Two newspaper journalists from the Cass County Democrat Missourian in Harrisonville and the St. Joseph News-Press have been selected to receive the 2014 William E. James/Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist awards from the Missouri Press Association.
Richard Gard, president of MPA, announced Bethany Bashioum, Harrisonville, and Kim Norvell, St. Joseph, will receive their awards on Sept. 27, in Columbia during the MPA's annual awards luncheon.
“This is the sixth year for these awards,” said Gard, publisher of Missouri Lawyers Media, St. Louis. “And, this is the second year the awards are named in honor of our colleague, the late William E. James. The Missouri Press Association congratulates Bethany and Kim for their excellent news reporting and editing skills in their communities.”
Bethany Bashioum has worked for the Harrisonville weekly since May 2012. Her responsibilities include writing news and features, photographing local events, covering city and county government beats, compiling editorial and community calendar content, A-section page design, and maintaining the newspaper's website and social media outlets. She has degrees in journalism and digital media communication from Evangel University in Springfield, and Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va.
“Every day since she's walked through the door at the Cass County Democrat Missourian, Bethany has exhibited the tenets of an Oustanding Young Journalist,” said John Beaudoin, who submitted the nomination.
“In a day where we expect a reporter to be defined by so much more than writing, editing and storytelling, Bethany takes her role as a community journalist to heart,” Beaudoin said. “She is the most dynamic, energetic and accurate young reporter I have ever managed. She's raising the bar of everyone around her.”
Kim Norvell “has demonstrated advanced abilities as an 'all-platform' journalist,” said Dennis Ellsworth, executive editor of the St. Joseph News-Press, in his nomination. “Kim's reporting displays mastery of all of the core competencies we expect from a traditional print reporter, plus great understanding of what it means to be a truly multimedia reporter.”
Norvell holds a bachelor of journalism and mass communication degree from Iowa State University, Ames, Ia. She has worked at the News-Press since November 2012, covering stories related to city government and its effect on the community, shooting and editing video, and updating website and social media platforms with news stories.
“It is not uncommon for Kim to send a Twitter alert that she is headed to a newsworthy event, then provide an update and photo from the scene, and then file a story to our digital platform,” Ellsworth said. “She does all of this while continuing to report and write her print story for the next morning's paper.”
Winners of the William E. James/Outstanding Young Journalist Award have demonstrated excellence in the field of journalism and maintained the quality, ethics and standards of The Journalist's Creed, written by Walter Williams, founding dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Editors or publishers submitted nominations for the awards, and the nominees must have been younger than 30 years old on Jan. 1, 2014. Five nominations were submitted this year.
The aim of the award is to reinforce the importance of a journalist's role by recognizing and nurturing talent to further promote quality journalism.
William E. “Bill” James, the namesake for this award, served as publisher of the Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal from November 2007 until his death in November 2013. He was publisher of the Cass County Democrat Missourian in Harrisonville from 1985 to 2000.
During a career of 40 years, James served in a variety of leadership positions for the newspapers of Missouri, and he was a trusted mentor to many MPA members. He was president of the Missouri Press Association (1998), president of the Northwest Missouri Press Association (1990), president of the Missouri Advertising Managers' Association (1986), and president of the Democratic Editors of Missouri (1981). He served as a director of the National Newspaper Association (1999-2001).
He was inducted into the MPA Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2001. His widow, Dorothy, lives near Pleasant Hill.