Morales Wins 2nd in National Broadcast News Competition

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Junior Victoria Morales took second place at the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA)  Competition in Dallas Nov. 18. Her broadcast news story on organ donation won a Broadcast News Pacemaker Award, often referred to by professionals as “the Pulitzer Prize for high school journalism.”

Only a handful of Pacemakers are given out per category at each national convention.

“I never thought I would be fortunate enough to even be nominated for a Pacemaker,” said Morales. “Winning was unreal.”

Morales took the issue of organ donation and localized it by interviewing Tim Foley, Assistant Superintendent of Park 6 Schools, and his wife about their daughter who received a life-saving organ donation. She also interviewed CHS teacher Jim Collins, whose son became an organ donor after dying from meningitis.

“I wanted to localize the issue to make a bigger impact,” said Morales.

After the story aired, Morales was contacted by Donate Life Wyoming. They hired Morales to create a revised, more in depth version of the piece for teaching purposes to be aired at schools across the nation.

“It was an incredible opportunity,” said Morales.

Pacemakers are given in six categories for individual awards: Story of the Year, Multimedia Story of the Year, Broadcast Story of the Year, Picture of the Year, Design of the Year, and Cartooning Award. Out of all entries, only fifteen are made finalists. From those, ten are given Pacemaker Awards.

The last CHS student to win a Pacemaker Award was Hunter Hicks in 2016 for his feature story on science teacher Amy Gerber.