Melanie Pincus of McLean High School has been named the Virginia Journalist of the Year by the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers (VAJTA). Pincus is in her second year as editor-in-chief of The Highlander newsmagazine. She will compete for the Journalism Education Association’s national award this spring.
Winners of second and third place honors in the competition are also Fairfax County Public Schools students. Teagan Foti of Annandale High School won second place honors in the statewide competition and Nina Raneses of West Potomac High School won third place.
Judges cited Pincus for her passion for reporting the news and for conducting outreach to middle school students to spread awareness of high school journalism and to provide information about media literacy. She was also praised for her writing style, use of sources, professionalism in reporting about timely topics, skill at editing and providing feedback to colleagues, and keeping lines of communication open with the principal.
One judge stated, “Pincus’ portfolio looks like that of a college senior, with internships, awards, and hard news reporting that shows a hunger and knack for telling important stories. She takes stories that might appear mundane, such as teacher salaries, and explains them in a way that her readership will find compelling.”