Home Blog Industry News: Journalism Education Association’s Montana Student Journalist of the Year.
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Terryn Premo is a little Vivaldi with a RockwellExtra Bold attitude.

The young graphic designer chooses her fonts with the same assurance she has in choosing her future. It’s this confidence in herself and her abilities that landed her the honor of being named the Journalism Education Association’s Montana Student Journalist of the Year.

“I’d describe my style as very bold, but with a light touch,” Premo said. “I deal with minimal color and then hit it with a bright pop or I pair bold fonts with cursive. I look at Rolling Stone for inspiration, with their soft black and white tones and then big, red font.”

Premo is a senior at C.M. Russell High School with plans to attend Montana State University in the fall for their four-year graphic design program. She hopes to take her design style and become a freelance graphic designer.

JEA and the Montana Newspaper Foundation each awarded Premo a $1,000 scholarship. She would have represented Montana scholastic journalists as the representative in the national Journalism Education Association Convention in Seattle in April, but Premo will be busy on tour with the school band.

Competition judge Rich Ecke, award-winning journalist and editor for the Great Falls Tribune, wrote in his comments, “It’s all credit to Terryn, who doesn’t plan to slow down in her quest to explore layout, graphic design, photography and other aspects of journalism that boost readership and viewership. It’s a worthy course of study to follow, and Terryn Premo is an excellent candidate for national recognition for her hard work and dedication, her mentoring of fellow students and her desire to excel.”

Beth Britton, CMR journalism and yearbook teacher, makes Premo out to be a superhero. The dynamic duo smile and laugh with each other as Premo reaches up and smooths down Britton’s hair.

Premo has been in Britton’s yearbook class for three years and in her journalism class for four.

“It’s been pretty cool watching her grow,” Britton said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without her next year. I’ve really come to count on her — she’s my sidekick.”

The two smile at each other.

“You’re my mom,” Premo answered back.

They both stop for a moment before the tears start. Now is not the time to cry. Not yet.

“Not until graduation,” Britton said.

With that, Premo is back to work, whooshing around the room with ideas and suggestions for the yearbook staff. In just a few short minutes, her directorial index finger has already polka-dotted five computer screens.

“Her strength lies in telling the story through layout, fonts, colors and where to put text,” Britton said. “She can look at a page and in 30 seconds know what needs to be done to make it better.”Though the winners of the Montana Student Journalist of the Year are often writers, Britton said Premo’s design strengths show the power of visual journalism, especially in today’s visual-centric society.

Premo got her start in her yearbook and art workshop classes. In her signature style, Premo fused the two experiences together to foster her interest in graphic design.

 During her junior year, she was the design editor for the Russellog yearbook. She is now the editor in chief. Premo is also involved in Advanced Placement Art where she was the first student at CMR to build her senior portfolio with graphic design pieces.

“I want to build logos and design bus wraps,” Premo said. “I definitely lean more toward the advertising side of graphic design or magazine. My sophomore year of college is when I’ll have to decide what area I want to go into.”

After college, ever one-step ahead, Premo already has ideas about where her career will take her.

But until then, Premo can be found buzzing around the third floor of CMR. This week, she is fine-tuning her website with Britton on her website to submit herself for the national student Journalist of the Year Award. If she wins, she will receive another $3,000 scholarship.

“She works extremely hard,” Britton said. “It’s funny to think back on her freshman year when she was like ‘Hey, is this the journalism room?’

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