Excellence in high school journalism was honored on Thursday, April 26, as the Sacramento High School Journalism Network (SHSJN) hosted its first awards dinner.
The SHSJN is a project of the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative, in collaboration with The Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE). This program was started with generous funding from Mr. Rowland Rebele, a former publisher, First Amendment advocate, and philanthropist.
"The purpose of the network is to keep existing newspaper journalism programs alive in the local high schools, restart programs that have atrophied or died out, and start new ones in schools that have never had a published student newspaper," said Steve O'Donoghue, Director of the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative.
Currently twelve Sacramento-area high schools participate: Gerber, Luther Burbank, Foothill, Hiram Johnson, Cristo Rey, C. K. McClatchy, and Rio Americano in Sacramento; Davis High School in Davis; River City in West Sacramento; Laguna Creek in Elk Grove; Whitney in Rocklin; and Vista del Lago in Folsom.
Students write stories for The Sac County Breeze newspaper. Their stories are filtered through a team of writing coaches. Professional journalists serve as mentors and support the students in the classroom. SHSJN also provides monitoring for the teachers, free curriculum materials, and access to scholastic journalism resources.
Guest speaker Joyce Terhaar, Editor of The Sacramento Bee, praised the students for their efforts and encouraged them to consider journalism as a career.
"Our job is to give people the information that they want," Terhaar said. "The single most important thing is to be a critical thinker."
Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon told the award winning students the skills they are learning as budding journalisms are skills that attract prospective employers who are looking to hire dependable employees.
"High school students involved in journalism programs look at the world through a wider lens," Superintendent Gordon said. "What type of applicant does a prospective employer find attractive? Someone who has clear thinking and writing skills, who can work in teams, and who meet important deadlines."
2012 Sacramento Journalism Network Award Winners
Best News Writing
- Daniel Tutt & Anna Sturla (Davis High School)
"Language, Culture a Barrier for Latinos in Soccer"
Best Feature Writing
- Karina Bueno (River City High School)
"Growing Up Different"
Best Editorial Writing
- Charis Abrams (Foothill High School)
"Control Stress by Taking the Right Steps"
Best Column or Personal Opinion Writing
- Ilaf Esuf (Whitney High School)
"Saving Bucks at the Thrift Stores"
Best Sports Writing
- Anthony Escue (Foothill High School)
"Secrets to Success in Athletics"
- Sharafenna Williams (Foothill High School)
"Parkour: Jumping for Joy"
Best Editorial Cartoon
- Henry Anker (Davis High School)
Overall Newspaper Excellence
- Davis High School: Blue Devil HUB
Best New or Revived Paper
- Foothill High School, fhspress