School paper up for national award

With enough accolades to wallpaper its newsroom, it may have been more noteworthy if Grand Junction High School’s student newspaper, The Orange and Black, had not been nominated for a national award in student media this year.

Such was not the case, however, with The Orange and Black named in December as a finalist for the 2009 Crown awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in the high school newspaper category.

But with students just returning from winter break, news of the nomination has been slow to reach the staff.

“I haven’t heard about that yet,” said Rick Jussel, the newspaper’s adviser.

The Orange and Black is no stranger to the Crown awards, having been awarded a silver Crown award in 2008, 2007 and 2006, to name a few.

The awards are divided into gold and silver Crown awards, which are given annually to student publications, including newspapers, magazines and yearbooks, for excellence in student journalism.

Finalist publications in each category, divided on grade level and publication type, will be given a gold or silver award in March.

Finalists were culled from 1,771 newspapers, magazines and yearbooks from across the country, and The Orange and Black faces off against 43 other high school newspapers in its category.

Jussel is in his first year advising the student newspaper, succeeding longtime adviser Mark Newton, and he said the staff has taken on a number of controversial subjects during the fall semester.

The latest issue, Jussel said, tackled questions such as the origins of beauty, what life was like for sufferers of Asperger syndrome, and what it is like to get a sex change.

“It was kind of a strange little issue with very good writing,” Jussel said.

“It stands a good chance of winning some awards.”

The staff also benefitted from Grand Junction’s spotlight during election season. Reporters and photographers were able to cover the campaign stops made by President-elect Barack Obama and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Bekah Gallegos, an editor on the staff, said Grand Junction High School combined the school’s television news team and the newspaper into one class this year, allowing the staff to better produce print and online content.

“We have all these new ways of getting our content out there,” she said.


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