BY JOHN ETHEREDGE, NINA Board
A talented student-journalist at Huntley High School in northwest suburban Huntley has been selected as the winner in the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association’s annual High School Journalist of the Year scholarship competition.
A panel of NINA judges has chosen Alexandra Landman, editor of Huntley High School’s award-winning student news magazine The Voice, as the winner of a $1,000 scholarship.
NINA judges also selected Yuzhas Lauralyn Lin, a student-journalist at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora for a second place scholarship award of $500.
Landman plans to major in communications management this fall at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Over the past three years, she has served as sports writer, sports editor and editor-in-chief of The Voice.
In selecting Landman for the scholarship competition’s top award, NINA judges took note of the professional quality of her reporting and writing in the The Voice. Judges were especially impressed with Landman’s articles on measures taken at Huntley High School to prevent a mass shooting and a teacher’s harrowing story of being sexually assaulted as a college freshman.
One of the NINA judges assessed Landman’s reporting and writing abilities this way: “Alexandra Landman is an extraordinary writer, and The Voice is an extraordinary student publication.”
In recommending Landman for the NINA Scholarship, her adviser, Dennis Brown, noted that she has already won two statewide awards, one from the Illinois Women’s Press Association and a first place award for feature writing from the Illinois Journalism Education Association.
Brown said Landman’s work as an editor, a writer and a newsroom leader is impressive.
“She’s a hard worker, a responsible and reliable editor and a creative writer who is one of the top students I have on staff,” he said. “It takes a certain kind of student who can push others to excel and have them like and respect her at the same time. That’s Alex.”
Landman wrote about her experience at The Voice in an autobiographical essay submitted as part of her scholarship application.
“If my tenure (at The Voice) as staff writer, sports editor and editor-in-chief have taught me anything, it’s that everyone has a story and it is my responsibility to share it,” she wrote. “I’m not going to be just a voice. I am The Voice.”
In selecting Lin for a second-place scholarship award, NINA judges took note of her work as a writer and co-editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine, The Acronym.
David McGovern, a college and academic counselor at IMSA, said Lin has been recognized as one of the premiere writers in her class and noted that one of her teachers described her articles in The Acronym as a “pleasure to read…highly sophisticated and handle complex analysis with a really deft hand.”
NINA judges also praised Lin’s writing skills, including a light, humorous touch she showed in an article headlined, “A Mysterious Cult Gathering of the English Department.”
Reflecting on her three years on The Acronym’s staff, Lin said she has learned that journalism is ultimately about storytelling.
“I’ve found repeatedly that whenever we focus n telling the story of human beings, or making the central focus one of human interest, the story grow so much more completing and meaningful,” Lin wrote in her autobiographical essay.
Lin said she plans to double major in journalism and a social science with the ultimate career goal of one day writing for the New York Times.
In her autobiographical essay, Lin wrote, “Through being a journalist I hope to become a better human being and an even more romantic fatalist – and advocate for all humanity, for that little light which glows within each and every individual.”