McLean High School senior Melanie Pincus was named Virginia High School League’s (VHSL) 2017 Student Journalist of the Year and is also the recipient of the Charles Savedge Scholarship.
Pincus was the unanimous choice of a three-person selection committee composed of two college journalism educators and one professional journalist. Judges awarded her VHSL’s highest honor for taking on a complicated topic (the Fairfax County Public School budget) and making it easy to understand for casual readers, conducting and recording good interviews and for her efforts to teach media literacy to students at nearby Longfellow Middle School.
Pincus is editor-in-chief of McLean’s newsmagazine, The Highlander, where she oversees 45 student journalists. She is also a member of the Quill and Scroll International Journalism Honor Society and is a newsroom intern for The Connection Newspapers. According to her adviser, Lindsay Benedict, Pincus is an organized and motivating leader who regularly works with reporters on the staff to help fine-tune their journalistic skills.
Pincus also leads by example with strong work in the field. When a gun store opened in her community, Pincus jumped on the opportunity report about its presence. She headed to the store with planned interview questions, acquired quality pictures, found reliable sources to draw information from and quickly got that information posted on the newsmagazine’s website. After coordinating efforts with staff members, the story was written with the multiple perspectives including the protesters, the gun store owner, police and school officials. The story won first place in newswriting in the VHSL Multimedia Contest.
Schools from all six VHSL groups nominated students for this annual award. Group 6A, of which McLean High School is part, submitted the highest number of nominations with seven.