The national Journalism Education Association has recognized Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk’s founder and publisher, as a “Friend of Scholastic Journalism” — an award given to professional media outlets or journalists who have made a significant contribution in supporting the efforts of high school journalism programs.
Noozhawk was selected particularly for the resources and assistance it has provided for student journalists at Dos Pueblos High School’s now online-only school newspaper, The Charger Account, and the school’s broadcast news program, DP News. Macfadyen, who is one of five recipients being honored this year, will accept the award at JEA’s annual three-day National High School Journalism Convention in San Antonio in November.
Headquartered at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., the JEA is a scholastic journalism organization aimed at providing resources and training for high school journalism teachers and advisers. The largest organization of its kind, the JEA’s 2,500 members include teachers, professional journalists, media associations, libraries and publishing companies.
When The Charger Account made the switch last year to an all-digital news source from a monthly print newspaper, Macfadyen quickly arranged a partnership through which Noozhawk’s professional reporters and editors, and even sales representatives, mentored the campus publication’s editorial staff and collaborated on news content. The goal was to use Noozhawk’s journalistic philosophy and marketing strategies to support The Charger Account’s transition by sharing some of the methods Noozhawk relies on in its quest to provide quality local news.
“As soon as we learned The Charger Account was considering following our lead and going all-online, there was no question that we wanted to be involved,” Macfadyen said. “We felt that our own experience as a startup could help them navigate around some of the challenges we had encountered.
“It was such a privilege to watch that transformation firsthand, and we’re so proud of the students for the way they embraced the opportunity and then thrived. Our relationship with The Charger Account staff has been special to all of us at Noozhawk and we’re excited to see what Year Two brings.”
To nominate Macfadyen for the award, John Dent, who teaches broadcast and yearbook journalism at Dos Pueblos High, reached out to Assistant Principal Bill Woodard and Santa Barbara Unified School District trustee Susan Deacon to write letters of recommendation.
Dent said the partnership with Noozhawk has been a valuable learning experience for the students on the real-world application of the skills they are practicing. He said he greatly appreciates the work that Macfadyen has put into making it possible.
“In all my time working at Dos Pueblos, I have never seen a commitment by a community partner like Bill has given,” Dent said. “It takes a true visionary to see the value to give back to our school at such a dedicated level.
“Bill himself spent many hours on our campus, giving up his valuable time and sharing that of his employees’ to ensure that our students are prepared, and are getting a true real-world experience. This commitment has helped our program grow exponentially and create a valuable news source for our school and community, and build the skills of our students.”
Dent will be instructing two sessions at the Nov. 15-18 San Antonio convention, which brings together 4,000 high school journalists and hundreds of their advisers from across the country for three days of instructional workshops, keynote speakers and special events.
“Of course, I’m really excited for Noozhawk,” Macfadyen said of the national award. “But I think it’s terrific affirmation and recognition for The Charger Account and Dos Pueblos High School. We just played a supporting role in the success they earned on their own.”
Also being honored are the Sacramento Bee; William Dussling, Township High School District 214 board member, Arlington Heights, Ill.; Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio, Seattle; and Bob Malish, Canon USA, Dallas.
Deacon said she has enjoyed seeing The Charger Account grow into a premiere news source — not just for high school students but for the community, as well. She said the partnership with Noozhawk has proven to be extremely beneficial for the journalism program and has helped The Charger Account to fully embrace the new online format.
According to Woodard, the Noozhawk partnership is a great example of accomplishments that can be made when private companies partner with school districts to provide professional expertise.
“I can say that Bill’s enthusiasm for the students and their growth as journalists is a large part of our success,” Woodard said. “He gives us so much — advice, mentoring, expertise in online media, and the full resources and access to Noozhawk. All that and has never asked for anything in return.
“He’s a shining example of how a partnership with the private sector can be so powerful for our students. We are extremely grateful.”