About Us

Mission Statement

The National Scholastic Press Association, based and incorporated in Minnesota as a non-profit educational association, provides journalism education services to students, teachers, media advisers and others throughout the United States and in other countries. NSPA has three divisions. Memberships for middle school, junior high school and high school student media are organized under the National Scholastic Press Association division of NSPA. Memberships for college, university and professional and technical school student media are organized under the Associated Collegiate Press division of NSPA. Middle school, junior high school and high school student media in Minnesota are organized under the Minnesota High School Press Association division of NSPA. Memberships are open to all student media at public and private schools at an annual membership fee.

Each division of NSPA provides journalism education training programs, publishes journalism education materials, provides media critique and recognition programs for members, provides information on developments in journalism and student media and provides a forum for members to communicate with others and share their work. Through these activities, NSPA and its divisions promote the standards and ethics of good journalism as accepted and practiced by print, broadcast and electronic media in the United States. NSPA and its divisions also endorse and advocate free expression rights for student media.

NSPA and its divisions cooperate with other student media associations and other non-student groups and businesses that share its mission to educate and recognize the work of student journalists, to improve the quality of student media and to foster careers in media.

(adopted 3-30-06)

Mailing Address

2221 University Ave SE, Suite 121
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Phone: 612-625-8335

Fax: 612-605-0072

The Staff

Diana Mitsu Klos
Executive Director

Laura Widmer
Associate Director

Sarah Cavanah
Associate Director

Jackie Flaum

Ashley Tilley
Administrative Assistant

Kirsten Chang
Contest & Critique Coordinator

Amber Billings
Digital & Design Coordinator

Ann Visser
NSPA/MHSPA Consultant

Julia Bauer
Student Office Assistant

Board Members
Albert R. Tims, Ph. D., President

Al Tims Albert R. Tims, Ph.D., is the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Minnesota. He received his M.A. in Journalism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and then received a Ph.D. in mass communication at Madison as well. Tims became the interim director in 1997 and the permanent director a year later.[3] Tims' academic focuses are theory and methodology, public opinion and political communication and media socialization. Publications include:
  • The Cultivation of Consumer Confidence: A Longitudinal Analysis of News Media Influence on Consumer Sentiment: Tims, Albert, Advances in Consumer Research, 1989.
  • The Impact of the News Media on Public Opinion: American Presidential Election 1987-88: Tims, Albert, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 1989.
  • The impact of negative political appeals on voting intent: Tims, Albert, Faber, R., Tims, A.R. & Schmitt, K., Journal of Advertising, 1994.
Committee: Executive (chair)
Christopher J. Ison, Treasurer

Chris Ison Chris Ison was the assistant managing editor for investigative projects at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis from 2001-2004. He was a reporter on the Star Tribune's investigative team, and also covered federal agencies, casinos, and local government. He also covered state politics, local government, police, and courts for the Duluth News Tribune from 1983-1986. Ison and fellow reporter Lou Kilzer won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 1990 for a series of stories on arson and links between the St. Paul (Minn.) Fire Department and profits from arsons and suspicious fires. His stories have won various national and state awards, including awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the National Press Club, the Associated Press and other organizations. He supervised projects that won national awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists. Ison teaches courses in news reporting and writing, investigative reporting, and media ethics.
Jeanne Acton

Jeanne Acton Acton started at the University Interscholastic League, one of the largest scholastic press programs in the nation, in 2004. In addition to UIL journalism director, she is director of the Interscholastic League Press Conference, which sponsors yearbook, broadcast, and print and online newspaper competitions for Texas middle and high schools.

Acton started her journalism career as a sophomore in high school when she heard the Journalism I class was a blow-off. It was not. She loved the work and stayed for the next three years, working her way up to editor-in-chief of the Duncanville High School newspaper, Panther Prints.

After high school, Acton earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. During her undergraduate studies, Acton worked for the Daily Texan, the UT student newspaper. She started as a designer and reporter and finished her four-year stint as the managing editor.

After a short run at a community newspaper and a few internships, Jeanne started teaching journalism. During her decade of teaching, she advised newspaper, broadcast, and yearbook programs and coached softball at Lyndon Baines Johnson High School in Austin, Texas. As the newspaper adviser, her students won top awards at both the state and national level.

