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April 2, 2007

 

Tattoo writers in El Salvador, Louisiana capture journalism awards

At this year's hotly competitive Scholastic Press Forum at American International College in Springfield, Mass., El Salvador teen Oscar Ramirez snagged top honors in the news category for his piece last spring about the operator of a shelter for young people who was on the lam after the death of a baby.

Ramirez's piece, which ran in both English and Spanish, provided a comprehensive view of what life was like inside the shelter before its operator took the remaining children and fled authorities.

The competition drew more than 2,500 entries from students at more than 400 high schools, said Will Hughes, director of the journalism program at American Ineternational College.

"The competition was really stiff," Hughes said. "To even get an honorable mention is a pretty cool thing."

The Tattoo also snagged two awards in this year’s “very competitive” Suburban Newspapers of America annual contest that drew more than 2,000 entries from across the country.

Tattoo writer Samantha Perez’s “Fleeing Katrina” won top honors as the best feature to appear in the previous year in a small daily newspaper.

Perez wrote the equivalent of a small book in many special issues of The Tattoo that detailed her experience as a refugee from hard-hit St. Bernard Parish, a town just outside New Orleans.

In her Hurricane Journal, which she began writing the day Katrina slammed ashore in Louisiana in August 2005, Perez wrote of what she lost – her community as well as personal possessions – and what she gained: a new sense of strength and courage.

The Tattoo got third place in the “Best Young People’s Coverage” category, an honor it has won twice in the past.

Gregory Bean, executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers in New Jersey said  in his papers that "the contest has been growing by leaps and bounds, and this year there were 18 percent more entries than last. That means that the competition from around this country and Canada for each award is intense."

Judging was done by the American Press Institute, according to a press release from Kim Cole, the SNA marking manager and contests coordinator.

Winners will be recognized at the annual SNA Awards Banquet in September.   A two-page, four-color spread will also appear in the October issue of Editor & Publisher highlighting the winners, according to the association.

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