Peabody Press earns THSPA recognition

Sheerea Yu '23 was named Journalist of the Year, and six writers earned individual awards at this year's Tennessee High School Press Association Awards.
By Justin Karpinos, HS Dean of Student Life & Journalism Teacher

University School of Nashville student journalists attend the Tennessee High School Press Association Awards on Monday, March 6 at Lipscomb University. The THSPA, which is sponsored by Lipscomb, presents awards in 52 categories in newspaper, yearbook, literary magazine, and broadcast news.
Lest we bury the lede: our editor-in-chief, Sheerea Yu '23, was named the H.L. Hall Journalist of the Year. Sheerea will continue on in the Journalism Education Association national awards process this spring. She is our second winner of this award, following Esha Karam '21 two years ago.
Amanda Hara, the anchor of WSMV’s morning show and director of digital media, gave the keynote address, encouraging journalists to be tenacious in their never-ending quest for the truth. She also reminded us, “the microphone is a tool that demands respect and responsibility.” Finally, Hara told student journalists that, ultimately, our voice is inconsequential in the story – it’s our job to carry the voices of others. She quoted Edward R. Murrow on that third point: “Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it only reached to the end of the bar.”
Hara shared how her career, which began in Evansville, Indiana, involved mistakes and missteps along the way toward arriving at these lessons herself.
Hara also shared how, in her role as director of digital media at WSMV, she has to confront the challenges of misinformation, online commentary which can quickly turn sour, and algorithms of tech companies that deliver news to our feeds in ways that are demonstrably skewed.

“We have a need to help make our readers smarter consumers of news,” Hara said.
This year, there were 747 submissions in total, with some categories having upwards of 20 submissions. The newspaper categories were particularly competitive this year. Individual awards earned by USN's Peabody Press staff this year include:
Oliver Buntin '23: first place, Best Photo
Kara Grace Hess '23: second place, Best Column
Margot Ross '24 & Reid Murray '22: third place, Best Sports Story
Eliana Gorden '24: third place, Best Review
And as a publication, the Peabody Press earned an Excellent Rating in the Overall Newspaper category. 
What was especially encouraging is that the next day, as we were putting the finishing touches on the early March edition of the paper in class, our two junior editors were compiling and organizing the feedback we received from the THSPA judges, which we’ll work to implement moving forward. This is a dedicated crew of stewards of the newspaper.
It is no secret to those of us close to the Peabody Press that 75% of our staff will graduate this spring, and we are actively looking for ways to expand our staff and our reach. Oliver, for example, has submitted photos as a guest contributor throughout the year; other students have submitted guest columns on student leadership experiences, commentary on redistricting in Tennessee, and coverage of the USN hockey team’s playoff run.
I’m grateful to our staff for continually striving to tell the important stories here on Edgehill, and eager to see what our final issues this year hold. A great High School needs a great newspaper, now more than ever.
    • Kara Grace Hess '23, Margot Ross '24, Oliver Buntin '23, and Annie Cox '24 show off their awards.

    • Oliver Buntin '23 receives his award for first place in the Best Photo category.

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