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Talon takes several high honors at YSU press competition

June 5, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Talon, Austintown Fitch High School's student-run newspaper, earned many high honors at the recent Youngstown State University School of Communication competition. The event is open to school newspapers in the Tri-County area. About 10 school newspapers chose to compete.

The Talon won the top award of Best Newspaper this year and The Talon's editor in chief, Taylor Fronk, earned the top individual award of Staff Member of the Year. She also earned recognition for first place in front page layout and design; first place for layout and design for the February issue; and honorable mention editorial for The Importance of Free Press.

Other Falcons taking home honors at the event included Mohammad Ruiz, earning second place for news writing for his piece "Lordstown Shutdown," and Elyssa Molody earning an honorable mention for headline writing for "Moe Dogs Moe Happiness."

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The Talon’s Chief Editor Taylor Fronk, won the top award at the YSU high school press competition for 2019.

Steve Ward, Fitch Language Arts teacher and Talon advisor, said to his knowledge The Talon has competed in the YSU press competition since the mid 2000s.

"Press Day at YSU celebrated its 80th year this year of having high school journalists come down on campus," Ward said. "As for competition, a former [Fitch] adviser, Gina Cardillo, was very successful in competition from mid-2000s through 2012. Previous to Mrs. Cardillo, I am not sure if we competed."

Cardillo won best newspaper in 2008 and 2009. In 2017, Kandace Feorene won Staff Member of the Year. Ward said Fitch has individual award winners in different categories every year that it competed.

While the honors The Talon staff and chief received will go down in the record books, the paper has its own rich history that dates back to its beginnings that date back to 1938 when it was called The Tattle Tale. As far as anyone could tell, the paper changed its name to The Talon in the 1960s because the staff and students wanted the new name.

In modern times, the school newspaper averages a staff of between 10 to 20 who try to set up as close as possible to a newsroom. This school year, Fronk was responsible for holding weekly or bi-weekly meeting to assign stories or give a state of affairs talk. The writers are responsible for content and understanding basic press law. They find out facts and interview students or staff on current events happening locally, nationally, internationally.

According to Ward, the editor in chief has a lot of responsibilities.

"The Chief is usually first an assistant to the current Editor to understand layout, design, spacing, typical article lengths...etc," Ward said. "So Taylor helped trainer four potential candidates. Out of those four for next year, they may go through an interview process with Mr. Jake Reid, journalism teacher, and myself. Ultimately, we will chose the next editor and they will keep their post until they graduate."

He said the students involved with The Talon graduate and take away an understanding of the gravity and weight of the printed word.

"They learn how details matter and if they get it wrong, they are responsible," he said. "They learn how to talk to students, teachers, administration, and adults in a professional manner and how to develop quick thinking skills for follow up questions. Lastly, they know they are doing something that will remain in the archives. We like to look through old articles and talk about them."

As for Talon student staff who went on in the field of journalism, Ward said former editor Mike Cirelli, is currently the multiplatform editor at the Washington Post. Another Fitch Talon graduate, David Drogowski, wrote for the Jambar and wrote for the publication "The Jenny" through the YSU Student Literary Arts Association.



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