Ka Leo O Nā Koa brings back Best in State Award


Editors Reid Cairme, Maya Nitta and Mehana Lee, hold their awards at the Honolulu Airport after the Hawaiʻi Publishers Association High School Journalism Awards on April 24, 2013.

Mehana Lee

By Maya Nitta, features editor

Each year the staff of Ka Leo O Nā Koa competes in the Hawaiʻi Publishers Association High School Journalism Awards. This year Ka Leo O Nā Koa not only repeated last year’s win as the overall best program in the online division, but also took back the overall first place award in the print division, which they won in 2011.

The overall awards in the two divisions, online and print, are decided by adding up the points each school received for all submissions within the divisions. Schools may enter only once per category, which include areas such as news writing, feature writing, editorial writing, editorial cartoon, and layout and design.

The awards luncheon, was held at the Pagoda Hotel on Honolulu, Oʻahu, on April 25, 2013, where winners were announced in a room of about one hundred journalism students and their advisers.

The Ka Leo O Nā Koa staff received the coveted koa wood perpetual plaque that comes with winning the Best Student Newspaper in the State.

“I know how much hard work that is; and I know how hard they have worked. Winning these awards is like winning a state championship game and they all deserve every one,” said Nicole Kaʻauamo (’12) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Kaʻauamo is a former sports co-editor who was on the winning 2011 staff.

Under the Private School Division, Ka Leo o Nā Koa received Best News Writing, Best Feature Writing, Best Photography and Best Layout and Design for their print issue.

For their online Web Site, they also took home Best Multimedia Reporting, Best Online Reporting and Best Online Video.

The state level awards were then decided. The winner was chosen from between the first place winners of the public and private school divisions. In order to compete in the state division the contestants must have won in their division.

In the state online division, Ka Leo O Nā Koa received first place for Best Online Reporting and Best Multimedia Presentation.

In the state print division they took Best News Writing, Best Feature Writing, Best Photography and Best Layout and Design.

In all, the staff earned seven division level awards, six state level awards, and two overall titles.

At the start of the awards ceremony, I was recognized with a certificate and announcement as Most Valuable Staffer, as chosen by our staff.

I was also honored to win a first place state award for layout and design and a private school division award in the online video category. This was the second time that I’ve received an HPA award, having won for news writing in 2011.

“I was shocked, so shocked that I couldn’t say a word,” said senior Reid Cairme, sports editor.

Cairme’s news story “Cyberbullying  and Digital Branding” won the best news writing state award this year.

Notes in the scoring sheets say “This well written news story has substance and depth. It combines survey data with personal anecdotes that enliven the issue of cyberbullying, both from the FBI and student perspectives.”

Senior Mehana Lee, the news editor also said she was shocked to hear the winning announcements. She wrote a feature about kalo and the work Mr. Wili Wood put into restoring a loʻi kalo. This feature received Best Feature Writing in the State.

“I went the HPA with no expectation of winning anything. After it was announced it felt good to be recognized for my hard work. It was close to my heart, and I was passionate about it,” she said.

All three editors worked together to create the winning multimedia package that touched upon energy drinks and the dangers of caffeine. Cairme was the story’s photographer, Lee wrote the story, and I created the graphics and video (with Lee as anchor).

Also adding their writing to the winners was Shayna Ho a staff writer, whose coverage of Red Friday received Best Online Reporting in the State.

Journalism adviser, Ms. Kye Haina, said that the multiple wins this year were “unbelievable” and that she was surprised and overwhelmed.