Young Journalists of the Year Selected

In Association News On

From Missouri Press Association            
July 27, 2012

Doug Crews, Executive Director
Missouri Press Association

Outstanding Young Journalists to be honored

Two journalists — from the Christian County Headliner News in Ozark and The Joplin Globe — have been selected to receive Missouri Outstanding Young Journalist awards from the Missouri Press Association. Five other young journalists will receive Awards of Merit.

Phil Conger, president of MPA, announced Brady Brite of Ozark and Emily Younker of Joplin will receive their awards on Sept. 22 in Columbia during the MPA’s annual awards luncheon.

"This is the fourth year for these awards," said Conger, publisher of the Bethany Republican-Clipper. "The Missouri Press Association congratulates Brady and Emily for their excellent news reporting and editing skills in their communities."

Brady Brite has worked at the Ozark weekly since December 2008. He is involved in reporting, photographing all major events, writing columns, covering multiple beats independently and fully maintaining the newspaper’s website.

Donna Osborn, editor of the Headliner News, said Brady "listens, is eager to learn and improve and always gives 100 percent on any assignment. He pays careful attention to detail and is sensitive to his subjects.

"Brady has a talent to turn the mundane into the interesting," Osborn said. "He knows a good journalist can find an angle that turns an average story into a good one."

Brite tenaciously pursued one of 2011’s most interesting national news stories — Pensmore Manor — by first breaking the news of construction on the 72,000 square-foot single-family dwelling in the county on the pages of the Headliner News, Osborn said.

"His online report went viral. He followed up with more information as it became available, eventually nailing down the elusive one-on-one interview with the owner," she noted.

The other winner, Emily Younker, is a "precise, fact-driven journalist," said Carol Stark, editor of The Joplin Globe. "She also connects well with people."

Younker was just leaving the auditorium after covering Joplin’s high school graduation ceremonies on May 22, 2011, when tornado sirens sounded. Her assignment from that night on was to tell the tornado story through the eyes of the victims, Stark said.

Each day, Younker went out into the tornado-devastated area, telling stories of heroes and victims, of rebuilding, of hope and of despair.

"Possibly her most important contribution was keeping an accurate list of those who died," Stark said. "She also was assigned to gather photos and personal details of the victims. On June 12, 2011, The Globe published her work, ‘Faces of the Storm,’ which I believe was the most poignant story from the tornado," Stark said.

Younker, who received degrees from Missouri State University and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, joined The Joplin Globe staff in September 2009, covering city government and school board meetings, writing health and wellness features, and making photographs and recording audio/video as needed.

Judges also selected five outstanding young journalists to receive Awards of Merit: Dugan Arnett, The Kansas City Star; Seth Stringer, Sedalia Democrat; Tyler Francke, Branson Tri-Lakes News; Emily Letterman, Christian County Headliner News, Ozark; and Paul Thompson, Jackson County Advocate, Grandview.

Winners of the Outstanding Young Journalist Award have demonstrated excellence in the field of journalism and maintained the quality, ethics and standards of The Journalist’s Creed, written by Walter Williams, founding dean of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Editors or publishers submitted nominations for the awards, and the nominees must have been younger than 30 years old on Jan. 1, 2012.

The aim of the award is to reinforce the importance of a journalist’s role by recognizing and nurturing talent to further promote quality journalism.
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