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2010 Michael S. Powell HS Journalist of the Year: John Carroll’s Kate Froehlich

John Carroll senior Kate Froehlich from Fallston, Md. is the MDDC Michael S. Powell High School Journalist of the Year for 2010.
Froehlich, the first winner from John Carroll, has been a school journalist since the sixth grade when she wrote for her middle school newspaper. She wrote news and sports stories for two years, assumed the role of news editor in the eighth grade and worked for a time as editor in chief. In high school, Froehlich took journalism electives prior to joining the staff of the high school's paper, The Patriot, in her junior year.
Having followed her work in the journalism classes, Patriot faculty adviser Mark Ionescu started Froehlich at the copy editor position, and impressed Ionescu enough to earn the executive editor's position before the end of Froehlich's senior year. "(Her) work...was revelatory," he said. "She astonished me...with her efficiency and accuracy. ...I was certain that she was ready for more responsibility on the newspaper."
Froehlich stint as executive editor coincided with the paper's ambitious transition to an online platform while revising, restyling and publishing a full color newspaper, all managed by nearly 30 first-time journalists. "Kate would impress me and far exceed my expectations," Ionescu said. Besides her assigned responsibilities of supervising stories and the copy editing team, Froehlich did whatever else was needed. "When news broke and someone needed to write a last-minute story, Kate did it. When all the photographers were MIA (missing in action) before a speaker's visit to the school, Kate grabbed a camera. When writers and editors missed deadlines, Kate pulled them aside and dealt with the situations."
Froehlich eventually led the entire online operation. With her efforts focused on that one area, Froehlich's leadership was "masterful," said Ionescu. She established an organizational system for the online paper. She set up post and due date calendars and established accountability standards. She created weekly deadlines for assigning and posting stories, fine-tuned the job descriptions for online and managing editors, started a beat system for reporters, and implemented the practice of creating daily agendas that addressed immediate concerns and set priorities for the staff. After only four months, the online paper had an operating structure established and was updating daily. Froehlich's next goals for the site include incorporating multimedia features.
Froehlich is widely regarded as the hardest working student on the newspaper's staff. Ionescu says she "produces more (and higher quality) stories than any student on the staff," and has regularly garnered praise from school faculty for her skills and professionalism.
Froehlich has taken heat from some in the school who think The Patriot's staff takes itself too seriously. They've argued that the paper should be a vehicle for the school to promote itself and should steer clear of portraying it in a negative light. But Froehlich says she has a responsibility. "I am not the school's cheerleader, nor do I hope to tear it down, but I want to answer questions that students raise," she says. The paper "gives students the ability to exercise their First Amendment rights for a positive cause and allows them to understand decisions made...that will affect them in the future."
In college, Froehlich hopes to minor in journalism and she says she would love "nothing more" than to be a reporter on Capitol Hill.
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