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Newsmagazine wins top prize in annual JEA Student Impact Award competition

The Arrow newmagazine staff of Renton (Wash.) High School was the recipient of the Journalism Education Association’s 2014 Student Journalist Impact Award.

Many of the students who attend Renton High School live in the Skyway neighborhood. An older section of town that is a bit worn at the heels, Skyway was thought of by many as a dangerous place — a place to avoid.

Yes, some bad things have happened in Skyway, but bad things happen everywhere. Cleverly packaged with a provocative title (“Skyway is Ghetto”) and graphic “Post-it” notes to draw readers in, the Arrow staff broke down perceptions of the neighborhood and challenged readers to see what is really there. The package of stories examines Skyway’s residents of all ages and its institutions — from its library to Ezell’s Famous Chicken to Dimmitt Middle School to the Skyway Bowl to the view of Mercer Island and beyond. It begs the question: What is there to fear?

In announcing the 2014 winner, the association praised the reporting of the Arrow staff. “This newsmagazine illustrates the power of the student press and the impact it can have,” said Kenson Siver, chair of the Impact Award panel. “The articles were not written so much in defense of Skyway as to give people the opportunity to take a closer look at what truly is a thriving neighborhood.”

The Arrow newsmagazine is the 16th recipient of this award. The JEA Student Journalist Impact Award was created in 1994 to recognize a secondary school student or team of students who, through the study and practice of journalism, have made a significant difference in their own lives, the lives of others, the school they attend and/or the community in which they reside.

The Impact Award recognizes student writing that brings issues to the forefront and from the walls of the high school to the world at large.

The award was presented at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in San Diego, April 10-13.

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