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Tue Nov 24, 2020, 03:09 PM

BluePrints members receive Student Press Law Center Courage in Student Journalism Award

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@SPLC
's 2019 Courage in Student #Journalism Award winners uncovered lies by a local school board member.
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BluePrints members receive Student Press Law Center Courage in Student Journalism Award

November 19, 2020 Melanie Frick Courage in Student Journalism Award, SPLC

BluePrints Magazine’s Copy Editor Jackie Wright and Co-Editors-in-Chief Stephany Gaona-Perez and Brittany Lopez have been announced as winners of the Student Press Law Center’s Courage in Student Journalism Award, recognizing their reporting on a story where a local school board appointee misled the public while raising money for a congressional race for which he was too young to serve.

The SPLC’s Courage in Student Journalism Award recognizes middle or high school student journalists at a national level “who showed determination, despite difficulty or resistance, in lawfully exercising their First Amendment press rights.”. As this year’s winners, BluePrints will receive an added bonus of a $1,000 cash prize.

Wright, Gaona-Perez, and Lopez received backlash for their work on two news articles and a staff editorial about a school board appointee who made false claims about where and when he graduated high school. ... “I do think that every time we write about a sensitive topic, we question the ethics behind it, and how we, as the reporters, have an impact. I think each one of us writes about things that are important to the community, and each of us advocates for the truth and for the vulnerable,” Lopez said.

BluePrints adviser Marc Ginsberg says the negative reactions from the community to the students’ work was new to all three journalists and a teachable experience for the publication as a whole. ... “Publishing this story gave the entire staff a confidence boost after they saw their work having real consequences in real time. While the public criticism shocked them at first, I think it has only strengthened their desire to hold people accountable for their words and actions,” Ginsberg said.

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Melanie Frick

Melanie Frick is a sophomore Web Editor for the BluePrints Magazine. She has attended both the Georgia Scholastic Press Association and the Southern Interscholastic Press Association. Frick thinks she would enjoy being in a Science or English related career. She is hoping to add more to the website with art and organization, as well as write articles.

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