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Reporter Program Recognizes 2022–23 Student Journalists

Sac School Beat Provides Experience, Nurtures Journalistic Passion

Students and advisors posing for a group photo

Nineteen students participated in the Student Education Reporter program, writing for the Sacramento School Beat.

At a time where instant news updates and social media sharing dominate, journalism remains as crucial as ever. An informed society depends on timely, accurate, ethical reporting that educates, inspires, and creates a lasting impact.

To help encourage aspiring journalists, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) sponsors the Student Education Reporter Internship program, which recruits and trains high school students to become education reporters. Interns are paid to write about their schools and school districts, publishing articles on the Sacramento School Beat website and providing them for free to local news outlets to help supplement local education reporting. This year, six of the students’ articles were republished by local media.

Twenty students have been selected to participate in the program next school year, including reporters, a photographer, a social media reporter, and an editorial cartoonist. Examples of work produced by student reporters are available on the Sacramento School Beat website.

Students Recognized for Achievements

Nineteen student reporters for the Sacramento School Beat were recognized at a reception on May 18 for their hard work and achievements. Students enjoyed pizza at the end-of-year reception where three reporters were announced as recipients of the 2023 Outstanding Student Reporter Award:

“After two years of effort, slightly hampered by COVID restrictions, SacSchoolBeat is regularly publishing news and feature stories about Sacramento County schools and districts,” said Program Coordinator Steve O’Donoghue. “Student reporters are demonstrating that they can fill the gap left by the termination of education reporters to keep parents and peers informed about education issues that affect their lives.”

2022–23 Student Education Reporters

  • Hadia Ahmad, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep
  • Juliana Castro, C. K. McClatchy High
  • Gemma Costuna, Rosemont High School
  • Joshua Cullers, Galt High School
  • Jack Fedor, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep
  • Lilah Gonsalves, Pleasant Grove High School
  • Savannah Haile, Pleasant Grove High School
  • Kaylie Huang, Mira Loma High School
  • Kylie Huang, Mira Loma High School
  • Kaili Jiang, John F. Kennedy High School
  • Parneet Kaur, Pleasant Grove High School
  • Hailey Luistro, John F. Kennedy High School
  • Ethan Machado, C. K. McClatchy High School
  • Akshaj Mehta, Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep
  • Kennedy O'Gilvie Joplin, C. K. McClatchy
  • Samantha Rickards, St. Francis High School
  • Maxim Russu, Cordova High School
  • Saffiya Sheikh, Horizon Charter School
  • Kay Stout, Cordova High School

About the Student Education Reporter Internship

The Sacramento School Beat succeeded the Sac County Breeze newspaper in 2021. The new Student Education Reporter Internship program focuses on serving individual students instead of school programs. It aims to involve more underrepresented students in the journalism field, fill a void of reporting on education news, and enhance civic engagement.

A professional journalist works with each student as an instructor, editor, and coach, helping the high schoolers develop their writing, reporting, and critical thinking skills through a paid internship model. Students complete a rigorous, two-week training over the summer, then report on assigned school or district activities throughout the school year.

The program emphasizes practical experience, encouraging students to immerse themselves in the world of journalism through assignments that mirror real-world scenarios. The students learn how to research, conduct interviews, fact-check, and present their findings in a compelling and unbiased manner. This experience allows them to gain a well-rounded understanding of journalism and helps them discover and explore their passions.

The Student Education Reporter Program is supported by the Sacramento County Office of Education, the James B. McClatchy Foundation, the California Black Media, the Dow Jones News Fund, and CalMatters.

Tom Dresslar and Josh Cullers

Josh Cullers (right), speaking with Copy Editor Tom Dresslar, was one of three students to receive the 2023 Outstanding Student Reporter Award.

Saffiya Sheikh holding trophy

Student reporter Saffiya Sheikh received a 2023 Outstanding Student Reporter Award.

Kay Stout holding trophy

Kay Stout received a 2023 Outstanding Student Reporter Award for her work as a student reporter.