Celebrating a Century of Scholastic Journalism Education

JEA Centennial

Celebrating a Century of Scholastic Journalism Education

JEA Centennial

Celebrating a Century of Scholastic Journalism Education

JEA Centennial

Our 100 lists of 100: Florida

Photo by Denys Kostyuchenko / Unsplash

There are a lot of bright spots the Sunshine State provides in today’s list.

Our 100 lists of 100

The Florida Scholastic Press Association
We’re not quite to 100 years like JEA, but FSPA is now in its 77th year of supporting student journalists and advisers – and there’s much to love about our state organization
1. Perfect convention weather every April, but a pool we’re not allowed to swim in because of school safety rules
2. A Wawa convenience store in the hotel parking lot (nothing like a post-banquet second dinner hoagie)
3. Our seven districts, each with their own unique personality (D1 Western Panhandle; D2 North Central Florida; D3 Central Florida, Orlando and the Space Coast; D4 Tampa Bay area; D5 Southwest Florida; D6 Miami and the Keys; and D7, which grew out of D6 decades ago as Fort Lauderdale exploded in population
4. Fall and Spring Digital Contests with close to 4,000 total entries in the past year and some mainstay categories our programs love such as the annual recipe challenge and nature photography, a category that has spawned multiple spinoffs due to its popularity
5. On the Spot contests at convention that send hundreds of students scurrying all over the hotel grounds to showcase their storytelling abilities, including an FSPA favorite, Pardon the Interruption, a sports debate competition inspired by the ESPN show
6. The amazing middle school journalists who sometimes win the Best of the Best awards against their older counterparts
7. The bacon at the adviser’s breakfast … there’s just something magical about it
8. The post-banquet dance, 2.5 electric hours that one must see to believe

Great journalism educators, as exemplified by these national award winning teachers
9. Omar Delgado, the 2022 Student Television Network Teacher of the Year (also the 2021 Florida winner for the list below)
10. Melissa Falkowski of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the 2019 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year (also the 2020 Florida winner for the list below)
11. Alyce Culpepper of Plantation High School, the 1986 National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year
12. Renee Burke of Boone High School in Orlando, the 2015 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year
13. Julie Dodd of the University of Florida, FSPA’s former executive director and winner of the 2001 Carl Towley Award, JEA’s highest honor

… and our FSPA Journalism Teachers of the Year, including the most recent winners
14. Andrew Shipe of Pompano Beach High School (2023)
15. Gabriela de Francisco of Miami Sunset High School (2022)
16. Susan McNulty of J.W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey (2019)
17. Kevin Patterson of Oviedo High School (2018)
18. Brit Taylor of Hagerty High School in Oviedo (2017)

Great student journalists, represented here by the past three Florida Student Journalists of the Year
19. Julia Landy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, who also won Designer of the Year in the list below (2023)
20. Asher Montgomery of Hillsborough High School in Tampa (2022)
21. Catherine McCarthy of Boone High School in Orlando (2021)

…and the most recent (2023) crop of winners of what we affectionately call the “Baby JOYs,” recognizing excellence in a specific area
22. Artist of the Year Isabella Objio of MAS at Zelda Glazer High School in Miami
23. Broadcast Journalist of the Year Juan Carlos Chaoui of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami
24. Multimedia/Web Journalist of the Year Dylan Dam of Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach
25. Sports Journalist of the Year Lucas Delgado of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami
26. Photojournalist of the Year Madalen Erez of Coral Springs Charter School
27. Writer of the Year Alyson Mizanin of Pine View School in Osprey

Great outlets for young journalists to grow
28. The University of Florida and the University of Miami both host long-established summer programs that provide students hands-on experience and a taste of college; and multiple yearbook companies love to welcome campers to the Sunshine State for a chance to prepare for the year ahead
29. Those universities – and others across the state – then take training to the next level for our future journalists, under the leadership of some incredible professors and instructors and at student-led newspapers, news stations and more

