It’s time to plan for contests and convention

Exciting changes in OSMA’s state convention show we’ve been listening to you! The April 1 and 2, 2016, convention at Kent State University has additional Day-of Contests, more time slots for Friday sessions, a Swap Shop so you can REALLY share ideas and publications, plus a dynamic keynoter who started her career on her high school newsmagazine (see below) . We also have plenty of other ways to help you do a better job with your newspaper, newsmagazine, yearbook, broadcast or website so start planning now to join us.

Register NOW if you didn’t do so with your contest entries. And if you haven’t entered the contests, gather materials for 54  pre-entered individual contests and critiques and the overall newspaper, newsmagazine and website critiques. Be sure those are ready and in the OSMA office by the Jan. 29, 2016 deadline.


Rachel Dissell, Plain Dealer reporter (Allison Carey/The Plain Dealer)

Rachel Dissell, Plain Dealer reporter
(Allison Carey/The Plain Dealer)

Keynoter: Former high school journalist makes a difference

When Rachel Dissell was a student journalist at Lakewood High School in the mid ’90s, she won a National Scholastic Press Association Story of the Year Award for her reporting and writing. A Plain Dealer reporter since 2002, she continues to have an impact, writing about violence against women and children and other social justice issues.

Dissell will be OSMA keynote speaker at the Awards Banquet in the Student Center, 5:30 p.m., Friday, April 1. She’s written investigative pieces about Cleveland’s response to sexual assault, government corruption, teen dating violence and the juvenile justice system. Many of her stories have brought about changes in laws or police department policies, including a series of stories that led more than 50 Cleveland-area police departments to create uniform, sexual assault investigation guidelines. Her work with colleague Leila Atassi spurred statewide changes in how rape kits are tested and has led the reinvestigating of thousands of rape cases.

Dissell started writing for newspapers in high school and continued through her college career at Kent State University where she was Executive Editor of The Daily Kent Stater. Dissell also has taught Reporting Pubic Affairs as an adjunct professor at Kent State.

In addition to numerous state and local awards Dissell won the 2008 Dart Award for her nine-part series “Johanna: Facing Forward” which chronicled the life of Johanna Orozco, Cleveland teen who was raped and shot by her ex-boyfriend. The series was the basis of a stage play that opened in Cleveland in May 2015.

In 2010, Dissell was honored with End Violence Against Women International’s first ever Media Excellence award.

Dissell has helped train law enforcement, nurses, teachers, victim advocates and other journalists at conferences and seminars put on by the Dart Center, EVAWI, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Check out yearbook award-winners for 2014-2015 books

Ohio names its 2015 student journalist of the year, two honorable mentions

Ohio's 2015 Journalist of the Year Ivana Giang receives her award from OSMA vice president Kate Klonowski. (photo by John Bowen)

Ohio’s 2015 Journalist of the Year Ivana Giang receives her award from OSMA vice president Kate Klonowski. (photo by John Bowen)

Ivana Giang was named Ohio’s 2015 High School Journalist of the Year. The Lakota East senior, ranked  third in a class of 593, was editor-in-chief of the award-winning “Spark” news magazine for 2014-2015 and was last year’s Ohio representation to the Al Neuharth Free Spirit & Journalism Conference. Her digital portfolio has been submitted to the national Journalism Education Association competition.

Megan Ayscue and Samantha Piroska, both of R.B. Hayes High School, were both named honorable mention in the contest.

Advisers who are JEA members should watch for information about the contest in email soon. Portfolios will be due shortly after the start of second semester. Additional information is on the Journalism Education Association website.



Questions? Contact Candace cbowen@kent.edu