MEDIA newsxchange

The Guardian US and Eagle Eye student newspaper of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school have won the Global Youth and News Media Prize.

The Parkland students, who were witnesses to the 14 February shooting that claimed the lives of 17 people, guest-edited the Guardian US during the March for Our Lives movement that was pushing for gun control.

The international award, which was collected at News Xchange yesterday (14 November) by Eagle Eye staff writer Dara Rosen, Eagle Eye faculty adviser Melissa Falkowski and the Guardian US deputy editor and head of strategy Jane Spencer, celebrates organisations as they strengthen engagement between news media and young people, supporting the role of journalism in society.

Jane Spencer explained that the Guardian US wanted to work with the students to keep young voices front and centre in the live coverage of the demonstration.

"After the mass shooting in Las Vegas, we crowdsourced $200,000 to increase and change our coverage of gun violence, and we were looking for unusual lenses through which to tell this story focusing on solutions-oriented coverage," she said.

"When the Parkland shootings happened, we were reading the immediate coverage from the Eagle Eye, and tracked the students down on Twitter.

"We had one news meeting in New York, and then we all met in Washington and the students took the reigns as special correspondents for the Guardian during the demonstration."

Student reporters took control of the Twitter account and the Guardian’s website, publishing a range of articles, including their manifesto of demands, with a call to ban the sale of high velocity semi-automatic weapons, expand background checks, and raise the minimum purchase age of rifles to 21 high on the list.

"These opportunities don't come around too often but I would encourage student journalists to reach out to local news organisations to see what type of projects they can collaborate on," said Melissa Falkowski.

"There is a reciprocal relationship and professional journalists can mentor the next generation while the students help diversify the organisation."

The 2019 edition of the Global Youth and News Media Prize, which is supported by Google, European Journalism Centre and News-Decoder, will include several categories of awards for innovation by news media and other media-related organisations working with or for young people.

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