After a decade in the classroom, Acton was an assistant principal for three years.

These days, when Acton isn’t in the classroom as part of her UIL leadership role, she continues to teach writing and still practices the trade on a regular basis. She both freelances and keeps a semi-regular blog.

Peter Bobkowski

Peter Bobkowski Peter Bobkowski joined the KU faculty in fall 2011 after a postdoctoral research assistantship at the Carolina Population Center. His research focuses on individuals’ motivations to consume and produce social media content, and on the effects of such engagement for identity and wellbeing.

As a former high school teacher, Bobkowski is active in scholastic journalism research and service. In 2011, he and researchers from the Center for Scholastic Journalism conducted a census of scholastic media in the United States. He sits on the Board of Directors of the National Scholastic Press Association. He is past secretary of the Scholastic Journalism Division in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Bobkowski teaches Infomania: Information Management, a first-year seminar on media, health and youth, and research methods for marketing professionals.

He has a B.A. from the University of Alberta (1999), M.A. from the University of Houston (2006) and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2010).

Honors include:

  • Gold Key, Columbia Scholastic Press Association, 2012
  • Outstanding Graduating Ph.D. Student, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010
  • Promising Professor (Second Place), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, 2014
Laura York Guy

Laura York Guy Laura York Guy is a humanities instructor and student media adviser at Garden City Community College in Kansas. She has 20 years of experience advising the student media staffs (GC3media – which includes newspaper, magazine, online and video) and teaching journalism classes at a two-year community college in Garden City, a town located in southwest Kansas. Because of the school’s profile and location, she brings extensive experience working with traditionally underserved student populations. Southwest Kansas has a significant Latino population and the student body is approximately 32 percent students of color. Guy has been active in college media advising networks, both on the state and national level. She served for seven years on the board of directors of College Media Advisers and more than 18 years as an officer for Kansas Collegiate Media. She holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from St. Mary of the Plains College, where she was on the newspaper staff, and a M.S. in Communication from Fort Hays State University.

Laurie Hansen

Laurie Hansen Laurie Hansen, a certified journalism educator, has advised the Kabekonian yearbook and Stylus creative arts magazine at Stillwater (Minn.) Area High School for 25 years. She also advised the Pony Express newspaper for ten years. She has fought battles over censorship and lived to tell the tale.

Her staff’s publications have won state and national NSPA Pacemaker and Best of Show awards as well as Crown awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Hansen teaches Journalism and English 12.

Hansen serves as the Minnesota state director for Journalism Education Association, president of Journalism Educators of Minnesota and served as the co-chair of the 2011 JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention that was held in Minneapolis. Hansen is an NSPA Pioneer and a past Journalism Educator of the year.

She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, and master’s degree from St. Cloud (Minn.) State University.

Hansen also freelances, and her latest piece was a first person account of her latest trip to Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet, which included a hike to the North Face Everest Base Camp.

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson Ron Johnson is director of student media at Indiana University, Bloomington, students produce the Indiana Daily Student daily newspaper, Arbutus yearbook and Inside magazine.

The publications, their sites and social media serve thousands of readers, and their student journalists earn top national honors.

Johnson is past president of three journalism associations — the national College Media Advisers and the Western Association of University Publications Managers, as well as Kansas Associated Collegiate Press. CMA named him to its adviser hall of fame in 2012.

He is a former board member of the Student Press Law Center, in Washington, D.C., and remains on its advisory board.

Before coming to IU in 2008, Johnson taught editing, design and visual journalism at Kansas State University for 19 years. For 15 of those years, he directed student publications and advised the students who produced the award-winning Kansas State Collegian daily newspaper.

He is a 1981 graduate of Fort Hays State University (Kan.), where he edited both the newspaper and yearbook. In 1982 he earned a master’s in journalism at the University of Kansas. In 1985, after teaching high-school English and writing for the Wichita Eagle-Beacon (Kan.), he returned to Fort Hays to direct the journalism program and advise its publications.

