Senior recognized as California Journalist of the Year, advances to national competition

    Journalism adviser Paul Kandell introduces Beatrice Motamedi, California state director for the Journalism Education Association during the ceremony to announce senior Jack Brook's recognition as California Journalist of the Year. The audience included the Verde Magazine staff, faculty and senior Brook's parents. "You’ve really taken us to the edges of what it means to be a journalist in high school," Kandell said to Brook. "I know you’ve inspired anyone who’s had a chance to work with you, including me." Photo by Takaaki Sagawa.

    Journalism adviser Paul Kandell introduces Beatrice Motamedi, California state director for the Journalism Education Association during the ceremony to announce senior Jack Brook’s recognition as California Journalist of the Year. The audience included the Verde Magazine staff, faculty and one of Brook’s parents. “You’ve really taken us to the edges of what it means to be a journalist in high school,” Kandell said to Brook. “I know you’ve inspired anyone who’s had a chance to work with you, including me.” Photo by Takaaki Sagawa.

    A Palo Alto High School senior is in the running for the title of National Journalist of the Year after being recognized today as the California Journalist of the Year for his excellence in scholastic journalism.

    The Journalism Education Association in California named Jack Brook, co-editor in chief of Verde Magazine, the California Journalist of the Year today in a small ceremony during 4th Period in the Media Arts Center.

    According to the JEANC website, the California Journalist of the Year title includes a $500 prize in addition to a travel stipend to attend the JEA/National Scholastic Press Association spring national convention in Denver.

    Brook’s status puts him in the running for the national competition for Journalist of the Year. The results will be announced at the awards ceremony of the JEA/NSPA spring national convention on April 18, according to the JEA website.

    Judges chose Brook out of nine total applications after a review process by the panel, according to Beatrice Motamedi, California state director of the Journalism Education Association. The application required a digital portfolio, official grade transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a resume, an essay and an action photo, according to the JEANC website.

    “From a sensitively told story about Cameron, a transgender student whose journey you [Brook] chronicled — including a sensitive pronoun switch from ‘her’ to ‘him’ in midstory — to a video for the White House Film Festival about The Paly Voice drone … you were a consensus pick in an unusually strong competition this year,” Motamedi said.

    Jack brook journalist of the year CA

    Brook accepts his award as California Journalist of the Year, along with a chocolate bar. “It’s been a great experience working with everybody, and I learned so much from [adviser Paul] Kandell,” Brook said. Photo by Takaaki Sagawa.

    Verde Magazine adviser Paul Kandell praised Brook as a multifaceted journalist.

    “When it comes to images, angles and story — regardless of whether they occur in text, photos or videos — Jack has uncommonly outstanding, savant-level perception and abilities,” Kandell said. “He is the most natural multi-platform storyteller I’ve ever known.”

    Noam Shemtov, the co-editor in chief of Verde Magazine last year, commented on Brook’s work ethic and commitment to his stories.

    “He has a rare way of throwing himself right into the thick of whatever he’s working on,” Shemtov said. “Jack was able to take his stories right up to the edge — both in the reporting and in the way he told them.”

    Junior and news editor of Verde Magazine Siddharth Srinivasan echoed Shemtov’s claims as he recounted an experience he had with Brook while working together on “First in Their Families: What it Means to be a First Generation College Student.”

    “Jack convinced me to go to the dry cleaners at 4 a.m. to get a hook for our story,” Srinivasan said. “It was well worth it, and that illustrates his vision for the story as a reporter.”

    As Brook accepted the award, he acknowledged all who have aided him along his journey as a high school journalist towards state recognition.

    “It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a magazine to raise a journalist,” Brook said. “I really couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.”

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