J&C students win NSPA Brasler Prize for national story of the year

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Erin Woggon (12, J&C) prepares to accept the Brasler Prize on behalf of Chris Roussell (12, J&C) and Josh Jean-Marie (12, J&C) from NSPA Executive Director Diana Mitsu Klos. Photo courtesy Ms. Amy Ritchie (Journalism and English).

Josh Jean-Marie (12, J&C) and Chris Roussell (12, J&C) earned the first place Story of the Year award in the Feature Story category at the Journalism Education Association/National Scholastic Press Association (JEA/NSPA) conference in Orlando, Fla. this weekend.

Jean-Marie and Roussell’s award-winning piece, published in the Crimson Record newspaper last year, delved deeply into the topic of student homelessness.

“What we really wanted to do is let people know that homelessness is defined outside of just someone you see sleeping on the streets, which is what TV tries to display homelessness as,” Jean-Marie said. “We really just wanted to change people’s perceptions of what homelessness is and make people aware that student homelessness exists.”

Jean-Marie and Roussell also won the $1,000 Brasler Prize, awarded to the best piece out of all the first place Story of the Year category winners.

Other J&C students and graduates earned top honors at the convention as well.

Erin Woggon (12, J&C), the only Manual student to attend the convention in person, took home an Honorable Mention in the Story of the Year competition’s Diversity category for her feature article about discrimination against Muslim students.

“I think that [winning these awards] already sets us apart,” Woggon said. “I went up to the stage so many times to accept our awards that the woman said I should just get a chair and sit up there. I think it really sets us apart that two of our students wrote the best story that was submitted–that’s really crazy.”

J&C graduate Braden VanMeter won an Honorable Mention in the Design of the Year category for his One Blue Wall literary magazine spread featuring a poem by Karac Medley (10, J&C).

The Crimson yearbook and One Blue Wall staffs also took home honors for their publications as a whole, winning the ninth and sixth place Best of Show awards, respectively.

All of the individual award winners received news of their nominations last September.