KEMPA Journalism

KEMPA Journalism

KEMPA Journalism

Board of Directors

Linda Barrington, MJE
Executive Director
Awards Committee
Individual Contests

[email protected]

School:  Mount Mary University, Milwaukee, Wis.

Number of years advising: 14 at Mount Mary and 17 at Wauwatosa East High School

Brief Description of your program: Our program is a blend of a class and extracurricular activity. Students can take the class for 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits. We publish two feature magazines a semester and are online at since 2012. In general, about 15 students work on the newspaper staff, with 5-6 of those students taking on important editing/leadership positions. I’m proud of my students who win national, regional and state awards every year. Their website was named a Pacemaker last year.

Best Advice:  Stay organized.  Use a file-sharing website, like Google Docs, or my personal favorite, Basecamp.  Examples, policies, deadlines, teaching tools—everything should be accessible. Ask students to add their favorite designs, leads, photos, etc.

Social Media Accounts: We’re on Twitter @ArchesNews  and on Instagram @archesmmu and on Facebook at Archesnews


Laura Bengs
Ambassador Committee

[email protected]

School: Pewaukee High School, Pewaukee, Wis.

Number of years advising: 8 years


Michelle Corbett
Individual Contests chair

[email protected]

School Name, City and State: Indian Trail High School & Academy, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Number of years advising: 6

Brief Description of your program: Yearbook (The Blaze), 1 section with 24 staffers – We create a 224 page yearbook with a May delivery. Students may take multiple years of the course for elective credit.

Digital Publications: Intro to Yearbook – This class is offered to freshmen and sophomores. The students move onto the yearbook staff once they have successfully completed the course. This course may only be taken once.

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned: I’ve learned to let go of some control (I’m a bit type A) and stay out the kids’ way. I’ve trained them, taught them and then let them take the reins in creating the book. This has allowed them to create a better product and become better student journalists. I’m there to support and guide them when needed, but overall I have learned that this allows them to grow and find a true sense of accomplishment. It is truly their publication.

Social Media Accounts:

Facebook: /theBlazeITHSA

Instagram: @theBlazeITHSA

Twitter: @theBlazeITHSA

Snapchat: @theBlaze ITHSA



David Gwizdala
Website Committee
Scholarship Committee
Awards Committee

[email protected]

Conant High School; Hoffman Estates, IL

Number of years advising: 12

Brief Description of your program: Our program is an extracurricular activity. We published a monthly print newspaper for decades but have been online-only at since 2014. In general, about 25 students work on the newspaper staff, with 10-12 of those students taking on important editing/leadership positions.

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned: Especially with an online-only newspaper club—where it can be easy for much of the work to be done via email and the Internet—it is so important for staff members to have consistent opportunities to bond, such as working the concession stand at a basketball game, attending staff holiday parties, or meeting at a restaurant to complete a group review for the website.

Social Media Accounts: We’re on Twitter and Snapchat @ConantCrier and on Instagram @Humans.of.Conant


Bob Kay
Membership Vice-President
Scholarship Committee chair
Awards Committee
[email protected]

School Name, City and State: Grayslake Central H.S.(retired)

Number of years advising: Did newspaper for 20 years and yearbook for 4 before retirement

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned: Meet your deadlines, work as a team, and always work with the highest ethical standards of objectivity and fairness


Beth Marshall
Fall Conference co-director
Individual Contests Committee
Awards Committee chair
Ambassador Committee chair
bmarsha[email protected]

School Name, City and State: Richmond-Burton Community High School, Richmond, IL

Number of years advising: 6 years advising Yearbook, 2 years advising online news site (trying to converge the program- RB Publications)

Brief Description of your program: I have one section of Journalism that is considered an English elective offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students can repeat the class and earn honors credit for Editor positions. This year I have a staff of 13 students.  We produce a 208 page yearbook and try to create monthly content online.

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned: Don’t be afraid to connect with other advisers. Networking in the best thing you can do for yourself and your program.

