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Triple Crown

Sophie Ryland

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For third consecutive year, staff is Crown Award winner;

’16-’17 has won 2 of top 3 awards in scholastic journalism

The Shield staff learned on Wednesday that the Columbia Scholastic Press Association had named the publication a 2018 Crown Award finalist in the Hybrid News category. Hybrid publications are selected as finalists based on CSPA’s evaluation of the publication’s print and online platforms.

This is the fifth time that the print newsmagazine has been nominated for the Crown Award and the third year in a row; this is the first time, however, that The Shield’s website has been named a finalist for the award.

The Shield was one of 51 high schools nationwide that was named a Crown finalist in the Hybrid category. Six of the other hybrid finalists hailed from Texas, among them The Eagle’s Eye at Akins High School in the Austin Independent School District. The Lone Star Dispatch at Bowie High School was a third AISD finalist in the print newspaper category.

Julie Robertson, a co-editor in chief in both 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, said the award is gratifying because of the time and effort she and her colleagues poured into the newspaper last year.

“Winning this award has felt super amazing for me because all of junior year I was putting so much work into all of our issues and staying at school so late that I would sometimes feel like our work wasn’t paying off,” Robertson said, “but seeing these huge national awards recognizing everyone’s efforts makes me feel like I’m part of something much bigger than me, something that is noticed on a much larger scale than I ever imagined.”

The Gold Crown award is one of the three top national awards that a scholastic news organization can win; the other two are the National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker Award and the Quill and Scroll Society’s George H. Gallup Award.

Last month, The Shield won the George H. Gallup Award, for both its print and online content; the last time the staff won one of the top three national awards was the 2010-2011 school year when it won the NSPA Pacemaker Award.

According to Quill and Scroll’s website, the Gallup Award is “based on extraordinary journalistic accomplishment, exceptional service to the school and community, coverage, design, writing and reporting.”

In his critique, The Quill and Scroll Society’s evaluator, Jack Kennedy, praised the both the volume and quality of the staff’s reporting. The highest marks given, “superior,” were for the categories of coverage, writing and editing.

“It was a pleasure to browse through The Shield plus all the associated online platforms,” Kennedy said. “I am quite used to seeing online suffer from being second to print, or vice versa, but the program at McCallum is robust in both areas, which is a tribute to the leadership of the adviser, the dedication and talent of the editors and staff. It appears that the staff is not really very large in numbers, but they more than balanced that with passion and hard work.”

The staff will find out in March whether it has won a Silver or Gold Crown. But Robertson knows that a lot of hard work must occur for this publication year before then so that the staff can continue to uphold its high standard.

“Winning this [honor] motivates me so much more to work incredibly hard on the issues this year and make them the best they can be,” Robertson said. “Hopefully [we] win an even higher award this coming year.”

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