Incredible supporters
We won’t name our in-state Gold Medallion winners because that could be a top 100 all by itself, but we tip our hat to them as we recognize those honored with JEA’s Friends of Scholastic Journalism Award through the years.
30. Elizabeth Brown, a 2021 recipient from Hillsborough County Public Schools
31. Ernest Hooper, a 2017 recipient from the Tampa Bay Times
32. Wendy Wallace, who was honored at 2015 in Orlando, for her support as part of the The Poynter Institute; along with Paul Pohlman honored in 2004 and the Institute itself back in 1990
33. John Cutsinger, a yearbook guru who was recognized in 2009
34. Missy Green, another yearbook pro who was honored in 2008
35. Randy Miller of the University of South Florida, a 2008 winner
36. The Emerald Coast Public Relations organization, 2004 winners
37. Jeff Newell of the Northwest Florida Daily News, a 2001 Friend
38. Diane McFarlin, honored in 1993 along with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
39. Rene Gunter, a 1992 honoree from The Tampa Tribune
40. The Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel, a 1990 winner

Incredible administrators
We’ve been fortunate to have two JEA Administrators of the Year from Florida, and we thank them and like-minded leaders for having the backs of their student journalists.
41. Gary Brady, the 2020 winner, a regional superintendent for Hillsborough County Public Schools
42. Richard Bounds of Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, who was recognized in 2001

NSPA Hall of Fame programs
We’re proud to be home to some great journalism programs, and these have achieved All-American ratings in 10 of 11 years from our friends at the National Scholastic Press Association. We’re proud to know more are on their way to joining this prestigious club.
43. highlights, Coral Gables Senior High School (inducted 1993)
44. Salmagundi, Seminole High School, Sanford (inducted 2001)
45. Arrowhead, Vero Beach High School (inducted 2002)
46. Paw Street Journal, Dr. Phillips High School, Orlando (inducted 2002)
47. The Panther, Miami Palmetto Senior High School (inducted 2002)
48. Chrysomallus, Lake Mary High School (inducted 2004)
49. Aftermath, Palm Harbor University High School (inducted 2009)
50. The Stampede, J.W. Mitchell High School, New Port Richey (inducted 2022)
51. Fusion, Hagerty High School, Oviedo (inducted 2022)

Pulitzer Prize-winning work by Florida journalists
Florida is a great news state and the pros continue to do impactful work that inspires our students and improves their communities. There are too many recent ones to even list, but here are a handful:
52. Tampa Bay Times, 2021 Local Reporting prize for an investigation into practices of a local sheriff
53. Sun-Sentinel, 2019 Public Service prize for their reporting on the causes and impacts of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
54. Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Tampa Bay Times, 2016 Investigative Reporting for their look at escalating violence and neglect in Florida mental hospitals
55. Tampa Bay Times 2016 Local Reporting for the “Failure Factories” series on struggling local schools
56. Sun Newspapers 2016 Editorial Writing for “fierce, indignant editorials demanding truth and change after the deadly assault of an inmate by a corrections officer”

Other Florida stories that made news through the years
57. The only reason any of us live here is because Dr. John Gorrie of the Panhandle town Apalachicola came up with plans for a little invention called air conditioning in 1851
58. The opening of the Walt Disney World resort in 1971 forever reshaped the state’s economy and Central Florida’s in particular
59. The 2000 election debacle, which ended with a 537-vote margin of victory for President George W. Bush
60. The Space Coast made Florida the gateway to the galaxy starting in the 1950s
61. Immigration, especially from the Caribbean and Latin America, continues to transform the demographics and politics of the state
62. Hurricane Andrew devistates South Florida in 1992
63. Sadly, two of the largest mass shootings in history, the Pulse nightclub in 2016 and 2018’s at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, both of which led to significant movements to reshape public policy. The Stoneman Douglas tragedy is of special interest because of the heroic work done by the student journalists at that school.

