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Journalism team wins national award

The Feather plays hard, but works even harder

Athletes put in work, sweat and tears, and sacrifice leisure time to prepare for the holy grail: Valley Championships. The experience of publishing a student newspaper is similar. Every published article is like a goal scored. Every photopost is a touchdown. Every photo taken is an ace. Every reel is a homerun. 

CSPA Director Jennifer Ha with Feather editors during the conferences award ceremony, March 15. (The Feather)

Fresno Christian’s student newspaper, The Feather, has been “playing” at the national level for decades. Through the years, the publication has been recognized for its excellence under the leadership of Greg Stobbe and Kori James. This year’s team brought home their sixth Silver Crown from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Spring Journalism Conference, adding to the nine Gold Crowns received since 2009.  The recognition proved meaningful for adviser Kori James, who Stobbe trained up and partnered with in his last nine years.

“Greg and I had so many wonderful memories wrapped up in bringing teams to New York and competing on a national level, but advising alone the last few years made me wonder if I could elevate this team back to an award-winning status,” James said. 

Traveling to New York and participating in the CSPA conference has been a goal since the last Feather visit in 2019, but circumstances have prevented the team from attending. Since the COVID years the team has battled a broken website, a smaller inexperienced team and felt the profound absence of beloved adviser Greg Stobbe due to health complications.

This forced the team to step back and revamp from the inside out, starting with a brand new website that launched in the final weeks of the 2022-23 school year. This year, James decided to take the team back to New York for the CSPA conference with the help of Dorina Gilmore-Young, new writing coach, and four parent chaperones.

Touring the streets of NYC lead the students through many unique neighborhoods, museums, and even a behind the scenes tour of WABC-TV studio where the team got their own chance to practice some skills. Local news station ABC30 highlighted the teams adventures and achievements.

Joseph Pulitzer, famed newspaper publisher, was the first to establish CSPA at Columbia University in 1912 handing out the very first journalism awards in 1917. This year marked the 100th meeting of journalists and began the celebratory 100th anniversary that will commence at next year’s spring conference. 1600 attendees from news, yearbook, literary magazine, and broadcast spread all throughout the college campus for the schools official spring break. 

Writing coach Dorina Gilmore-Young teaching a session on feature writing alongside editors at the 100th CSPA conference, March 15. (Benson Elbert)

The Feather team tied the record of most workshops taught during a CSPA conference with six sessions for attendees. Throughout the three-day conference, James and Gilmore-Young were accompanied by some of the students who prepared slides and strengthened their speaking skills. Editor Danielle Arndt shared anecdotes in two of the workshops taught by Gilmore-Young.

“Helping teach two sessions of the conference was honestly terrifying at first, but rewarding because I got so much personal growth from the experience, ” Arndt said. “I had the opportunity to conduct a live interview, and it felt like there was so many things that could go wrong but I did not account for the good that would come out of it, including the support from the students at my session. They were eager to watch and break down how it went and ultimately utilize the time as an occasion to better all of our skills.”

Dorina Gilmore-Young said it was a dream come true to watch her daughters and students catch the vision for how journalism makes an impact on the world and want to be a part of it. 

Gilmore-Young started out in journalism as a high school student and went on to become the editor-in-chief of her college newspaper and a features reporter published in more than 20 newspapers around the country, including The Fresno Bee. At the CSPA conference, she taught sessions on “Compelling Feature Writing” and “Nailing the Interview” with student help from Arndt, Sanjay Stephen and Chloe McDonald.

“This was such a joy to be able to teach workshops and collaborate with Fresno Christian students, including my two daughters,” Gilmore-Young said. “I loved seeing our students light up as they generously shared their marketable skills with other journalism teams around the country.”

James will teach a week long in-depth version of her “Digital Media Toolbox” during the CSPA Summer Journalism Workshop in New York City this summer, June 23-28.

The last night in the Big Apple culminated with a celebratory family style dinner at Ainslie Bowery restaurant. The team dressed up and reminisced over Italian food about all of their New York City adventures while dreaming about the future of The Feather.

To read about The Feather’s trip in the city that never sleeps, visit: 

The Feather returns to New York 2024: Day 1

The Feather tours New York City 2024: Day 2

-The Feather expands touring to Brooklyn: Day 3

-The Feather attends conference in New York City: Day 4

The Feather teaches in New York 2024: Day 5

To read more from The Feather, visit Malala Yousafazi speaks up about women’s education or Basketball Wrap-up

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About the Contributors
Miracle Neal
Miracle Neal, Editor in Chief
Second year Feather Veteran, Miracle Neal is a Senior, lifer, and varsity girls soccer captain at Fresno Christian Schools. Neal fully devotes herself to her work, proving to be a hard-working person as she juggles an AP class, college classes at Clovis Community, and playing with the Albion Soccer Club. She continues her journey with The Feather to further develop confidence and people skills she hopes to apply in her future profession as a pediatrician. In her free time, she enjoys indulging in psychology books trying to grasp how her mind and others function.    
Benson Elbert
Benson Elbert, Photojournalist
Benson Elbert, ‘26 is an aspiring first year photojournalist for The Feather. Elbert aspires to improve his writing and photography skills with help from the team. He has worked in his family's breakfast restaurant, Batter Up Pancakes,  since he was a kid. Elbert has also led the campus through the leadership class since his freshman year, hoping to continue to lead till senior year. After high school he aspires to be a computer programmer and design videogames.
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