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Young Scribes Take Top Prize

A team of talented young journalists scored the crowning award from a prestigious press organization.

Massapequa High School’s student newspaper, The Chief, won its first Gold Medal award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), positioning it as one of the best student publications in the country. The honor also earned the staff an invitation to present a workshop they designed called “Localize it: Your publication vs. The New York Times” at the 90th annual CSPA Spring Convention at Columbia University, March 19.

“We’ve received other awards on the local and national levels in various categories over the years,” said advisor Elyn Coyle, “but winning the top honor for the newspaper overall is like grabbing the brass ring.”

Staff members were thrilled by the milestone, as well as by the idea of presenting at the convention, citing the news that they had won acknowledged their journalistic talent, hard work and determination to produce a stellar product. This year’s staff includes Editor-In-Chief Meghana Rao, Managing Editor Nelson Gomez, Sports Editor Michael Letzter, Business Manager Matthew Colozzo, Photo Editor Brandan Lawrence and Copy Editors Joseph Fiola and Katharine Cresser. Meghana and Nelson, along with Coyle, will conduct the workshop at the convention.

To be in the running for an award, several 2013 editions of the newspaper were submitted to the association for evaluation. Entrants were provided a detailed analysis, including a breakdown of how to improve their publications. Coyle and The Chief staff were pleased to find that not many improvements were recommended for their paper, which is built from a team effort of dedicated staff members.

“This achievement was truly a collaborative effort, not only with the current staff but with staff members from the 2012-13 school year, including former Editor-in-Chief Joseph Zappa and former Managing Editor Jessica Crowell-Graff,” Coyle added.