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NLP Students Participate in Announcement of Pulitzer Prize Winners

A select group of students in the News Literacy Project’s New York classroom program demonstrated their news literacy know-how and journalistic skills Monday when they joined the national press corps at Columbia University’s Pulitzer Hall for the announcement of the centennial year Pulitzer Prizes.

Two of the students, Isabella Cordero and Gretta Yagudayeva, jumped at the chance to pose questions to Pulitzer Prize administrator Mike Pride shortly after he announced this year’s winners at a news event that was live-streamed on Facebook.

Isabella and Gretta are high school seniors and co-editors-in-chief of The Murrow Network, the award-winning student newspaper of Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn. They came to the event with their teacher and long-time NLP partner, Scott Menscher.

After introducing herself as being from the school and with the News     Literacy Project, Isabella asked, “Do you think it's important that the   winners reflect what's currently going on in the news, like issues about gender, race and social awareness?”

Pride responded by saying that he hopes to end up with a lineup of Pulitzer recipients that “really does reflect what’s going on in the world today and actually sheds new light on the subjects of the stories.”

Gretta followed up by inquiring about how technology affects the way people consume news: “How do you think that social media in particular changed the way that we perceive news nowadays?” It was an exemplary question grounded in news literacy.

Pride said that social media offers great advantages, but he also underscored the need for journalists to step back and analyze events. He praised this year’s winners for doing just that. “I think most of stories here show that with time and the ability to step back a little bit from events, reporters are telling what really happened,” he said.

Stephanie Sileo, who was the third NLP student in attendance and was representing Cristo Rey New York High School in East Harlem, joined Isabella and Gretta after the press conference to continue the conversation with Pride. Together, the students asked him about the decision-making that goes into selecting the winners — material for their individual writing assignments that they are completing for consideration by the Pulitzer Centennial Committee.

The opportunity for students to attend the prestigious announcement was part of NLP’s partnership with the Pulitzer Prize Centennial celebration of “100 years of excellence in journalism and the arts.”

Watch the 2016 Pulitzer Prizes announcement on YouTube, and check out the NLP students’ questions starting at 29:45.