Competing with 18 New York high schools, the Blazer, nominated for three categories, and the Highlight, nominated for one category, were both recognized for their solid journalistic abilities at the Newsies hosted at Baruch College.
During the eighth NYC High School Journalism Conference on Wednesday, October 26, students gathered together for breakfast and lunch. They had the opportunity to view other school’s newspapers and interact with professional journalists.
Before the actual ceremony, students attended three different workshops where professionals gave tips about certain aspects of journalism.
“I think it is important for students to attend journalism conferences and workshops because it helps them broaden and enrich their journalism skills. Thus, their staffs and their publications are improved,” said Sandy Woodcock, Director of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation.
Kevin Convey, Editor-in-Chief of the New York Daily News, announced the winners of each category during the ceremony.
Gabriella Yannotti’s, senior and editor-in-chief of the Blazer, article was nominated for most in-dept story, “The Point of Pointe” and received an honorable mention, coming in 3rd place.
According to Greg Smith (Daily News) and Courtney Gross (NY1), judges of the in depth category, Gabriella’s article was, “Extremely informative, including information on the prohibitive cost and physical dangers of “en pointe” dancing in ballet.”
Andrew Villa, So Ri Lim, and Annalee Manaloto, were nominated for best multimedia storytelling/broadcast for “Floral park goes green”, and all received 1st place trophies.
“This award is a reminder that if I put time and effort in my stories, along with working with some handy teammates, good things will happen. [Reporters should] Work hard, make sure your organization and materials are appropriate for the story, and have fun with the story because if you do, there will be more effort shown in the story and its quality will be better,” said Andrew Villa, senior.
“School sheltering is not helping,” by alumni Melissa Iachetta, editor-in-chief of The Blazer last year, won 1st place in Opinion/Editorial Writing.
“When I heard I won the Newsies for my category I was really thrilled,” said Melissa. “It re-instilled the confidence I lost, that I am a good writer and professionals have confirmed it. This whole experience has made me rethink giving up on my dream so soon and giving it a try because maybe I do have what it takes to be competitive and get a job with a popular paper over someone else.”
The Blazer was nominated for Headline Writing and came in third place receiving an honorable mention certificate, which all WJPS attendees accepted on stage.
According to Robin Fields (ProPublica) and Adam Sommers (Daily News), judges of the Headline Writing category, a ‘great example’ of a good headline is, “It starts with a text or a tweet, and ends in damage.” They felt, “This headline is evocative and conveys the right pitch for an opinion piece on a serious subject. It’s well-balanced and has an unusual level of sophistication.”
The Newsies is an annual ceremony and with the recognition the school received this year, staff reporters of both the Blazer and the Highlight should be aware that they too can have the opportunity to compete in contests. The ability to make students and the school gain a valuable reputation is in the hands of future journalists.
“Don’t just report on surface level events, take it a step further and challenge things that are going on, be controversial and don’t be afraid of getting in trouble,” advises Melissa. “True journalists aren’t afraid to hurt someones feelings or not write and article because of the potential consequences on them. They are there to inform and uncover what is going on so the readers can form their own opinions. That is what I did with this article and it did ruffle some feathers but it won.”