84 high schools to compete in journalism at Eastern

Stephanie White, Entertainment Editor

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For the 10th year in a row, the journalism department will host the Illinois High School Association state journalism competition in which 84 groups of high school students will participate Friday in Buzzard Hall.

Matt Torha, organizer of the journalism competition, is a member of the Illinois High School Association.

“We sponsor sports and activities for high schools in Illinois, about 40 sports and activities total with journalism falling under the activity role,” he said.  “We have about 800 schools that all have the ability to enter and compete in these different categories.”

Torha said the association holds sectional tournaments, and people who qualify are brought to the state finals to compete. It is set up in the same way a sport would be.

“There is more to actually compete in journalism than gymnastics or boys volleyball, he said. “We have good participation and we are in our 10th year; it has grown a little bit in those 10 years.”

James Tidwell, former journalism department chair who died last year, brought the competition to Eastern.

“This was sort of his idea; he was on the ground floor of it and sort of put it all together to get it to be on Eastern’s campus,” Torha said.

The competition is a one-day event and will start 10 a.m. Friday with an opening session, he said.  The first block will begin at 10:30 a.m.
“There are 18 total events that are broken up into nine events, and judging will go on throughout the day,” Torha said.

Between 3 to 3:30 p.m. everyone will met up in the Buzzard Lecture Hall to hear the announcement of the winners and pass out awards.

He said he and other people who are part of the conference team are thinking about changing the date of the competition so all high schools can come to the event.

“Unfortunately with our timing not everyone can make it because of previous engagements, like prom or senior awards at their schools, so they had to drop out last minute,” he said.  “We are sort of flirting with the idea maybe moving it up a few weeks to see if that might help with not having that much fall out.”


Stephanie White can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]