Social Media Accounts: Instagram: rocket_review, Snapchat: rocketreview


Danielle Olejniczak
Individual Contests Committee
Fall Conference co-director
[email protected]

Laconia High School, Rosendale, WI

Number of years advising: 8

Brief Description of your program: We have just one year-long class called Publications and Yearbook. We publish the Laconian yearbook of 112 pages delivered at the end of May, covering events from spring of the year before to winter of the current school year. The staff also assemble 10 editions of a hard copy community newspaper. The Spartan Sentinel, that features adult-submitted photos and articles published using InDesign. We are starting a weekly broadcast organization this year through the same Publications class that will start with weekly announcements but may eventually branch out. Name TBD. The staff is usually between 10 and 18 students and the student body of our school is a little more than 300.

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned:  Don’t touch a mouse. Ever. It’s so hard when you’re not sure what you’re a new adviser to let the students still lead. Do what you can to set up a structure or organization and then teach students to teach other students. This will free you to work with editors or staff to help them develop content and skills. Even when it’s difficult things like working with administration, try to help students grow as leaders and advocates.


Matthew Smith, CJE
[email protected]

Fond du Lac High School; Fond du Lac, WI

Number of years advising: 9 years advising print and broadcast; 1 year advising yearbook

Brief Description of your program: The Cardinal Columns is a student newsmagazine published at least 4 times each year through classes. The staff is made up of students enrolled in Print Journalism 1, Print Journalism 2 and Print Journalism 3 (when third-year students exist). A total of 20-30 students are usually on staff any given year. Cardinal TV is a student broadcast news program produced once per week for airing throughout the school televisions as well as on YouTube. The staff is made up of students enrolled in Broadcast Journalism 1, Broadcast Journalism 2 and sometimes Broadcast Journalism 3. A total of 40-50 students are usually on staff any given year. Both Print Journalism 1 and Broadcast Journalism 1 are available for college credit though CAPP at the University of Oshkosh. The Cardinal Yearbook produces a yearbook of approximately 236 pages delivered to the student body on the last day of school each year. It is an extracurricular club and generally has a staff of about 20 students.

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned:  Push high standards. Look at the best, most interesting and most powerful examples possible. Then make your students do all the work. And, when they fail to produce good results or complain or get lazy, continue pushing the standards. The mindsets that produce excellence are forming under the surface whether you can see it right away or not, and it’s the knowledge, confidence and experiences your students end up taking away from their time on the publication that matters most.


Laura Streyle
Winter Seminar committee
Ambassador Committee
[email protected]

Stoughton High School, Stoughton, Wisc.

Number of years advising: 6

Brief Description of your program: The school news magazine, The Norse Star, is co-curricular, which means that it is treated like a band class or an orchestra class in the relationship between in-class and out-of-class requirements, though it is housed in the Language Arts Department. The student staff size varies, but it hovers around 20 students. Stoughton High School also has an introductory course that is a prerequisite for applying to be on the news magazine and is recommended before joining the yearbook. The yearbook is transitioning to the art department next year. Stoughton High School does not have prior review, and this is a freedom that students continue to strive to use with journalistic ethics in mind. I walked into a well-established program built by courageous and dedicated advisers.

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned:  Utilize the Student Press Law Center and teach students how to use it if needed; strive to ask about the “why” behind each story to help kids work towards being a representative of the entire school and a conduit between the powers that be and the students and community. I am so grateful for the guidance I have received through the mentorship program and through all of KEMPA’s programming…it has been incredibly helpful to reach out and ask, discuss, and problem solve with people who are passionate, experienced, and who are all about helping students drive their communities to being better at civil discourse while shining a light on who their students, staff, and communities are.


Patrick Touhey
Scholarship Committtee

[email protected]

McFarland High School, McFarland, WI

April van Buren, MJE
Winter Advisers Seminar chair
Individual Contests committee
[email protected]

Madison East High School; Madison, WI

Number of years advising: 15-17 years, give or take

Brief Description of your program: I’m in my second year at a new-to-me school, advising the Tower Tales yearbook and Tower TV, a monthly 20 min. school video show. I also teach Intro. Video, Graphic Design, Web Design and a tech sampler class called Bits & Bytes. East is a school of about 1,600 students.

Social Media Accounts: @ehstowermedia on Instagram, Tower Media on YouTube, or our new website:







Keith Zukas, Ph.D
Summer Journalism Workshop director
Scholarship Committee

[email protected] 

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin

Number of years advising: 4 years

Brief Description of your program: Royal Purple newspaper/website, 25 student staff members

Best Advice or Hardest Lesson Learned: Meeting deadlines with composure makes everything run smoothly.

Social Media Accounts: