2023 Fred Ross Systemic Change Student Journalism Competition

NSPA honors winners in the inaugural Fred Ross competition

Nov. 4, 2023

National Scholastic Press Association and Foundation for Systemic Change are pleased to announce the winners of the first Fred Ross Systemic Change Student Journalism Competition.

Winners were announced during the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 4, in Boston.

Named for Fred Ross, the renowned advocate and organizer who trained and mentored leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to become iconic grassroots organizers, the competition is for high school journalists whose work includes reporting on tangible, systemic strategies being employed in their communities to fully address today’s seemingly intractable challenges — whether climate change, violence and hate, polarization, LGBTQ+ issues, threatened democracy and other complex issues.

Submissions came from high school students across the country and covered topics such as union negotiations, local food insecurity, antisemitism, environmental justice and much more through mediums such as traditional print, websites, documentaries and short-form videos.

In its inaugural year, 125 entries from high school students across the country included  topics such as union negotiation, food insecurity, environmental justice and more.

This year’s winners are below, with links to their award-winning reporting.

First-, second- and third-place winners are awarded cash prizes $1,000, $500 and $200 respectively. 

To bolster the reporting competition, the foundation offers online workshops and industry-recognized advisers for student journalists who consider participating.

The 2023 competition launches today, with entries to be submitted by June 2024, in conjunction with NSPA’s Individual Awards competition. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 7-10, 2024, in Philadelphia.

Sign-up for mentorship opportunities and submit reporting on the Foundation for Systemic Change website. 

Learn more about the competition and Fred Ross on the Foundation for Systemic Change website.

Fred Ross Systemic Change Journalism Competition

First Place
Abraham John Naser
Lick-Wilmerding High School
San Francisco, California
Blossoming Hope: A Cultivating Journey Towards Food Justice in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point Neighborhood

Second Place
Elaine Jiang, Kara Kim
Scot Scoop
Carlmont High School
Belmont, California
A national labor movement: The journey towards better working conditions

Third Place
MacKenzie Bunn
The Viking
Loudoun Valley High School
Purcellville, Virginia
Organizing the Sept. 27 Walkout: Five minutes with Charlie Northedge

Fourth Place
Chloe Sow
The Downtown School
Seattle, Washington
Liberal Hypocrisy In Seattle

Fifth Place
Ella De Young, Marie Stier
West Side Story
Iowa City West High School
Iowa City, Iowa
Next meal

Honorable mentions

Lauren Chuu, Krish Dev
El Estoque, Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, California
Solving the unhoused crisis

Carly Philpott, Peter Philpott
The Union St. Journal, Cherry Creek High School, Greenwood Village, Colorado
Jeff Boyce Is No Longer Remaining Apolitical

Izzy Krauss, Carly Philpott, Quinn Rudnick
In-Depth, East High School, Denver, Colorado
The Breaking Point

Jonah McMillen, Sydney Moore, Debby Oluwole, Jon Wallace Teller,  Sarah Wright
CPA Media Studio, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville, Tennessee
The Clean Water Act Feature Story

Elizabeth Hu, Lucy Walker
The Review, St. John’s School, Houston, Texas
Alum’s open letter entreats SJS community to protect trans children