When the U.S. Supreme Court trimmed the press rights of public high-school journalists in its 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier case, Johnson led the lobbying in Kansas to restore those rights. In 1992, Kansas became the sixth state to pass legislation offsetting the decision and securing the rights of high-school advisers.

He is a long-time contributor to the international Society for News Design, and he edited six annual editions of the society’s Best of Newspaper Design book.

Johnson has taught at numerous workshops and conventions across the nation and in Canada. His primary focus is on newspaper design, as well as copy editing, grammar and newsroom management.

Valerie Kibler

Valerie Kibler Valerie Kibler, a teacher for nearly three decades, has been at Harrisonburg ​(Va.) ​High School for 17​ years. She teaches AP English Language with an Intensive Journalistic Writing focus, freshman journalism, advanced journalism, and honors English 9. She is currently serving as co-chair of the HHS English Department and as the school’s student council sponsor. Her advanced journalism class is responsible for the publication of Newsstreak, Harrisonburg’s nationally award winning student newspaper and, their online publication, which has received a Pacemaker from NSPA.

Kibler serves as the JEA State Director for Virginia and as Treasurer of the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers (VAJTA), a group that she served as director for six years. Kibler helped begin jCamp and has worked as an instructor since its inception nine years ago. She also helps organize the Virginia jDay each spring.

Kibler is the 2010 Dow Jones News Fund’s National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year and has received the Gold Key Award from CSPA, NSPA’s Pioneer Award, JEA’s Medal of Merit, SIPA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and VAJTA’s Thomas Jefferson Award.

She served as local committee chair for the 2014 fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, which was held in Washington, D.C.

A 1988 graduate of Virginia Tech, she just received her Master’s Degree in Journalism Education from Kent State University in Ohio and is now teaching the Media Management course for Kent State.

Seth Lewis

Seth Lewis Seth C. Lewis, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, where he is a 2013-14 Hubbard Faculty Research Fellow. Formerly he was Visiting Scholar in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University, and a Fulbright Scholar to Spain. He also worked for several news organizations, most recently The Miami Herald. His research explores the social implications of information technology and digital media for the dynamics of media work and innovation. In particular, he studies the changing nature of journalism amid the rise of Big Data, social media, software development, digital audience metrics, and related phenomena. Presently he is working on a project that examines the emerging role of data, computation, and programming in the world of news and information. His research has won several awards, including Outstanding Journal Article of the Year in Journalism Studies for his 2012 article "The Tension Between Professional Control and Open Participation: Journalism and its Boundaries" (PDF). His research has been published or is forthcoming in a number of leading peer-reviewed journals, including Information, Communication & Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Communication Research, New Media & Society, Journalism Studies, Journalism Practice, and the International Journal of Communication. He is editing a special issue of Digital Journalism on the subject of "Journalism in an Era of Big Data," is the co-editor of two editions of The Future of News: An Agenda of Perspectives, and he is affiliated with the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. He holds a BA from Brigham Young University, an MBA from Barry University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
Sara Quinn

Sara Quinn Sara Quinn joined Ball State University’s Department of Journalism as a journalism instructor in the fall of 2014. She teaches and researches in the areas of visual journalism, leadership and multimedia.

Before joining the faculty of The Poynter Institute in 2003, Quinn spent nearly 20 years working in newspaper newsrooms, including The Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida and her hometown newspaper, The Wichita Eagle in Kansas. Since January of 2014 she's been a digital design strategist for Pixelbots, an information, interaction and visual design consultancy.

While at The Poynter Institute, Quinn directed the EyeTrack research of newspaper, tablet and online reading habits. She also led Poynter’s college fellowship and its partnerships with universities, and directed Poynter’s custom training for university students and educators. She has been a board member, regional director and secretary and treasurer of the Society for News Design. She is frequently on the road as a consultant, in newsrooms and university campuses around the world.

Ann Visser, Ex officio

Ann Visser Ann Visser has been involved in journalism since her junior year of high school where she was a member of the high school publications staff at North Nodaway High School in Hopkins, Mo. She continued her education at nearby Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, where she graduated with honors in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with an English/journalism emphasis. There, she became acquainted with both Linda Puntney and Laura Widmer as Puntney advised the student yearbook of which Visser and Widmer were both staff members.

