The Vineyard Gazette and a middle school class from the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School have won a first-place award in the national Newspaper and Education Contest.
The award, announced this week by the National Newspaper Association, recognizes a four-page newspaper about modern day slavery around the world that was written by seventh and eighth-grade students of teacher Jonah Maidoff.
Mr. Maidoff approached the Gazette in March about helping his class, which was studying the history of slavery in the U.S., create a newspaper about the modern day slave trade. Bill Eville, managing editor of the Gazette, met with the students to discuss the reporting and writing process.
Stories written by the students describe child labor abuses on coffee and cacao plantations in Africa and Latin America, forced labor on offshore fishing platforms in Indonesia and use of enslaved workers in building construction in Dubai, among other examples.
“What was really important to the project was that the students were moved by the stories they found and connected to the struggles of people around the world,” said Mr. Maidoff. “I am pleased the students are being recognized for their hard work.”
Students contributing to the special newspaper included Sequoia Ahren, Sashel Blidgen, Keith Chatinover, Max Cordray, Aiden Donovan, Monty Gude, Grace Hall, Gus Nye Hoy, Sydney Jasny, Nina Jephcote, Ruby Jephcote, Ryan Laslovich, Haleigh Marchand, Otto Osmers, Tau E. Rios-Dryfoos, Maia Ponte, Lia Potter Augustus Jackson Digby Rizza, Dash Rozum, Eamon Sales, Lily Tilton and Olin Turnell.
The newspaper was edited by Mr. Eville, produced by Steve Durkee, art director, and printed on-Island in May on the Gazette’s signature broadsheet paper.
The Newspaper and Education Contest recognizes newspapers nationwide that have chosen an important civic literacy, journalism education or school support program and assisted in its success through use of the newspaper’s resources.
Kidsville News!, a literacy and educational newspaper based in Fayetteville, N.C., sponsored the contest. The awards will be presented formally at the National Newspaper Association convention in San Antonio, Tex., in October.