Ka Moi reporters earn two national awards


Ka Moi Staff

Competing against the top high school journalists at the Fall National High School Journalism Convention, seniors Colt Almodova and Sarah Santos received Superiorawards in the write-off competition.  The competition was held at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Nov. 2.

In the Broadcast Anchorcompetition, Almodova dazzled the judges with his story about college recruiters using unique methods to lure prospective students to their media booths at the national convention.  Almodova featured Arizona State University’s (ASU) Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication which used a “donut” board to attract potential students.  By following ASU on Instagram, visitors received a donut.

“I already had a connection to ASU because that’s the school that I visited and hope to attend.  The fact that they used donuts to entice students was very creative, and I wanted my story to have a fresh, creative angle,” Almodova said.

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communicationstouts itself as being the most innovative journalism school in America, and with their donut board Almodova’s story came to life.  According to Almodova, judges jokingly asked for donuts after his live broadcast which was required to be 60 seconds (plus or minus 3 seconds).  This was Ka Mo’i’s first-ever entry in this event.

Adviser Lionel Barona said, “We are blessed to have Colt’s broadcasting talent in Ka Mo’i this year.  He allows us to incorporate more video packaging into our stories.  I knew that with the right story angle he could nail his story.  And he did.”

Also nailing her story was senior Sarah Santos who earned a Superior in the Newswriting category.  After attending a press conference and scrutinizing a fact sheet, Santos was tasked with writing a news story about a newly formed Chicago anti-violence group called “Cure Violence.” Santos was given 90 minutes to complete her story.

“I finished a little early, and I was concerned about the quality of my story because everything seemed to flow easily,” Santos said after turning in her story.  Santos attributed the regular reading of news stories and her “love for reading,” in general, as the possible reason for her success. According to Santos, writing for AP English also gave extra preparation for her event.

“The news writing competition remains the ‘grand-daddy’ of all events,” Barona said.  “In a time when fake news continues to flourish, judges look for quality reporting and writing.  Accuracy is most important, and that happens to be one of Sarah’s greatest strengths as a reporter,” Barona added.

Barona, a publications adviser for over 30 years, said that Ka Mo’i has received only one previous Superior in the national write-offs.  “Our students are competing against the best of the best high school journalists.  To receive two of the highest national awards is an incredible accomplishment,” Barona said.

For each competition, a panel of judges reads all entries, separating potential winners from other entries.  Entries are then re-read by another panel of judges who then award entries with a superior, excellent, honorable mention rating, or no rating at all.  For this year’s convention, over 2000 students entered the write-off competition.

In addition to Almodova and Santos, Emma Cornelison, Keanu Rowe, and Taylor Cozloff represented Ka Moiwhile  Ka na’i Aupuni’s Harley Kiko-Wolfe, Makana Ka na’i Aupuni, and Saige Ranon also attended the Chicago convention along with 5,000 other U.S. and international delegates.  Besides the write-offs, delegates also attended workshops, press conferences, and media tours.