Journalism Senior Named Writing Finalist, Heads to National Hearst Championship

Journalism senior Katherine Lester

A TCU Schieffer College senior is one of 29 student journalists from across the United States selected to compete in the 62nd annual National Hearst Championships.

Katherine Lester, 21, of Lincoln, Nebraska, who is completing majors in journalism and biology, will travel to San Francisco for the competition, in which she will be one of eight students competing in the writing category.  That contest requires her to write a news story of no more than 500 words from an interview with a psychologist and geneticist, and to complete a 750- to 1,000-word feature assignment about the impact of the Covid pandemic on college students graduating in 2022.

Lester has worked in the Schieffer College’s student media program for two years, most recently as a managing editor for TCU 360.  In fall 2021, Lester, who also is a Chancellor’s Scholar, was recognized by Hearst for her feature article on a course about drag performances, which was an assignment in her reporting class.

The Queer Art of Drag: A new course taught students how to create their own drag personas.

The opening of Katherine Lester’s story on “The Queer Art of Drag,” which won a Hearst Foundation writing award in 2022. (TCU 360)

In addition to writing two assignments on deadline during the national competition, Lester will spend time in a critique session with judges who reviewed that feature article.

“I am so excited and honored to participate in the Hearst National Championship in writing,” Lester said.

The championship competition, which begins May 20 and ends May 26, is open to undergraduate journalism majors enrolled in programs accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The competition provides travel, lodging and meals for the 29 student finalists, whose work will be judged by a dozen national journalists. Finalists receive $1,500 scholarships, with the winner of each category receiving a $10,000 scholarship.

The Hearst Journalism Awards Program was founded in 1960 to assist university and college journalism education programs.  The awards program provides scholarships to students for outstanding performance in college-level journalism, with matching grants to the students’ universities.  The program, which offers $700,000 in awards annually, consists of five monthly writing competitions, two photojournalism competitions, one audio competition, two television competitions and four multimedia competitions, with championship finals in all divisions.