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O’Donoghue named 2011 Carl Towley award winner

The Journalism Education Association has chosen Steve O’Donoghue, of Sacramento, Calif., as the 2011 Carl Towley Award winner.

This is JEA’s highest honor and is presented to a JEA member whose work is unusually beneficial and of superior value to the national JEA and to scholastic journalism.

O’Donoghue’s work over many years epitomizes this award. He is the director of the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative, as well as the coordinator for journalism education programs in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Contra Costa County. He is a mentor for the California Press Association Journalism Instructor Program. He began his high school teaching career in 1969 in the Oakland Unified School District, and was the founder and director of The Media Academy at Fremont High School in Oakland from 1985-2003.

He is a member of the JEA Outreach Academy team, and consults and teaches throughout California and the rest of the nation.

Among his long list of personal awards and honors, he was the 1990 Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year.

Nick Ferentinos, a fellow California adviser who worked with Steve on several mentoring groups, said, “Early on, as a teacher in inner city Oakland, he saw how few resources were available to high minority/high poverty schools to develop publication programs and how few teachers of color taught journalism. He attended conventions where his were among the only students of color. He knew long ago that something had to change. And thanks to him, and others he’s inspired, it has.”

“Steve has profoundly impacted student for decades,” said Don Bott, adviser to the Staggline newspaper at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, in Stockton, Calif, “and in the years since he has retired, he found a way to impact teachers as well, especially from schools that have every reason to fail.”

O’Donoghue will receive the Towley award during the fall JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, on Nov. 19, in Minneapolis, Minn.