[ONLINE EXCLUSIVE] MHS student earns Ohio Journalist of the Year

Alisha Soni | The Chronicle, Managing Editor 

The Ohio Scholastic Media Association (OSMA) and Journalism Education Association (JEA) Ohio announced Andrew Little as the 2024 Ohio Student Journalist of the Year. Little was awarded for not just his journalistic work in a variety of areas, but skills of leadership, diversity and ethics.

Andrew Little, The Chronicle Editor-in-Chief earned the Ohio Scholastic Media Association Journalist of the Year.

Little’s first experience with journalism was in 2018 when he attended the summer Chronicle Journalism School (J-School), a week-long camp where he met with high school journalists and learned how to write his first sports story.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved watching sports,” Little said. “I would wake up early in the morning to watch ESPN before school and I loved hearing the story side of sports. But then I hadn’t ever really thought about newspapers and writing until that J-School camp.”

After his experience at the J-School, Little continued engaging in opportunities in journalism. He took a journalism class called Mason in the Middle in middle school and shadowed for Mason Sports Radio. In high school, he officially joined Mason Sports Radio, got involved in entry-level media classes, worked with Mason Broadcast Crew (MBC) and applied for the school newspaper, The Chronicle, where he transitioned from staff writer to sports editor to Editor-in-Chief.

With the wide variety of journalistic activities he has worked on, Little said he recognized the importance of having a diverse set of skills. Along with these skill sets, Little said he has seen his growth reporting on a broadened area of topics.

“When I started, all I wanted to do was report on sports,” Little said. “But as I’ve grown in the program and become a more confident writer and communicator, I’ve wanted to touch on other stuff. Sports are cool, but it’s not the only important thing in life, especially in high school.”

Mason High School (MHS) journalism instructor Dale Conner has worked with Little ever since the J-School camp. As an advisor of the journalism program who has worked with Little for The Chronicle, Mason Sports Radio and MBC, Conner said that he has been able to observe traits of leadership and initiative in Andrew grow over the years.

“He already had some innate abilities to lead but he led in a different style,” Conner said. “He knew how to survey the room. He had to learn that he could trust that gut instinct. And this year when he became Editor-in-Chief [for The Chronicle], I think we’ve seen all that come together.”

OSMA President and JEA Ohio State Director Julieanne McClain said that through Little’s diverse experience in the publication lab, leadership positions and high-quality content in several fields, he earned Journalist of the Year.

OSMA President and JEA Ohio State Director Julieanne McClain

Conner said that factors such as Little’s comprehensiveness and curiosity make Little deserving of this award.

“He is an excellent journalist,” Conner said. “He’s committed himself to us since 2018. I personally feel the entire group respects him and he’s earned respect not because of a title next to his name. He’s earned it because he’s willing to invest in the lives of other people.”

Little said that while he is still considering which college to attend, he knows he plans to continue journalism in college and as a career. 

“It’s important to have a diverse set of multimedia skills, but I do know that I want to pursue journalism as my career in some capacity,” Little said. “I don’t know exactly how to do that. I know that I can’t just be a writer. I can’t just be a video person.”

Reflecting on his several years of journalism experience in middle and high school, Little said he is glad to have been given such opportunities and appreciates all those who have helped him.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the rest of the staff, [or] Mr. Conner giving me opportunities since I was younger,” Little said. “It wasn’t just my work being editor of The Chronicle, it was also with Sports Radio and MBC. I’m really appreciative of all the opportunities that have set me up for this.”