should be kind of similar, but I was like, ‘This is so scary.’”

Freshman year

On her first day of Zoom school, Scott felt petrified. But she has never been one to shy away from a challenge. Winter gave her a first-day assignment–write a caption about a freshman volleyball game. So Scott messaged everyone she knew on the team, put the puzzle pieces of the caption together and smiled as her name appeared on the MacJournalism Instagram feed for the very first time.

“I wrote the caption in a day, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is a good feeling,’” Scott said. “And then I just kept doing that. Because it was COVID, I didn’t have anything else that I was doing, so I just kept producing and producing and producing. Slowly, I would win more awards, or Mr. Winter would be like, ‘This is great that we have videos on the website again.’ It was kind of this great feeling of actually doing something for the McCallum community.”

For Scott, that year was all about learning. But for the rest of newspaper staff, it was all about learning from her. When principal Nicole Griffith jogged into Winter’s classroom with an idea to make a video about the upcoming virtual pep rally, Winter pushed his inexperience with broadcast journalism aside and took the assignment. So he climbed on top of a 20-foot ladder to film Blue Brigade, crawled around on the floor to get a good angle and wrestled a video camera until the relic of McCallum past finally turned on. In over his head and frustrated, the journalist with 30 years of experience was saved by a 14-year-old.

Scott presents to Jennifer Richter’s APUSH class during Student Press Freedom Week. (Leah Gordon)

“It got to be the night before the pep rally, and I could not make it happen, I did not have the skills and the time to make it happen,” Winter said. “Morgan [Eye] and Kennedy [Weatherby] produced parts of the virtual pep rally, and in the end Alice put it together. I was like, ‘Wow, how many times is she going to save my butt in the time that she’s here on Sunset Drive?’” 

With the vast majority of Knights doing school from home, Winter became Scott’s “sous chef.” He would record b-roll on campus for Scott’s videos, and in return, she would teach him the art of broadcast journalism. 

“The kind of stuff that always excites me about being a journalism teacher is doing things and learning things that I don’t know how to do,” Winter said. “She teaches me all the time, things that I do not know, even though I’ve been an adviser for 30-plus years. It’s just a blessing to have somebody who’s that committed to the subject and that knowledgeable about the subject.”

Sophomore year

During sophomore year, Scott hit full stride. Newly named online-co-editor-in-chief, she spruced up The Shield’s multimedia coverage with videos about everything from service dogs to supporting transgender teens. But taking on the leadership role meant facing new challenges.

She teaches me all the time, things that I do not know, even though I’ve been an adviser for 30-plus years.

— journalism adviser Dave Winter

“It’s so hard to actually produce volume in the editor role,” Scott said. “I’m really trying to pass on my knowledge to other people because I don’t want broadcast to die in this program, especially because I know that I have the tools to help teach others.”

By the end of sophomore year, Scott had made five videos, exactly enough to submit a Broadcast Journalist of the Year portfolio. Despite her experience, she thought her chances of winning were next to none. She attended a school with no broadcast journalism program. She made all of her videos on a ring light, lapel mic and tripod that she got for free at a summer camp. But she shoved her fears aside and pressed “submit.”

“In a year where nothing went as planned, from ever-evolving school district policies to teacher and substitute shortages, school often felt up in the air,” Scott wrote in her Broadcast Journalist of the Year portfolio. “Being able to produce objective and meaningful news for my school community reminded me of the power of journalism to inform, support and inspire.”

When the time came to select the editors-in-chief for the 2022-2023 school year, Scott was the obvious pick. She showed up to her interview with a list of critiques about Shield procedures. Better yet, she showed up with solutions. But Winter didn’t need an interview to know Scott was the woman for the job. When Winter saw Scott helping staffers and shooting for the scholastic press stars even as a freshman, he knew he was looking at a future editor-in-chief.

“I think everybody knew Alice was the right person to pick,” Winter said. “I think people kind of took a step back and just acknowledged that it was her turn. She deserved it.”

Junior year

So Scott was named co-editor-in-chief, an almost unheard-of honor for a junior. Senior Evie Barnard, former news editor, shared the other half of the co-editor-in-chief title. 

She’s probably the most hardworking person you will ever meet.

— co-editor-in-chief Evie Barnard

When Barnard found out she would be working with Scott, she breathed a sigh of relief. Barnard had looked up to Scott since they were anchors on KB-TV together, donning spiffy red blazers to report on Hornet happenings. Five years later, Scott is the “same old Alice”– dedicated, hardworking and energetic. 

“She’s probably the most hardworking person you will ever meet,” Barnard said. “If she has something in mind, she will work until it gets done. She just has this ability that I don’t think many people have; when she gets something in mind, she can make it happen, and she is able to create change.”

Indeed, creating change was at the top of Scott’s editor-in-chief agenda. Along with Barnard, Scott brought The Shield into a new era. She mentored staffers on everything from editorial writing to setting up tripods. She placed staffers into Harry Potter houses and organized team competitions. She emptied her pockets ordering pizzas for work nights.

