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KSPA congratulates Jim McCrossen on 2024 KSPA Hall of Fame Award

Jim McCrossen, a long-time adviser at the Jayhawk Media Workshop and Kansas Journalism Institute, also teaches journalism at Blue Valley Northwest High School.

In recognition of his years of service to Kansas student journalists, Jim McCroseen, the long-time publications adviser at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, has earned the KSPA Hall of Fame Award. 

During the 2024 JEA/NSPA convention, McCrossen received the surprise news at a reception hosted by Walsworth Yearbooks at Union Station in Kansas City.

In 1995, KSPA became the first state organization to create a Scholastic Journalism Hall of Fame in order to honor its own excellent members. As of 2024, 40 names have been added to the permanent Hall of Fame plaque that hangs in the KSPA office in KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism.

The KSPA Hall of Fame was begun as a way of honoring members and friends of high school journalism in Kansas who have contributed to the profession both at the state and national levels. The nominee will be judged on the following criteria: 1) Noteworthy service to KSPA and to the education of student journalists; 2) Outstanding personal achievement in student journalism; 3) Contribution to the field of student journalism. 

Jim McCrossen

Jim advises publications and teaches journalism in the Blue Valley School District in suburban Kansas City where he has worked since 1991. His publications and students have received nearly every award possible in student journalism, including NSPA Pacemakers, KSPA All-Kansas Awards and NSPA Best of the Year awards.

Jim has also served local and state journalism organizations. For KSPA, Jim served in a variety of board positions including as president twice. His time as president also meant managing an 18-month period in which the association had three different executive directors. This work 

created considerable extra responsibilities, including organizing a hiring committee. Aside from this service to KSPA, Jim has also been a board member of the Journalism Educators of Metro Kansas City. 

Many other organizations have recognized this long-term commitment, including NSPA with its Pioneer Award and Kansas Collegiate Media with its Jackie Engel Award. Jim has instructed at the summer workshop hosted by the University of Kansas for decades, teaching everything from editorial leadership to photojournalism.

McCrossen was nominated by Amy Morgan, an adviser from Shawnee Mission West; John Kelley, his Walsworth yearbook representative; Eric Thomas, KSPA executive director and Michelle Huss, an adviser at Blue Valley High School.

Here are some words of nomination from the letters KSPA received: 

  • Morgan wrote, “Jim is an excellent teacher, and certainly has command of his subject matter. But he doesn’t just teach journalism. He teaches his kids to be better people; and to do the right thing, even if it is hard. His publications are truly student publications, as Jim empowers them to make decisions and to learn from their experiences.”
  • Kelley wrote, “When I think of great yearbook advisers, I think of teachers that inspire their students to do great things. Jim does that with his students. Blue Valley Northwest yearbooks and newspapers have been recognized for many awards over the years, including the top national awards, but Jim will tell you these are not his awards, but his students.”

    Blue Valley Northwest High School publications adviser Jim McCrossen presents his student Anna Cowden with the 2019 KSPA Courage in Journalism Award.

  • Huss wrote, “I believe Jim is the perfect example of a KSPA Hall of Fame candidate. His students have earned many honors and awards over the years, and that’s no doubt credited to Jim’s excellence in publications advising.”
  • Thomas wrote, “When I recently nominated Jim for a national mentoring award, I received an impressive collection of letters from his former students and former student teachers. Every few days I would remember another key person in the Kansas journalism education community that he had mentored. The letters kept on coming! I was excited to read them all and contribute my own because Jim has been such a key mentor in my own career.”

The selection committee provided these words in response to McCrossen’s nomination:

Jim McCrossen stands out for respect shown to his students’ publications, which derives from the experiences the students learn from him in the classroom. The newsroom is known for timely and active news reporting on its social media platforms, and the yearbook has a reputation for comprehensive and honest coverage of the school. His students have earned the KSPA Courage in Journalism Award, JEA’s First Amendment Press Freedom Award, and JEMKC’s Ron Clemons Editorial Leadership Award. Yet he’s not just about winning prizes. As one nominator put it. “He treats his students like extended family and fosters a productive and fun atmosphere in his classroom. Students that have Jim McCrossen as a classroom teacher or workshop instructor not only become better students, but they also become better individuals.

The KSPA board and staff congratulate Jim McCrossen for his well-deserved place on the KSPA Hall of Fame plaque!

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