Get started now:

In the News

Jostens Rick Brooks Recognized as National Scholastic Press Association Pioneer

Industry veteran shares gift of design to inspire high school and college yearbook journalists across the United States

Minneapolis, MN - Oct. 01, 2018

Jostens, the leading provider of publications, jewelry and consumer goods serving the K-12 and college market, is proud to share in the announcement that Rick Brooks has been recognized as a National Scholastic Press Association Pioneer. Brooks, a creative design manager at Jostens, has spent his thirty-two year career inspiring student journalists across the U.S. to tell their stories through innovative yearbook design.

The Pioneer is the highest honor NSPA awards to journalism educators. Pioneers are individuals who make substantial contributions to high school journalism programs and scholastic journalism education outside their primary employment.

“This year’s class of winners is unique in that we have high school advisers, as well as a consultant, a former Journalism Education Association executive director and Illinois Journalism Education Association executive director,” said Laura Widmer, NSPA executive director. “They are all educators though, and possess great teaching skills and passion for student press rights. These Pioneers represent the best of the best in the country."

Brooks dedication to excellence in journalism education began as a student himself, becoming the editor of his college yearbook at Fairmont State University with hopes of bringing design beauty to the book. He imagined himself eventually applying his skills in a commercial design agency after graduation.

"I didn't think about journalism -- much less a career in journalism education -- until yearbook legend Chuck Savedge encouraged me to look at what I could do to help others develop the love I had for design," said Brooks. "I remember him saying 'you may love design and others may love your design, but you are so much more; you are a journalist, and you can help others be more as well.' I'm forever grateful for him and that insight."

Throughout his career as a creative design manager at Jostens, Brooks has worked directly with thousands of students in hundreds collegiate and high school journalism programs to help tell their schools' stories in creative, impactful ways.

In her nomination letter, Kathleen Zwiebel, retired yearbook adviser from Pottsville (PA) Area High School, cited Brooks' unconditional commitment to mentoring students of all programs.

“On our state level, Rick has spoken at conventions, served as a judge and helped to develop the Pennsylvania School Press Association yearbook contest guidelines," said Zwiebel. "This is a tribute to his talent and to the fact that Rick is interested in helping all scholastic journalists, not just those at schools affiliated with his company.”

“Some people are defined by their job description or title. Rick Brooks is not one of them," said Jostens colleague Bonnie Blackman. "He is defined by his character, his goodness, and his passion with a purpose. He has impacted the journalism community in all the right ways.”

"We couldn't be prouder of Rick and everything he's done to advance the important role yearbooks play in telling students' stories," said Tammy Whitaker, Jostens Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the company's yearbook division. “Countless yearbook advisers and staffs credit Rick with elevating their book to the next level, yet he keeps the spotlight on them. He's the epitome of a trusted partner and a great role model for us all."

Brooks will be honored with NSPA's other Pioneer award winners at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association Advisers Awards Luncheon on November 3rd at the Chicago Hyatt Regency.

About Jostens

Jostens is a trusted partner in the academic and achievement channel, providing products, programs and services that help its customers celebrate moments that matter. The company's products include yearbooks, publications, jewelry and consumer goods that serve the K-12 educational, college and professional sports segments. Founded in 1897 and based in Minneapolis, Minn., Jostens is a subsidiary of Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL) and can be found online at

About Newell Brands

The National Scholastic Press Association, based and incorporated in Minnesota as a non-profit educational association, provides journalism education services to students, teachers, media advisers and others throughout the United States and in other countries. NSPA and its divisions cooperate with other student media associations and other non-student groups and businesses that share its mission to educate and recognize the work of student journalists, to improve the quality of student media and to foster careers in media. For more information visit


Jeff Peterson