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Two Students Recognized by the New England Newspaper and Press Association

Submitted by on March 25, 2024 – 6:16 pm

Waltham, MA (March 23, 2024) – The New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) recently honored two student staff members of the Northern Essex Community College Observer student newspaper. Observer News Editor Daniela Valdivia-Terres of Chelmsford won first place for best news story and Editor-in-Chief/Opinion Editor Kim Zappala of Haverhill won second place for best opinion page in the college division of the Better Newspaper Competition awards banquet March 23 at the Westin in Waltham. They were competing against students from colleges and universities throughout New England. Finalists in their categories included students from Northeastern University, Bowdoin College, Framingham State University and Quinnipiac University.

Observer News Editor Daniela Valdivia-Terres and Editor-in-Chief/Opinion Editor Kim Zappala

“I am so proud of Kim and Daniela. They work so hard on their stories for the Observer and these awards recognize their dedication to the craft of journalism,” said Mary Jo Shafer, NECC Journalism/Communication program coordinator and faculty adviser to the NECC Observer. “Daniela puts in long hours covering the news stories that are important and relevant to our students. Kim manages double duty as editor-in-chief and opinion editor and her opinion pages always offer a vibrant, factual and feisty take on the politics of the day, highlighting the importance of civic engagement.”

Shafer said it is particularly exciting that their work is being honored alongside students from universities and colleges throughout New England.

“It shows how strong Kim and Daniela’s work is and the important role the Observer plays in our campus community,” she said.

Observer News Editor Daniela Valdivia-Terres, Faculty Adviser Mary Jo Shafer, Editor-in-Chief/Opinion Editor Kim Zappala, Sports Editor Daniel Henrick and Arts and Entertainment Editor Shaun Hood

Observer Arts and Entertainment Editor Shaun Hood of Groveland and Sports Editor Daniel Henrick of Haverhill also attended the NENPA convention on March 23, taking workshops on topics including data journalism, an introduction to using artificial intelligence, fact-checking and the election, mobile storytelling and investigative reporting. They also attended a screening of the documentary “Bad Press,” about a fight for press freedom against state-censored media and a Q&A session with the reporter featured in the film and its director.

The Observer is published monthly during the academic year by NECC journalism students. 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 a member of the Associated Collegiate Press, College Media Advertisers, Inc., the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and the New England Press Association.

To learn more about NECC’s Journalism/Communications program, visit the website or contact Mary Jo Shafer via email.