JOY Contest Information


Marsha Kalkowski

Dear advisers – please share right away with your best and brightest…especially if they are in the midst of preparing their digital portfolios for the Journalist of the Year (JOY) contest.

Nebraska follows the national JOY standards – so your best bet is to read everything the national office explains.  The winner from Nebraska goes on to represent the rest of us at the national level.  There can only be ONE winner from each state.  Nebraska’s winner earns a $500 scholarship check and the Runner Up earns $250.  At the national level, the top winner earns $3000 and up to six Runner Ups earn $850 each.


Start here…

Then review the links on the right side of that screen.

The application link for Nebraska entrants is here:


(Do not use the actual national JEA link yet, until you are determined the Nebraska winner)

These five elements will be separate attachments and should be sent by the student to me at [email protected] as clearly labelled attachments. Please use the subject line: “JOY: student name”

Encourage the student to keep these attachments organized in one file for potential later use and submission at the national level.

  • The following must be attached to the online application:
    1. Official high school transcript or a counselor’s statement including journalism classes taken, grades and current GPA. Student should be a high school senior and should have an overall GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    2. Action photo of applicant involved in some aspect of student media, and an extended caption written for that photo. If there is more than one dominant subject in the photo, please use location of candidate (left, right, etc.).
    3. Three letters of recommendation from those who know the applicant well and understand the impact of the journalistic experience on the student’s life (no letter should exceed two pages in length).
    4. Personal résumé.
    5. Self-analytical essay: Students should write with passion and make an impact on the judges because this essay functions as the applicant’s one-on-one interview with the judges. Essay should not exceed two pages in length.

Thanks for sharing this information.

Any questions about his process in Nebraska should be directed to me…but please use JOY: in the subject line so that I may prioritize my response.


Good luck!