Ka Leo o Na Koa first in state for Web site

Ka+Leo+o+Na+Koa+first+in+state+for+Web+site

Photo by Kelsie Chong

Amanda Lee accepts an award on behalf of Kamehameha Schools Maui on April 25, 2012, at the Hawai‘i Publishers Association High School Journalism Awards. The editors of Ka Leo o Na Koa accepted a total of seven awards, including the award for Best Web Site in the state.

By Kiana Kamalu, op-ed editor

Congratulations, reader! You are about to read an article from the best high school news Web site in the state of Hawai’i.*

*HONOLULU—Ka Leo O Nā Koa’s Web site was officially awarded as the best student-produced news site in the state at the Hawai‘i Publishers Association High School Journalism Awards on April 25, 2012, at the Pagoda Hotel.

“The site is top notch. One of the best I have seen for a high school,” wrote one of the judges on the category judging sheet.

Ka Leo O Nā Koa took home the awards for Best News Writing in the private school division and overall in the state, Best Online Video in the private school division, Best Multimedia Reporting for the private school division and overall for the state, and Best Web site in the private school division and overall in the state.

Hawai‘i Baptist Academy won first in the state for their print edition.

Ka Leo o Na Koa’s news co-editor Amanda Lee was also recognized as the paper’s Most Valuable Staffer, as voted on by her own newspaper’s staff.

“It was a group effort,” said adviser Ms. Kye Haina on their Best Web Site win. “Everyone had a hand in creating what the Web site is today, from writing articles, to taking photos, creating videos, and submitting ideas for the weekly poll.”

Twenty-three private and public schools from all over the state attended the awards banquet, including the school’s sister campuses, Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i and Kapālama.

The editors, Hōkū Krueger, Amanda Lee, Kalani Ruidas, Kelsie Chong, Nicole Ka‘auamo, Dylan Godsey and myself, attended the event with our adviser Ms. Haina.

“The overall experience was great,” said features co-editor Kelsie Chong. “It was something that I was looking forward to since the beginning of the year.”

Chong and co-editor Kalani Ruidas’ video about how the food services department makes lunch was the division award-winning entry for online video.

She was happy to leave with the awards they received, she said. Last year the bar was set really high when the journalism staff won first place overall in the state for the print newspaper, and she felt that the editors tried their best to meet it.

“I tried going into the awards ceremony neutral, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst,” Chong said. “But I guess you could say that I was not expecting to win so many categories pertaining to the online category, considering we put a lot of our heart and time into the print [product].”

Ms. Haina said that she was especially surprised since this was the first full year for the news site, and since the award category was new this year, no one knew what to expect.

“It’s really special that we won the first award ever given in this category in our first year of having an online program,” Ms. Haina said.

Lee was proud to accept the awards on behalf of the newspaper, including certificates, plaques and a $200 check.

Her print article on cheating and Web report on the Kamehameha Maui re-accreditation visit were the pieces that won the state awards for best news writing and best multimedia reporting

“The staff puts their all into everything they do for the paper, whether it is online or print, and these awards show us that we are producing material that meets and exceeds not only our standards, but the standards that the Hawai’i Publishers Association set for journalism in the state,” she said. “It is a great honor to be on the receiving end of these awards, and I am humbled and inspired by this experience.”

News co-editor Hōkū Krueger does not think next year’s staff should be underestimated.

“My advice to future editors is just to work hard and focus on the journalistic principles and everything else like awards and recognition will fall into place,” Krueger said.

Before the ceremony, the group of editors took a quick trip around Honolulu. They visited the streets of Chinatown and toured The Honolulu Star-Advertiser newsroom to get a little insight into real-life journalism.