HomeMoorestown NewsMFS journalists earn 16 accolades for student journalism

MFS journalists earn 16 accolades for student journalism

“WordsWorth,” the student publication, earned seven awards and nine nominations from organizations including the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, one award from the National Scholastic Press Association and one WHYY Youth Media Award.

Moorestown Friends School student journalists nabbed 16 accolades this winter for their work on “WordsWorth,” the Upper School news network. The publication’s editor-in-chief, Andrew Rowan said there was a palpable sense of excitement as they watched the the Garden State Scholastic Press Association live tweet the nominations.

“It’s always nice to get the word out to the community about the original story, and it’s sort of like icing on the cake to be honored [for it] elsewhere,” Rowan said.

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“WordsWorth,” the student publication, earned seven awards and nine nominations from organizations including the Garden State Scholastic Press Association, one award from the National Scholastic Press Association and one WHYY Youth Media Award.

Rowan, a senior, said while many schools choose just one medium to disseminate their news, WordsWorth is unique in that they produce a print edition, a blog and video content. He said they try to keep the news flowing between all of the different mediums because a student audience will respond to different approaches.

He said during their pitching sessions, they try to hash out how best to tell a story. At times, this may mean merging mediums. Rowan said staff are currently working on a story about Moorestown’s Percheron Park, which enables them to do a bit of visual storytelling showing the park’s progression. But they’re mindful of the fact that not every student will respond to that kind of storytelling and some may prefer to read about the park, so for those students, there will be a print story as well.

The staff pride themselves on being in touch with the MFS community.

“We’re always looking for what MFS students are interested in, so we try to really focus on sort of local to our community because we know people like reading about what they’re experiencing in their daily lives,” Rowan said.

Staff are constantly communicating through a Slack channel that’s host to an ongoing flow of updates discussing what students are talking about. Rowan said whether students are gossiping or complaining about something, they try to get to the bottom of it.

“One of the philosophies we try to think around is what are people talking about over social media, and if you go to the school’s website is there nothing there,” Rowan said. “Then, we should put something up, so that people can say, ‘OK, here’s what happened’ and really try to dispel a lot of the rumors.”

Their stories are usually hyperlocal in focus. Rowan said they’re aware students could go to other news organizations for politics or even updates on Main Street construction, so they make sure each story has an MFS tie.

“WordsWorth” received five awards for breaking news coverage with Rowan’s stories earning four out of five of those awards. The self-proclaimed “breaking news junkie” said he gets an adrenaline rush when it comes to breaking news. When the dining hall changed service providers and when money went missing from cash boxes during a student economics project, WordsWorth staff were there trying to get answers.

Since MFS is a private school, administration is technically allowed to censor the news, but Rowan said he’s happy to report they never have. He said more often than not, the administration has welcomed their questions and been willing to have an open dialogue.

“We know sometimes we cause some headaches for the administration, but they’ve been pretty great overall,” Rowan said.

Rowan said he attributes much of WordsWorth’s success to the dedicated staff and advisors Debra Galler and Diana Day. He said their advisors have read stories on late nights, weekends and holiday breaks, so that staff have the best final product to update their site.

“I think the staff is really dedicated. Papers and news organization are rooted in teamwork and communication, and I’m really glad everyone is involved in.”

At the end of January, WordsWorth staff will journey to New York for a taping of “Good Morning America” and a tour of ABC headquarters. With 16 awards in hand, who knows? This may just be the future workplace of one of the staffers.

To read the students’ stories, visit http://www.mfswordsworth.com.

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