CoJMC professor receives Friend of Journalism Award

CoJMC professor receives Friend of Journalism Award

Monday, November 18, 2019 - 2:45pm

by Molly Roe

University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications Professor Michelle Hassler recently received the R. Neal Copple Friend of Journalism Award from the Nebraska High School Press Association. 

Hassler received the award in October at the annual NHSPA Convention at the CoJMC. More than 600 students and teachers from across the state were in attendance. 

The award is given annually to honor someone from the professional media, high school administration, local Nebraska communities or Nebraska colleges who significantly supports scholastic journalism. 

Hassler, who is the executive director of NHSPA, has been a journalism professor at UNL since 1998. In this role, she works closely with high school students and teachers to strengthen scholastic journalism in Nebraska. 

Hassler was nominated for the award by Mark Hilburn, NHSPA president and journalism teacher at Millard West High School in Omaha. Hilburn said he nominated Hassler for the award because of her work as a mentor and adviser for Nebraska journalism students. 

“I couldn't think of anyone that has been a bigger ‘friend’ to scholastic journalism than Michelle,” he said. “She was instrumental in creating the ‘al la carte’ program that brings UNL professors into high school newsrooms to teach workshops on various topics, has testified for LB 206 to help protect student and adviser rights to a free press and is always inviting the members across the state down to CoJMC speakers and events. When she hears that a student is interested in UNL, she asks for their name and is quick to check in.”

Before coming to UNL, Hassler was a newspaper reporter and editor for 16 years, beginning as education reporter at the Tempe Daily News and Mesa Tribune in Arizona. She also served as state editor at the Lincoln Journal and night city editor and interim editorial page editor at the Lincoln Journal Star.

Hassler has received eight national teaching awards, including winner of the 2017 Great Ideas for Teaching, a refereed panel presentation of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and winner of the 2015 Teaching News Terrifically in the 21st Century, another AEJMC refereed competition.

She was honored in 2004, 2005 and 2007 by the UNL Teacher's Council and the UNL Parents Association, which recognizes faculty, advisors and staff members who have had a significant impact on the lives of one or more undergraduates.

Michelle Hassler headshot
Michelle Hassler