Echo Editor-in-Chief named runner-up for National Journalist of the Year

Marta Hill celebrates award virtually


Emily Ziessman

Senior and Editor-in-Chief of Echo Marta Hill films protestors at the presidential rally of Sen. Amy Klobuchar March 1 at Park. Hill was named a runner-up in JEA's 2020 National High School Journalist of the Year competition April 18.

Maddie Schutte

The moment senior and Editor-in-Chief of Echo Marta Hill had been anxiously waiting for — the results of the National Student Journalist of the Year award — was spent on a Google Hangout call from home with her parents and Echo staffers because of COVID-19 regulations. 

Before she knew it, her name was being called as one of the six runner-ups for the Journalism Education Association (JEA) National Journalist of the Year, and her staff was cheering her on from their webcams. 

Just weeks earlier, Hill had been announced Minnesota Journalist of the Year. Hill said she had been building a portfolio since winter break, a time consuming and trying project. JEA reviewed 33 portfolios for National Journalist of the Year before deciding on the winner as well as six runner-ups. 

Hill had been planning on attending the ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee, where the winners would be announced, but the event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hill said she was incredibly thankful to be joined by her staffers and community in Echo to watch the award ceremony safe at home. 

“It really meant a lot that people would join the call and watch it with me. I’m so grateful to the staff and (Echo adviser Lori) Keekley for always being an amazing support system . . . it made it really special,” Hill said. 

Junior Talia Lissauer contacted a few other Echo staffers immediately after the Google Hangout call, and within an hour, the three of them had gathered congratulatory gifts for Hill and lined up their cars outside her house to show their support. 

“To be stuck in your house to find out that you got such an amazing achievement sucks, so we wanted to make her feel special and make sure she knows how proud everyone is of her,” Lissauer said. 

Hill said receiving that support from her friends and community made her accomplishment all the more special.

I think it will mostly serve as a reminder that the hard work I put in up to this point was worth it, so I should keep putting that hard work in”

— Marta Hill

“The highlight of the evening was them doing a little car parade for me. It was great to see them — from a distance of course,” Hill said. “It was super great to see that there was such a community supporting me.”

According to Hill, she plans on majoring in journalism in college and hopes to mainly report on science and new discoveries in a way that everyone can understand. She also hopes to expand on her reporting methods, possibly trying out broadcast and other platforms. 

“I think one of the biggest issues facing society right now is that most science and new discoveries are published in a way that isn’t understandable by the general population,” Hill said. “I’d like to combine my love of STEM topics and journalism into something that I could help share to a wider audience.”

Although it has only been a day since she received the news, Hill said her accomplishment will push her in all aspects of her life, and she hopes to channel the passion she put into her portfolio into everything she does.

“I think it will mostly serve as a reminder that the hard work I put in up to this point was worth it, so I should keep putting that hard work in,” Hill said.