Reporters Kellen Browning and Grace Richey, writing for The HUB student newspaper at Davis (California) Senior High School, addressed the issue of a lack of a proper facility for student lunch and activities at the school. Their reporting spurred the Davis School Board into action.
In announcing the 2015 winner of the Journalism Education Association’s Student Journalist Impact Award, the association praised the reporting of The HUB staff. “These high school journalists clearly demonstrate the power of the student press and the impact it can have,” said Kenson Siver, chair of the Impact Award panel. “The articles were thorough and factually pointed out how the lack of this facility disadvantaged students, particularly those in wheelchairs.”
The school’s multipurpose room had been torn down years before due to toxic mold. Picnic tables and a couple of sunshades were installed in its place. On days with inclement weather students had to eat lunch in classrooms or in a dimly lit gym. Students were allowed to go off campus for lunch; however, this was impractical for handicapped students and others wanting to eat lunch on campus.
Following their first report, Browning and Richey received emails from school board members expressing concern and asking for additional information. The HUB reporters followed up with a second report and a video presented at a school board meeting. School trustees decided to act and to fast track the construction on a new multipurpose room.
The HUB newspaper is the 17th recipient of this award. The JEA Student Journalist Impact Award was created in 1993 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 will be presented April 17 at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Denver.