Four students nominated for National Scholastic Press Association Awards

Amanda Carlsson, Author

Palo Alto High School has four students who have been nominated for this year’s National Scholastic Press Association Awards held in Boston.

The finalists were judged based on a number of different criteria including coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, layout and design, photography and art and graphics, according to the NSPA website.

The winners will be announced at the Journalism Education Association/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention on Nov. 16 in Boston.

Paly graduate Lisie Sabbag is one of this year’s finalists for her story, “Rape Culture: You Can’t Tell Me I Wasn’t Raped,”which she wrote as a reporter for Verde, Paly’s feature magazine. Sabbag shared her thoughts on why she thinks her story made it into the finals.

“I really think that the personal anecdotes are what makes this story so powerful,” Sabbag said. “I learned so much from interviewing my sources and I am amazed at how strong they were to tell their stories”.

Lisie is currently living in Boston and will be giving a speech about trauma journalism at the convention where the winners will be announced.

“The topic of rape is very sensitive [and] I took an online course about trauma journalism and did hours of research before interviewing anyone,” Sabbag said.

Senior Viking managing editor Audrey Debruine, together with graduate Nora Rosati, wrote an in-depth feature about the unexpected ending of sports seasons at Paly because of miscommunication, among other things.

“The issues addressed are ones that can be related to high school athletes across the country,” Rosati said.

“I don’t think there is a ton of sports features writing going on [and] Viking was one of the first sports magazines in the country and it only started six or seven years ago,” DeBruine said.

Paly graduate Diana Connolly is the finalist for design of the year for her cover art that she created for Verde’s edition on gun control back in February.

“I think the judges noted my efforts to make the cover both intriguing and well-represented for the given topic,” Connolly said.

Once Connolly was asked to come up with ideas and create the front cover of Verde, she did not hesitate to take on the challenge and was pleased with the results.

“I am very proud of my design’s ability to grab readers’ attention while also representing the complex and controversial nature of America’s gun control policy,” Connolly said. “I believe my gun control cover illustration was chosen among so many because it really highlighted the controversial and multi-faceted topic of gun control”.