Three-peat as BP wins third Gold Crown, Rockower prizes


Jordan Levine

CROWNED: Seniors Goldie Fields, Nicole Feder and Margo Feuer collect the Gold Crown Award at CSPA conference in March 20 New York.

By Elon Glouberman, Staff Writer

The Boiling Point added a wide range of national awards to its virtual trophy case this spring, with four staff members winning national high school Quill & Scroll awards and five earning a Simon J. Rockower Award in competition English-speaking Jewish journalists across the globe.

Led by editors Goldie Fields, Alexa Fishman, Margo Feuer and Nicole Feder, the staff as a whole also won its third consecutive Gold Crown award, the highest award given by the New York-based Columbia Scholastic Press Association, in the hybrid category for publications that publish both online and in print.

Additionally, the Boiling Point’s website was for the first time nominated as an Online Pacemaker Finalist by the National Scholastic Press Association, in the category of schools up to 5,000 students.  Although they didn’t win, only 12 websites were nominated for the prize, which recognizes websites for excellence in concept, writing, editing, photography, design and interactivity.

“Getting awards validates that the BP is doing what it needs to be doing to adequately cover the news both within our community and outside of our community,” said Executive Editor Goldie Fields. “We really do have a fully functioning newspaper and a dedicated staff and a dedicated adviser.”

The Quill and Scroll Award winners were recognized in the group’s 2015 International Writing and Photo Contest, in the categories opinion writing and news writing.   Junior Eric Bazak won a National News Writing Award for his report on the LAPD’s delay in responding to a home-invasion robbery experienced by an alumna last summer.

In the same contest, three students – seniors Josh Goldner and Shana Chriki and junior Micah Gill – all won National Opinion Writing awards. Josh won for his defense of satire in “From Charlie Chaplin to Charlie Hebdo, satire is a crucial force for change.”

Shana won for her family’s personal experience with the agunah problem, titled “Lonna Kin, my grandmother and me.”  The awards were announced in Town Hall.

Micah won for one of his fashion columns, this one titled “What We’re Wearing: A note on girls’ fashion.”

“I was in shock and awe,” Micah said later. “I was in Town Hall and I wasn’t really paying attention to the announcement and I heard my name. I thought Mrs. Keene was playing a joke on me.”

The Quill and Scroll Awards competition is judged by members of the American Society of News Editors. There were a total of 2,134 entries from high schools mostly in the U.S., and 237 national awards were given.

As for the Simon J. Rockower Awards, Alec Fields, Goldie Fields, Jonah Gill, Mati Hurwitz and Noah Rothman collectively won Second Prize, Boris Smolar Award for Excellence in Enterprise of Investigative Reporting.  Collectively titled “Summer of War,” they wrote a total of nine stories on various aspects of the war between Israel and Gaza last summer.

The Rockower Awards are sponsored by the American Jewish Press Association. The Boiling Point is the group’s only student member, and so it wins in direct competition with professional media.

Jonah wrote an overview of Los Angeles’ perspective on the war, including Shalhevet alumni who fought for Israel in combat, while Noah and Mati investigated how halacha would pertain. Jonah also wrote about Muslim teens and their ties to the war in Gaza.

Noah also wrote three blog accounts of his Jewish summer program in Israel during the war, and Goldie wrote about helping underprivileged Israeli children through it in Netanya.  Her brother Alec investigated Hollywood’s involvement and reaction.

“We gave the facts of what war looked like from an halachic point of view,” said Noah in an interview. “We had kids in Israel for the summer who were actually the same age as kids who were fighting in the war, and they were able to give a first-person account for what was happening.”

“It feels so good to be awarded for the things you write,” he added.

Nicole Feder, Website Editor-in-Chief, said the Online Pacemaker nomination was a team effort.

“I was really happy especially because it was my senior year and all the hard work that Mrs. Keene and the whole team put into these past few years became worthwhile,” Nicole said in a phone interview.

“What helped us was attending various [national journalism] conferences, which gave me information for the latest and new innovative things to do for the website, as well as its new appearance.”

The Boiling Point website is about six years old and this is Nicole’s second year as Web Editor-in-Chief.  While the actual articles and stories on the website have to be interesting, the National Scholastic Press Association judges also consider audience interaction, photography, multimedia and graphics.

Kristen Chang, NSPA website, contest and critique coordinator, said it takes skill and lots of time.

“It’s not easy for students to produce quality journalism on a continuous schedule with so many other demands on their time,” said Ms. Chang. “These programs bring together the best reporting, writing, photography, design and video skills, and provide a fantastic learning environment for students.”

Another judge, whose identity is kept anonymous to preserve the fairness and impartiality of the contest, told the NSPA’s website that online news excellence is particularly important.

“The narrow margins between this year’s finalists are an encouraging indicator of journalism’s exciting future,” he or she stated on the NSPA website.