Skip to Content

College of Information and Communications

  • Banner Image

Bobby Hawthorne named 2023 convention keynote speaker

By Kailey Cota, SIPA assistant
Posted December 9, 2022

An accomplished writer and seasoned storyteller will headline the 2023 convention March 3-5. 

Bobby Hawthorne, Austin-based writer and writing instructor, has been published in every national scholastic press association periodical.

"We could not be more excited to have Bobby Hawthorne back at SIPA,” SIPA Acting Convention Director Larry Steinmetz said. “There is not a finer teacher of writing in the high school world. This is an amazing opportunity for our convention attendees."

Hawthorne’s newest book, Copy That: Writing for Yearbooks, A Guide for Beginners, is a collection of copywriting guidelines that aims to improve yearbook students’ storytelling abilities. He leans on anecdotes and storytelling to explain complex writing concepts and brainstorming techniques. 

Hawthorne also previously wrote The Radical Write, which is a guide for students and yearbook advisers that is also about crafting better stories. In total, he’s written and published a half-dozen educational books. 

Radical Write and Copy That  are two integral books in any journalism and yearbook classroom,” Steinmetz, Bullitt East HS (Kentucky) marketing, online, print and yearbook adviser, said. “Reading them is highly recommended, but listening to Mr. Hawthorne talk about his own writing process really deepens that connection for students to take back to their writing."

Hawthorne retired as the University Interscholastic League's director of academics and director of journalism in 2005. 

Now, he teaches at journalism conventions across the country. 

He received SIPA’s Elizabeth B. Dickey Distinguished Service Award in 1999, an award given to teachers, advisers and others who have contributed extraordinary amounts of time, talent and energy to SIPA. 

“Bobby is a longtime friend of SIPA and an advocate for student journalists,” SIPA Director Leslie Dennis said. “His storytelling ability captures an audience’s attention – teaching and entertaining them all at the same time.”

And in 2007, he received the highest honors of the Carl Towley Award from the Journalism Education Association and the Charles R. O'Malley Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, which recognizes a continued record of outstanding teaching. 

Hawthorne graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and lives in Austin.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.