Newberry up for national story of the year award; student newspaper nominated for Pacemaker

One student journalist from Wenatchee High School faced a tough challenge last year: reporting on a delicate subject, slogging through police reports and meeting resistance from a variety of sources. He diligently followed the story throughout the school year, delivering updates throughout the hearings and trials.

2015 graduate and Online Editor for The Apple Leaf, Bryce Newberry, had one of his stories, “Bus trip assault chaos caught on video” nominated for the NSPA (National Scholastic Press Association) news Story of the Year. His story is one of eight nominated for the news category. Newberry had already won Washington state’s Lu Flannery Scholarship for outstanding journalism last spring.

Senior Bryce Newberry
WHS graduate Bryce Newberry

In 2012, WHS graduate and former managing features editor of The Apple Leaf, Holly Thorpe, won the national Story of the Year award for her work on the WHS swimming pool drowning.

The Apple Leaf was also nominated for the third time in a row for the NSPA Pacemaker in the tabloid division this year. The winners for all of the categories will be announced at the national convention at Orlando on Nov. 12-15.

Newberry said working on the bus assault story was intense.

“[The rape case] was an entire school year of reporting and following up on things. [“Bus trip assault chaos caught on video”] was probably the combination of about two weeks of work and waiting for records to come in,” Newberry said.

Not only was acquiring reliable information time consuming and difficult, but discussing and writing about such a topic in a school newspaper presented challenges as well.

“It was such a tough story for the school and the community, so obviously it was a tough story for any reporter to have to cover and talk to people about,” Newberry said. “There were a lot of challenges. People were reluctant to talk about it in the first place, secondly it was a school … paper and that topic wasn’t necessarily in the best interest of the school district.”

Throughout the reporting process Newberry had to approach the fragile topic with care and accuracy.

“My goal the whole time was to make sure that all of the facts were laid out as accurately as possible,” Newberry said.

WHS Journalism Adviser Dave Riggs identified Newberry’s journalistic skills early on, and sees him as one of the most competent staff members of The Apple Leaf that he has ever worked with. Newberry is now a freshman at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

“When I think of Bryce I think of … how aggressive and persistent he was as reporter. He had some of the greatest reporting skills of any staffer we have ever had,” Riggs said.