June 2012…Three Norristown eighth grade students are the first recipients of the Healthy NewsWorks Distinguished Journalist Award.
The award recognizes student reporters involved in the Healthy NewsWorks student media program who have developed key traits for success as a journalist: commitment, enthusiasm, curiosity, leadership, and journalistic craftsmanship.
Each recipient also has shown exceptional individual growth over multiple years in the program as a reporter and school community member. Finally, the recipient was recommended for the Distinguished Journalist Award by school staff and the school principal.
The 2012 recipients are Lydia Haggard (of Stewart Middle School), Jazminh Snowden (of Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy), and Josie Dillard (also of Eisenhower). All three have been dedicated staff members for their school health newspapers.
“Healthy NewsWorks was a group that I could be a part of and was depending on me to get the story I said I would get,” said Lydia. “I also learned how to meet a deadline, and get and use quotes to help explain the information I was trying to get across.”
Participating in the Healthy NewsWorks program also educated the award winners about being healthy. “I now have the power to make sure that my say is heard,” said Josie. “I was also able to take the health concepts that I learned home with me, whether it was a new healthy recipe or a way to stay fit.”
Recipients also improved their leadership skills. “Healthy NewsWorks helped me to be more comfortable talking to people, and know that they respect me as a journalist,” said Lydia.
Josie said that when she joined the program she was a new student in a new school. “Being in Healthy NewsWorks gave me a chance to learn how to be a leader, to feel empowerment, and to be that person that other people look up to,” she said. “Healthy NewsWorks gave me the foundation to be a bigger leader, and a bigger person. I will take what I learned and apply it to everyday life and always keep that health aspect with me,” said Josie.
“Now that I’ve had an experience as a journalist,” said Lydia, “I can possibly think about writing or journalism as a career option.”
Lydia and Josie became health journalists in their respective elementary schools, Marshall Street and Hancock. Lydia went on to be a key contributor for the Stewart Healthy Times while Josie was a leader of the Eisenhower Healthy Panther. Jazminh joined the Healthy Panther in fifth grade and played a significant role in the paper as an eighth grader.
All three student journalists contributed to the book, Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities, published in May 2012 by Healthy NewsWorks.