Gazette wins big

Granite Bay High School student newspaper honored at national level
By: Sena Christian, Staff Reporter
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Haley “Graph” Massara appreciates that for at least one period every day, she will go into class and know exactly what she’s doing, and she’ll share her knowledge with others.

She’ll write articles, edit the work of her peers, design pages and brainstorm investigative story ideas all in a day’s work as co-editor-in-chief of Granite Bay High School’s student newspaper, the Gazette.

“It changed high school for me,” Massara said. “I can honestly say I don’t know who I would be without (journalism).”

Massara recently finished third in the Journalism Education Association Northern California High School Journalist of the Year competition, earning a $300 scholarship. This marks one more award in a long line of honors for Gazette staff through the years.

On March 22, in New York City, the Gazette won a Gold Crown Award given by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association to recognize scholastic journalism excellence. The Gazette was one of 13 high school newspapers nationally to win a Gold Crown for issues published last year.

This is the Gazette’s sixth Gold Crown since the newspaper was established in 1998, according to Principal Mike McGuire. The Gold Crown is considered one of the most prestigious general awards in American scholastic journalism.

Additionally, the Gazette is a finalist in the California Newspaper Publishers Association general excellence competition, with winners to be announced April 27. Two students are also finalists for their photos and sport stories.

“Graph,” as Massara’s staff calls her, joined the journalism class freshman year and is now a senior and ready to head to the University of California at Berkeley, where she plans to major in Japanese and one day work in Japan as a foreign correspondent for a major news organization.

“My favorite thing about it is, ironically, the deadline,” Massara said, of working for the Gazette. “I’ve always been a writer, but I need that discipline.”

Sure, she may spend Friday evenings in frustration as the staff tries to put the paper to bed, but in the end, they produce something of value, she said.

Massara attributes her newspaper’s honors to the fact that students raise funds themselves — each of the 42 teens in the class has an advertising revenue requirement, as well — and to their teacher, Karl Grubaugh, who gives them the guidance to write about what interests them.

Fellow co-editor Lena Eyen also praises Grubaugh as a great coach.

“So much credit goes to Mr. Grubaugh,” Eyen said. “He does a great job of demonstrating how to do things, but letting us figure it out … It’s structured freedom.”

Grubaugh has been with Granite Bay High School since 1998, besides a two-year gap. He worked for many years as a sports stringer for the Santa Cruz Sentinel and has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.

Eyen, a senior, said being on the newspaper staff has given her the opportunity to express herself through the written word and exercise her First Amendment rights. The article she is most proud of is one she wrote about how religion affects people’s politics during last year’s presidential election.

“It’s such a rewarding experience,” she said. “I’ve had to learn so much on how to work with people and learn to be a leader.”

Co-editor Chris Pei is serving his second year on the newspaper staff. He’s now a senior.

“It’s nice to have a foil to academics, and something you can work on and have in your hands at the end of the day that’s tangible,” Pei said.

Co-editor Nicole Bales has also been with the Gazette since her junior year, and said the editing experience has taught her how to work to develop other people’s strengths.

“Besides growing as a writer and editor, I definitely learned how to work with people and developed a lot of great relationships,” she said.

Bales plans to major in journalism at the University of Oregon, and one day become an investigative reporter.