PRESS RELEASE: SPLC's Mike Hiestand selected for NSPA's 'Pioneer Award'

Student Press Law Center Legal Consultant Mike Hiestand has been selected to receive the National Scholastic PressAssociation’s Pioneer Award, the organization’s top honor forindividuals. The award recognizes substantial contributions to scholasticjournalism, as well as service to the National Scholastic Press Association(NSPA) and its programs.

Hiestand has been assisting students, advisers andadministrators with questions about scholastic press law on behalf of theStudent Press Law Center (SPLC) since 1991. In that time, he has directly servedan estimated 14,000 callers, in addition to many thousands who have attended hislectures and workshops. He is a regular speaker for NSPA at state and nationalconventions, and he writes the “It’s the Law” column for the NSPAWeb site.

Hiestand, a graduate of Marquette University’s Collegeof Journalism and Cornell Law School, lives with his family in Ferndale, Wash.,where he handles West Coast inquiries to the SPLC.

“Though a bit sobering to be considered a’pioneer,’ I am deeply touched and honored by therecognition,” Hiestand said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity Ihave had to be associated with the Student Press Law Center and everyone who hasmade the Center’s work possible. It is a special place and it has been a trueblessing — for almost two decades — to go to work every daypassionate about what you do.”

“Mike Hiestand is an absolutely tirelessadvocate for the student media,” SPLC Executive Director Frank D. LoMontesaid. “More than anyone else I know, he truly understands and believes inthe connection between good student journalism and good adult citizenship, andhe has spent the last two decades taking that message across the country toanyone who will listen. It is no exaggeration that there are dozens of teacherswho have their jobs today, and dozens of student publications that exist today,because Mike Hiestand came to their defense.”

Hiestand was one of five individuals recognized with a2009 NSPA Pioneer Award. Awards also went to SPLC Advisory Council members MarkNewton of Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Monica Hillof the North Carolina Scholastic Media Association.

Those selected for the Pioneer Award will be honoredat the Journalism Education Association/NSPA National High School JournalismConvention in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14. The NSPA displays a composite plaqueof Pioneers at the JEA/NSPA national conventions. Candidates are nominated andselected by previous Pioneer Award winners.