Madison East Student Selected as 2023 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year

Seniors from Hamilton and Neenah honored as Finalists

Kayla Bell, Intern

February 27, 2023 — Kadjata Bah, a senior from Madison East High School, has been named the 2023 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year by the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association (WisJEA). The honor comes with a $1,000 scholarship (made possible through the MPC Endowment Ltd., a philanthropic affiliate of the Milwaukee Press Club), and, as the state winner, her materials will be forwarded to the National High School Journalist of the Year Competition, hosted by the national Journalism Education Association. The national winner will receive a $3,000 scholarship, and up to four runners-up will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Eight seniors across the state submitted entries for the 2023 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year. In addition to selecting Kadjata as the winner, the WisJEA recognized two additional students as finalists for their excellent work in journalism. The two finalists were Jasleen Kaur from Hamilton High School and Robert Barthell from Neenah High School. All applicants were required to submit a detailed online portfolio showcasing their journalistic work, as well as a resume, a current transcript, a personal essay and a recommendation from their journalism adviser.

Congratulations once again to Kadjata for her honor as the 2023 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year, along with Jasleen and Robert as finalists. Thank you to all the applicants for their submissions and for their dedication to covering their communities.

More information about Kadjata, Jasleen and Robert can be found down below.

Kadjata Bah, 2023 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year

Kadjata is a senior from Madison East High School with an outstanding background in journalistic work. Her submission to this year’s competition exceeded expectations. It was an honor to add to her collection of awards and accolades. 

Her experience began in 2016 at 11 years old writing stories about topics she was interested in for the Simpson Street Free Press. In this position, Kadjata has had the opportunity to grow as a leader. Today, she is one of the publication’s Senior Teen Editors helping writers as young as seven years old cultivate their literacy skills. Since she began at SSFP, Kadjata has written on a variety of historical, cultural, political and community-focused topics. When the pandemic hit in 2020 Kadjata was prepared. After the publication moved entirely online, she began writing extensively on the 6th Circuit Court decision declaring access to literacy a fundamental right.

Additionally, Kadjata has had the opportunity to intern for the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, The Cap Times and Madison Magazine, where she has written, reported on and fact-checked a vast array of stories. She is also currently a volunteer reporter for Eastside News, a staff writer for her school’s yearbook, Tower Tales, and a staff member for her school’s broadcast program, Tower TV.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of Kadjata’s work. The scope of her reporting and writing sweeps local, state, national and international levels, and her impressive experience includes broadcast journalism; photojournalism; editing, leadership and teambuilding; law, ethics and news literacy; design; social media; and marketing and audience engagement.

It is an honor to recognize Kadjata Bah as the 2023 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year. 

To view her online portfolio, click here:


Jasleen Kaur, 2023 Finalist

Jasleen is a senior from Hamilton High School with an extensive background in advocacy and social justice work through her journalistic experiences.

As the current Editor-in-Chief for her school’s newspaper, Charger Press, and the founder of her advocacy-focused blog and podcast, AwareLife, Jasleen has accumulated outstanding proficiency in the areas of leadership, speaking, writing and journalism.

As Editor-in-Chief, she has not only expanded her own writing in equity and justice but has aided in expanding the publication’s audience engagement. She has done so by simultaneously increasing the number of published articles per week and sending them out to the community newsletter, Parent Press.

Additionally, her blog and podcast, AwareLife, focuses on keeping her readers and listeners informed on the news events happening throughout the world. The platform highlights a range of historical, political and cultural topics.

It is an honor to recognize Jasleen Kaur as one of this year’s finalists. 

To view her online portfolio, click here:


Robert Barthell, 2023 Finalist

Robert Barthell is a senior from Neenah High School with extensive experience in journalistic work. He is the Assistant Editor-in-Chief for his school’s newspaper, The Satellite, and the creator, editor and producer of his school’s broadcast program, Rocket News.

As a regular contributor to The Satellite, Robert has written on a variety of subjects earning him a multitude of awards from the North Eastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association. 

Additionally, as the creator, editor and producer of Rocket News, his “claim to fame,” Robert has gained exemplary experience in broadcast journalism. The production is a weekly video-based program that encompasses everything happening at his school each week. He started Rocket News in December of 2021 and has covered nearly every school event, no matter how small, since, and has not yet missed a week. The program has significantly improved his communication skills, along with his skills in social media and audience engagement.   

It is an honor to recognize Robert Barthell as one of this year’s finalists. 

To view his online portfolio, click here: