Katie Hodges earns statewide journalism award


Senior Katie Hodges, the editor in chief of the Stampede, has been named the 2012 High School Journalist of the Year by the Montana Journalism Education Association. She has been on staff for four years. Hodges, who will attend the University of Montana in the fall, receives a $1,000 scholarshiop from the Montana Newspaper Association. The judges — professors from UM’s School of Journalism — wrote about Hodges:

 The competition was strong, but Katie Hodges wins this award for her crisp and compelling writing, the broad sweep of her interests, and her forceful, intelligent opinions that graced not only the Stampede but the pages of the Great Falls Tribune this year.

She’s a natural and stylish storyteller who cuts quickly to a story’s heart. She digs deeply for details and knows what her readers need. She chooses her words carefully, but her writing is never leaden or stiff. It flows so well that reading it seems effortless. That’s a rare ability for someone so young.

Her writing alone qualifies her for this award, but the breadth of her prolific contribution to the Stampede is remarkable too. She covers news and sports and writes features, editorials and columns – all with the same easy grace. She’s fearless in the subjects she tackles in her editorials, especially those that challenge school policies. Her logic is impeccable and persuasive.

Toss in the fact that she’s a good designer, and it’s easy to see why Katie is the MVP of an impressive staff. The paper will miss her next year, but I suspect it won’t be long before the rest of the state acknowledges her talent too.