After graduation, Visser accepted a job teaching English/journalism at Gallatin (Mo.) High School where she taught from 1983-1985. A move to Minnesota meant being away from the classroom for two years, but Visser did advise a four-person newspaper staff at Foley (Minn.) High School during one of those years.

When the English/journalism position opened at Pella (Iowa) Community High School, Visser moved south and began her 31-year career there. The program expanded from one journalism section per day to two journalism sections daily to, ultimately, a full-time journalism position. Pella High was one of the first high school journalism programs in Iowa to use desktop publishing for both publications, making that move in 1987. It was a consistent award winner during Visser’s tenure.

Early in her career, Visser connected with the Iowa High School Press Association and began serving as a regional director, secretary, vice president, and, eventually president. She was presented that organization’s Kenneth Stratton Award as Iowa Journalism Teacher of the Year and was also inducted into the IHSPA Hall of Fame.

In addition to presenting sessions at the state and national level and teaching summer workshops, Visser became integrally involved with the Journalism Education Association where she reconnected with Puntney, her college adviser. She served that organization in several capacities, including state director, regional director, secretary, vice president, president, and, past president. She was awarded JEA’s Medal of Merit and its Lifetime Achievement Award, along with its highest award, the Carl Towley Award. Additionally, she is also an NSPA Pioneer and a Dow Jones Distinguished Adviser.

Visser has continued her involvement in the world of scholastic journalism by serving on the NSPA Board of Directors and the Quill and Scroll Board of Directors.

NSPA is to be governed, in accordance with its bylaws, by a board of directors consisting of three faculty members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) at the University of Minnesota, where NSPA has its headquarters, and at least three other board members representing the range of high school, college and Minnesota high school student media served by NSPA and its ACP and MHSPA divisions.


NSPA/ACP Audit Committee
Peter Bobkowski, University of Kansas​, Lawrence
Laurie Hansen, Stillwater (Minn.) Area High School
Ron Johnson, Indiana University, Bloomington

NSPA/ACP Budget Committee
Chris Ison, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Seth Lewis, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


NSPA Awards and Critiques Committee
Jeanne Acton, Interscholastic League Press Conference, Austin, Texas
Ann Visser, Pella, Iowa
Mark Newton, Mountain Vista High School,Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Jeff Kocur, Hopkins High School, Minnetonka, Minn.

NSPA-JEA Partner Planning Committee
Val Kibler, Harrisonburg (Va.) High School
Peter Bobkowski, University of Kansas​, Lawrence​
Laurie Hansen, Stillwater (Minn.) Area High School
Ann Visser, Pella, Iowa

Journalism Education Association
Sarah Nichols, Whitney (Calif.) High School
Stan Zoller, Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Candace Perkins Bowen, Kent State University​, Ohio​
John Bowen, Kent State University​, Ohio​

NSPA Liaison to JEA Diversity Committee
Laura York Guy, Garden City (Kan.) Community College


ACP Advisory Committee
Paul Bittick, California Polytechnic State University
Robert Bohler, Texas Christian University
Steven Chappell, Northwest Missouri State University
Jeanne Criswell, University of Indianapolis
Chris Evans, University of Vermont
Vince Filak, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
Mark Goodman, Kent State University
Laura York Guy, Garden City (Kan.) Community College
Jay Hartwell, University of Hawaii
Joe Hedges, Murray State University
Ron Johnson, Indiana University
Lil Levant, Illini Media
Michael Koretzky, Society of Professional Journalists
Paul Olsen, Coastal Carolina University
Erica Beshears Perel, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
Mark Raduziner, Johnson County Community College
Anita Reed, Seward County Community College
Michael Serino, Ithaca College
Susan Smith, South Dakota State University
Stacy Sparks, Southwestern College
Randy Stano, University of Miami
Al Tims, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Charlie Weaver, The Daily Emerald (Oregon)
Bradley Wilson, Midwestern State University
Mark Witherspoon, Iowa State Daily

ACP Awards and Critiques Committee
Laura York Guy, Garden City (Kan.) Community College
Ron Johnson, Indiana University, Bloomington

Organization and Board Documents