The Student Journalists of Stoneman Douglas High Earned a Rare Honor at This Year’s Pulitzers

“We’re in good hands with young people like this,” said Dana Canedy, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes.

Students and parents visit a make shift memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX/AP

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They were just teenagers. They were experiencing the most traumatic thing they had ever endured. But they kept reporting.

At this year’s Pulitzer Prize awards, administrator Dana Canedy singled out the student journalists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Eagle Eye newspaper for their work chronicling the February 2018 massacre in Parkland, Florida. Students at the Eagle Eye applied for a Pulitzer, noting that its 44 student reporters and editors had to “put aside our grief and recognize our role as both survivors, journalists and loved ones of the deceased.”

“I want to break with tradition and offer my sincere admiration for an entry that did not win, but that should give us all hope for the future of journalism in this great democracy,” Canedy said at the start of the awards ceremony on April 15.

In an interview with the New York Times, Canedy added, “We’re in good hands with young people like this.”

Leni Steinhardt, one of the Eagle Eye reporters, said she was reluctant at first to write an obituary of one of her fellow students. But she decided, “I’d rather it be us telling the story than some other news reporter who doesn’t really have a connection to them like we do.”

Student editor Hannah Kapoor, who plans to remain in journalism once she starts college at Princeton this fall, called the effort “the most newsworthy work we’ve done and probably ever will do.”

Here are some other Recharge stories to get you through the week.

  • He didn’t bribe his way into college. The store security guard saw the cashier crying, and asked what happened. Eva Vazquez responded, “Do you really want to know? My son got into Harvard.” The customers around her started clapping. Her son, Oswaldo, was frequently bullied in California and Mexico, but still managed to excel in classes. “I want to start off as a computer programmer,” Oswaldo said of his career plans, noting that he hopes to one day work with artificial intelligence. “Once I retire, I want to be a teacher at my high school and just give back, and try to make kids be more engaged and have fun.” (Los Angeles Times)
  • A gathering fight. While the battle against climate change seems daunting, The Guardian recently highlighted an inspiring slew of efforts worldwide. Sweden’s Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra is no longer inviting guest conductors or musicians who have to fly in to perform. Costa Rica has vowed to achieve “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Wellington, New Zealand—just named the world’s greenest capital—has planted 1.5 million trees over the past 15 years. Brewer AB InBev, which makes 3,000 pints a second, aims to use renewable sources for all of its power by 2025. (The Guardian)
  • A community rallies. Adrian Salgado, a 65-year-old gardener from Southern California, depended on his tools for work, as well as an old pickup that carried his Virgen de Guadalupe pendant and photos of his parents, Agripina and Antonio. When thieves stole both Salgado’s wheels and tools, a whole community came to his aid. “This could have been our Pops,” said Santa Ana Police Sgt. Michael Gonzalez. (Los Angeles Times)
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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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