Broadcast Journalist of the Year

And that fall the wait was over. Scott and Barnard sat at the NSPA award ceremony, sweating bullets under the St. Louis arch. In just a few minutes the broadcast journalist of the year would be announced. As Winter put it, the countdown to first place was “absolutely, mind-numbingly agonizing.” A bundle of nerves and excitement, Scott’s eyes found the stage.

The honorable mentions flash across the screen. “Alice Scott” is nowhere to be found. Here comes third place, second. No Alice Scott, no Alice Scott. 

“There’s this moment of like, ‘What? There’s no way, there’s no–’ and then they put up the screen with your face on it and your name with ‘Broadcast Journalist of the Year,’” Scott said. “So I go up and I get my plaque. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? How did this even happen?’”

After receiving her broadcast journalist of the year award, Scott poses with Mitch Eden, the journalism adviser at Kirkwood High School who was helping  present awards during the ceremony. (Kristen Scott)

She turns around, and her first-ever journalism teacher pulls her into a hug. The 11-year-old at his journalism camp playing with b-roll for the first time was now broadcast journalist of the year. 

“The really cool thing about the greater journalism community is it connects everyone and unites you,” Scott said. “When you’re at those award ceremonies you’re like, ‘Oh, I hope I hope I win.’ But I think honestly, those moments of seeing people you met at a convention or an old teacher or whatever are so much more valuable than the actual awards.”

According to Winter, placing in an NSPA contest is no small feat. But, to his knowledge, no McCallum student had ever won until Scott. She came in tripod blazing and made school history. 

“She is very, very talented and very creative,” Winter said. “But she also worked really, really hard to take advantage of those gifts. And that’s an unbeatable combination.”


Returning to school with a national title, Scott shifted right back into gear as editor-in-chief.

She’s a force of not accepting the status quo and trying to make things better than they were before.

— journalism adviser Dave Winter

She finds missions in everything, and her mission as editor-in-chief is to make The Shield the best it can be. Even if it means putting broadcast projects on the back burner, even if it’s a thankless job, even if she makes a million mistakes along the way.

“I realized, I just care so much about sharing people’s stories, or actually doing something that’s important to the community and making a difference,” Scott said. “Slowly, I’ve drifted into more of a leadership role, so I’ve produced less work, but I’ve started to find joy in mentoring other students, or teaching the class or presenting lessons and that type of thing.”

Sophomore Chloe Lewcock is one of many first-year staffers Scott has taken under her wing. When Lewcock joined newspaper, she felt like a fish out of water. But Scott immediately turned room 134 into a safe space where Lewcock was eager to learn and grow. 

“Going into newspaper was really nerve-racking, not knowing what I was going to walk into, but Alice made the process streamlined and stress-free and way more enjoyable than I thought it would be from the beginning,” Lewcock said. “She would always check in on my story progress and support me with whatever project we were working on. I have so much respect for her and what she does and the work she puts in to get our paper out.”

According to Winter, Scott’s commitment is what separates her from past editors-in-chief. When things aren’t going perfectly to plan, she finds a solution– even if it means stepping into uncharted territory.

I don’t think the paper would be where it is without Alice.

— sophomore Chloe Lewcock

“She’s a force of not accepting the status quo and trying to make things better than they were before,” Winter said. “In some ways, that’s disconcerting, because everything is not the way it used to be, and we have to make an adjustment. But I love that about her. It’s like, ‘Why settle for the way you’ve always done things when there’s a better way to do it, even if it’s hard?’”

If there’s one thing Scott believes in, it’s the power of the press. From breaking news stories to posts about campus squirrels, MacJournalism brings the school together. That’s why, in February, Scott organized an education campaign for Student Press Freedom Week. She visited history classes throughout the school to give a presentation on New Voices laws and censorship. 

“MacJournalism is for the people, it’s for the community,” Scott said. “Our goal is to share student success and share Austin’s success and share AISD’s success. Sometimes hard things happen and bad things happen, and we have to hold people in power accountable.”

Scott passes her dedication to journalism on to first-year staffers by teaching them that perseverance is key. From editing page designs until 2 a.m. to covering her body with “I love MacJ” temporary tattoos, Scott always gives 100%. For Lewcock, it’s hard to imagine The Shield without Scott.

Alice is going to bring change to the world because that’s what she already brings to the newspaper here.

— co-editor-in-chief Evie Barnard

“I don’t think the paper would be where it is without Alice,” Lewcock said. “Despite the challenges that we’ve faced this year, I think she has tapped into the importance of creating a well-designed and well-written paper to feed to our school. She is such an amazing leader whom I look up to so much, and she genuinely seems to care for the paper and wants it to succeed.”

For Scott, pushing boundaries is a lifestyle. Barnard is certain that in one way or another, Scott will change the world. After all, she has already changed The Shield.

“Alice is going to bring change to the world because that’s what she already brings to the newspaper here,” Barnard said. “She’s really talented at actually making things happen, and I think there’s always need for that in the world, no matter where you go, no matter whether or not she’s a journalist. There’s always going to be a need for change, and Alice has a special ability to make that happen.”