When COVID-19 caused a disruption to the 2019-2020 school year, the Review pivoted to extensive online coverage during the first two weeks of the pandemic while the St. John’s community was on an extended spring break.
As the year drew to a close, a skeleton crew of editors published a graduation issue that centered on the stories of a school year like none other.
For their efforts, the Review and Review Online have been honored as finalists by the two most prestigious student journalism organizations in the country, NSPA and CSPA.
For the third consecutive year, the Review was named a Pacemaker Finalist by the National Scholastic Press Association, marking the fourth time that the student newspaper has been honored for excellence in journalism.
This year, only 60 publications were named Pacemaker Finalists. The Review received the Pacemaker Award in 2015 and 2018 and was also named a finalist in 2019. Entries are judged by teams of professionals based on the following criteria: coverage and content; quality of writing and reporting; leadership; design; photography; and graphics.
Three editors were named finalists for Journalist of the Year: Julia Smith, a senior, was a finalist for Writer of the Year; junior Celine Huang for Artist of the Year; and former editor-in-chief Leila Pulaski, a 2020 graduate, was up for Designer of the Year. Another of last year’s editors-in-chief, Mia Fares, was a finalist for Comic of the Year for her comic strip Freeda of the Press.
The NSPA Fall Journalism Convention took place virtually this year after COVID-19 canceled the event in Orlando. The November issue of The Review received sixth place in Best of Show. Editors-in-chief Noura Jabir, Abigail Poag, and Grace Randall won first place Best of Show in COVID-19 reporting for their cover story “A sense of collective loss,” and news editor Ella West and junior staff writer Ellie Monday took home fourth place for their article “Athletes struggle with mental health amidst pandemic.” Randall also placed sixth for her photograph of a 30-foot tree limb that crashed into the Quadrangle.
For the eighth consecutive year, the Review was named a Crown Finalist by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in the Hybrid News category for its print and online coverage. Editors and advisers were just days away from traveling to Columbia University last year to attend the Spring Convention where they would have received their second Gold Crown Award. The Review won their first Gold Crown in 2015.
Several individuals received Gold Circle awards from CSPA for their work during the 2019-2020 school year, including Noura Jabir (1st place, news writing), Taylor Britton & Leila Pulaski (2nd, editorial page design), Grace Randall (3rd, feature photograph) Ella West (3rd, podcast), Indrani Maitra (3rd and commended, cultural feature), Leila Pulaski (commended, cultural feature design), 2019 graduate Shani Israel (commended, in-depth online news story).
Design editor Celine Huang received numerous accolades from CSPA for her artistry, placing first in digital cartoon portfolio, third for print portfolio, second for cartooning in both print and online, and another commended award for online cartooning.
Graduates SJ Lasley, Alex Tinkham, and Jack Shea won first prize for best photo and audio slideshow for their tribute to classmate Will McKone.
Online editors-in-chief Laney Chang and Fareen Dhuka are in their second year leading the digital news branch of the Review, which has been named a Distinguished Site by School Newspapers Online for the past three years, and the Review Online is poised to repeat this year as well.
The 2019-2020 print editors-in-chief were Izzy Andrews, Mia Fares, Sophia Lima and Leila Pulaski. Advisers of the Review are David Nathan, Shelley Stein (‘88) and Chuy Benitez.