Nationally known journalists who graduated high school in Florida
64. Yamiche Alcindor is a Washington correspondent for NBC News who attended Fort Lauderdale High School.
65. Erin Andrews went to Bloomingdale High School in Valrico before becoming a famous sports reporter and host.
66. Marty Baron attended Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa; he was executive editor of The Boston Globe as portrayed in the movie “Spotlight.”
67. Gio Benitez of ABC News went to Miami Coral Park High School.
68. Tiffany Greene, an ESPN commentator, went to Hillsborough High School in Tampa.
69. Israel Gutierrez, an ESPN sports personality, got his start at North Miami Senior High School.
70. Carl Hiassen, a journalist and novelist, went to Plantation High School in South Florida..
71. Alex Hogan, a London-based correspondent for Fox News, attended American Heritage High School in South Florida.
72. Kayleigh McEnany, a former press secretary to President Donald Trump and now a Fox News commentator, attended Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa.
73. Victor Oquendo, an ABC News correspondent, attended Ransom Everglades High School in Miami.
74. Maggie Rodriguez, formerly of The Early Show on CBS, went to Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Miami.
75. Kerry Sanders, a retired NBC correspondent, graduated from Oak Ridge High School in Orlando
76. Sara Sidnor of CNN went to Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School
77. Todd C. Smith, the namesake of our state student journalist of the year award, attended high school in Tallahassee; he was killed at age 28 while pursuing a story in Peru
78. Andy Staples, a nationally known college football writer, went to Lake Mary High School
79. Tim Tebow was a Nease High School quarterback in Ponte Vedra Beach before he became a sports commentator
80. Chuck Todd, political director for NBC News, went to Miami Killian Senior High School.

Other media names with ties to Florida
81. Dave Barry is a humorist best known for his work at The Miami Herald
82. Jose Diaz-Balart anchors the Saturday NBC Nightly News and hosts a program on MSNBC and previously hosted programs for Telemundo
83. Ernest Hemingway, a journalist turned novelist, is a Key West icon
84. Al Neuharth, who founded USA Today, lived in Cocoa Beach
85. Nelson Poynter was a longtime editor and executive at the St. Petersburg Times; The Poynter Institute is named in his honor
86. Hunter S. Thompson got an early taste of journalism while covering sports for the Eglin Air Force base newsletter
87. Eric Deggans, NPR’s media critic, lives in St. Petersburg and is a longtime friend to scholastic journalism
88. Edna Buchanan was a Pulitzer-winning crime reporter for The Miami Herald who went on to write crime novels and the non-fiction “The Corpse Had a Familiar Face”.
89. Lucy Morgan, also a Pulitzer winner, was loved and feared at the state Capitol and beyond for her work holding lawmakers and others accountable as a St. Petersburg Times journalist

Foods worth writing or singing about
90. Fresh squeezed orange juice, with or without the pulp
91. The Cuban sandwich, and the eternal debate over whether it was born in Tampa or Miami
92. Stone crab, a gift that keeps on giving
93. Key Lime Pie, a tart treat
94. A Cheeseburger in Paradise, with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
95. Gator tail, if you dare
96. Pub Subs … y’all don’t know what you’re missing

A few more things that make Florida awesome
97. The natural beauty of the state, with some of the best beaches in the world and the epic sunrises and sunsets that come with them; the Everglades; freshwater springs and more.
98. Wild weather, from afternoon thunderstorms to hurricanes, and the way local news is all over it
99. The Sunshine Law, a series of open records and open meetings laws that make Florida a great place to do journalism, despite continued erosion of these protections by state lawmakers

And finally…
100. The Florida Man, the king of summary leads and brief package headlines, whose cameos include throwing an alligator through a drive-thru window, stuffing a chainsaw down his pants or parking a car in his kitchen to keep it safe from an approaching hurricane

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