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The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Knoblauch named top state journalist

Todd+C.+Smith+Student+Journalist+of+the+Year+recipient+Nadia+Knoblauch+teaches+a+class+about+story+writing.+Knoblauch+is++the+first+person+from+Hagerty+to+have+been+awarded+this+distinction.
photo by Brooke Bohan
Todd C. Smith Student Journalist of the Year recipient Nadia Knoblauch teaches a class about story writing. Knoblauch is the first person from Hagerty to have been awarded this distinction.

Senior Nadia Knoblauch is doing a lot of traveling this spring. After spending a month working on her portfolio for the Todd C. Smith Journalist of the Year award, her hard work paid off on March 1 as the Florida Scholastic Press Association announced her win on Instagram, making her the first recipient of this distinction in school history.

“When I finally submitted it, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I tried not to think about it until a couple of days before it was announced,” Knoblauch said. “When I finally found out that I had won, I was relieved and happy that a goal I had been working towards for three years paid off.”

In addition to being on The Blueprint staff, Knoblauch is Florida Coalition Leader of the United Nation’s Girl Up Initiative, president of Hagerty’s Girl Up chapter, Director of Communications of FSPA student representatives and secretary of Hagerty’s chapter of National Honor Society. 

She was the recipient of the Emerging Young Journalist Award in 2022, and has written stories in a variety of areas, from local news about a MLK day parade, to opinions about new state legislation and everything in between.

Knoblauch worked every day for a month formatting her online website, to make it visually appealing and easy to navigate, and showcase her journalistic endeavors in 11 categories, including writing, design, broadcast journalism, marketing and ethics. Creating her portfolio, which was made using the program Wix, required her to deep dive into her current works and pieces of the past.

“Going back over stories and coverage I’ve made over the past three years was difficult. I’d find myself forgetting about entire stories just because of how many I’ve done over the years, so I was constantly adding to my portfolio. The most difficult part of the portfolio wasn’t making sure I had enough content, but figuring out how to organize all of my work in a way that would best highlight the progress I’ve made,” Knoblauch said.

While she had a lot of past material to pick from to include on her website, Knoblauch also spent her month creating her portfolio strengthening areas like photojournalism and broadcast journalism that she didn’t have as much material in.

In addition to the online portfolio, every applicant’s submission included a personal narrative about their journalism journey, personal and academic information, and recommendation letters. Each participating state has a different organization that arranges journalist of the year competitions, hosted by the Journalism Education Association and the National Scholastic Press Association. The detailed rubric, which is used both in Florida and at the JEA/NSPA, consists of 11 categories, each graded on a seven-point scale. Whichever applicant gets the most points moves on to the national competition.

“Nadia had a lot of innate talent as far as writing ability, but she’s just learned so much during her journey, and she continues to practice and get better. That really shows when you look at everything she’s done, and you can really see that growth, which is extremely impressive,” advisor Brit Taylor said.

One of Knoblauch’s favorite things about being a journalist is being able to expand the program and teach other staffers how to use design elements or new online templates to make the newspaper and online website more interactive and exciting for readers.

“My goal has really been to just leave things better than I found them,” Knoblauch said. “Going into this year, I really wanted our staff to be well-rounded and utilize multimedia elements and social media more.” 

Knoblauch will be attending the annual FSPA convention and will also represent Florida in the JEA/NSPA conference in Kansas City, both of which are taking place this April.

After graduating this May, she will attend Barnard College of Columbia University on the political science track. Knoblauch hopes to continue her journalism journey at The Spectator, Columbia University’s newspaper. 

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About the Contributors
Kailey Calvo, Print Editor
Kailey Calvo is a junior at Hagerty High School and this is her second year on staff. She is acting secretary of Rho Kappa and treasurer of Girl Up. In addition to being heavily involved in her community, Kailey enjoys traveling, reading, and attending concerts.
Brooke Bohan, Staff Photographer
Brooke is a sophomore at Hagerty High School and this is her second year on staff. Brooke’s passions are in all things related to photography and journalism. She was called as an NSPA 2023 national finalist for a sports action photo. Outside of school, Brooke spends her time skating with her longboard.
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