Dakota Valley journalism program receives honorable award

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NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D (KCAU)- Journalists inside KCAU have a love and passion for providing Siouxland with information and sharing the stories from here, in our community. The next generation of journalists share the same interest and are learning how the industry operates firsthand.

A group of students involved in journalism at the Dakota Valley High School received a major award from the South Dakota High School Activity Association.

Anna Michaelson has been helping mold young journalists at Dakota Valley for the past 11 years.

“I tell my kids, if you like adjectives, you can’t be a reporter. So often they want to put their point of view on it and I say no, no, no. We are objective, we just tell the facts and let the people decide,” said Michaelson, the Language Arts and Speech Director at Dakota Valley.

Michaelson was a news reporter many years ago. She knows first hand what it takes to be a successful journalist.

“Finding out and celebrating success in the school district challenging things when they need to be challenged but in a non-biased objective way,” said Michaelson.

Her lessons and mentorship have paid off. For the first time, the journalism staff received the South Dakota State Journalism Sweepstakes Award, which is the highest point total of all state submissions.

“We won this with a staff of five producing a monthly newspaper and a yearbook,” said Michaelson.

It’s not just the writing aspects of journalism that set these students apart, but their skills in photojournalism that won them the honor.

“It’s nice to see that we won, like, an award like that, it’s pretty big and it feels good,” said Sean Power, a student involved in the journalism program.

Powers was one of the students involved in winning the award. He said this class has been a stepping stone in helping him decided to major in journalism after graduation.

“It’s a challenging industry now because, obviously, it feels more political, people disputing the facts, fake news, and its a lot more of a difficult industry,” said Powers.

Journalists have been challenged in recent months during protests, but there are still a group of young students eager to be part of the industry.

“Learning to write more factual, and so I’ll reach a lot about anything and then I’ll go and interview them, so that I have a background in what they will talk about,” said Megan Kurtz, a student involved in the journalism program at Dakota Valley.

“Despite all the controversy out there and the fact that journalists are getting attacked and some journalists aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing, it’s a really wonderful industry and I’m really excited that my students, despite all the controversy, want to get out there and tell stories, they want to get out there and meet people, they want to get out there to hold people accountable,” said Michaelson.

On Monday, the students that won the Journalism Sweepstakes Award will be recognized on a conference call, as well getting the opportunity to learn from professionals inside the journalism industry.


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