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NECC Observer Wins Gold Medal from Columbia Scholastic Press Association

Submitted by on May 25, 2022 – 1:52 pm

Haverhill, MA (May 25, 2022) – Northern Essex Community College’s student newspaper, the NECC Observer, was awarded a gold medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for work published during the 2020-2021 school year. During this time the student newspaper did not have a print edition because of the pandemic and stories were posted solely to the website. 

The judges wrote that the Observer should be proud of what the staff accomplished under such difficult circumstances during the pandemic.

Current Editor-in-Chief/Sports Editor Jose Rodriguez of Lawrence and former Editor-in-Chief Isa Grullon of Lawrence in the Observer newsroom .

The Observer was also awarded a gold medal for its work during the 2019-2020 school year, when it was also all online. The newspaper had the additional distinction of All Columbia Honors for receiving an exceptionally high judging score that year.

The NECC Observer is a consistently award-winning student newspaper, but the award feels particularly impactful during the pandemic.

Faculty adviser Mary Jo Shafer says she is proud of all the students who contributed to the Observer, especially former Editor-in-Chief Isa Grullon of Lawrence. Grullon is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree at UMass Boston.

Founded in 1925, the CSPA unites student editors and faculty advisers working with them to produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media. CSPA is owned by Columbia University and operated as a program affiliated with its Graduate School of Journalism.

The NECC Observer is an award-winning newspaper published by NECC journalism students.

The NECC Observer staff works to inform the college community, including students, faculty, and staff. The Observer also serves as a public forum for the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses and accepts letters and guest columns from the college community.

The NECC Observer is funded by the college’s Academic Affairs division, and the newspaper staff receives its training in the college’s Journalism/Communication Program. Journalism/Communications Program Coordinator Mary Jo Shafer, an adjunct instructor, serves as faculty adviser to the newspaper.

To learn more about NECC’s Journalism/Communications program visit the website or reach out to, 978 556-3700.