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Students' Stories on Homelessness Win 2014 Barr Awards

Two student journalists who each wrote detailed, moving accounts of homelessness in their communities are the 2014 winners of TNG-CWA's David S. Barr Award.

Two student journalists who each wrote detailed, moving accounts of homelessness in their communities are the 2014 winners of TNG-CWA's David S. Barr Award.

Victor Ferreira, who just graduated from Toronto's Ryerson University School of Journalism, is the college winner for his article, "Toronto's Missing Shelter Beds" published in the online magazine, "The Grid." Rachel C. Hartwick from Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio, won for "Home (Isn't) Where the Heart Is," published in her high school newsmagazine, "Spark," where she is the features and broadcast managing editor.

The awards are given in honor of the Guild's late lawyer, David S. Barr, a champion of social justice. Judges look not only for outstanding work, but stories that reflect Barr's values. The college winner receives $1,500; the high school winner, $1,000.

 

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Victor Ferreira and Rachel C. Hartwick.

 

One of the three professional journalists who judged the 2014 contest, Janet Weyandt of the Sheboygan Press, said the panel was impressed "by the level of professional enterprise that is rare in college and especially high school publications. These weren't emotional appeals trying to sway readers to feel a certain way, these were well-researched and very well written stories that dug into serious issues and explained them in a way that resonated with me as the reader."

Though no union ties are necessary to win the Barr award, this year both winners have parents who are union members – Hartwick's mother is a unionized teacher and Ferreira's father belongs to Toronto's Carpenters local. And both students said they like the idea of being a professional journalist with union protections.

"I think there is a necessity for journalists to be unionized in the modern workplace," Ferreira said. "Because of the tough times our industry is currently facing, having a union such as the Guild to look after our best interests is crucial. There are many examples of journalists being underpaid, losing work, and operating in unfair working conditions. I can definitely see myself being a part of the Guild in the future."

Click here for college winner Victor Ferreira's winning article, "Toronto's Missing Shelter Beds."

Click here for high school winner Rachel C. Hartwick's winning article, "Home (Isn't) Where the Heart Is."