PITTSBURG — The “Pittsburg Six” were selected as the 2018 winners of the Journalism Education Association Student Journalist Impact Award.

The award was created in 1993 to recognize journalism students who “made a difference in their own lives, the lives of others, the school they attend and/or the community in which they reside,” a release said.

The award will be presented to Trina Paul, Patrick Sullivan, Connor Balthazor, Kali Poenitske, Maddie Baden and Gina Mathew, of Pittsburg High School’s The Booster Redux, who found discrepancies in their new principal Amy Robertson’s educational background. They spent three weeks researching Robertson’s background and published their findings in the Booster.
The students will be going to the JEA Spring Convention in April at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in San Francisco, California.

“These student journalists have clearly demonstrated the power of the student press and the impact it can have,” Chair of the Impact Award panel Kenson Siver said. “Their coverage was thoroughly researched, well written and then became a national news story covered by the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, CBS Morning News, Good Morning America and many other media outlets.”

The students said they were honored to receive the award.

“The award is a big honor for us, with all the stuff that happened last year this is the first big award regarding the story,” Balthazor said. “This is a huge honor to be getting an award from the journalist community.”

Poenitske agreed.

“It shows we did the right thing,” she said.

The students said the award means a lot, but the difference they made means a lot more.

“This is even more special to me than some big trophy, it initiated change in other schools, that means so much more than that,” Sullivan said.

Booster advisor Emily Smith applauded the students work and thanked the district for the reference letter.

“To be included in the Journalism Education Association conference is a big honor for them,” she said.

There will also be a special recognition for the reporting by the Eagle Eye staff, the student newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who launched a national discussion on gun control, school safety and the political influence of the National Rifle Association.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.