Campbell, PG Journal recognized for local education reporting

By: Staff Reports | Twitter: @PGJournal
Posted: August 31, 2019 | 12:30 p.m.

PRINCE GEORGE – The Prince George Journal and News Editor Michael Campbell were both recognized by the Prince George School Board for their education reporting in the county as part of the Virginia School Boards Association’s Media Honor Roll Program.

During their meeting this month, the Prince George School Board presented Campbell with a certificate that recognize the news editor for “fair and balanced reporting on school division and education-related topics” following their recommendation to have Campbell named to the VSBA’s Media Honor Roll, which will be published in the organization’s newsletter later this fall.

“Prince George County Public Schools recognize that reporters and local media outlets play an important role in public education,” Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff said. “School division leaders rely on responsible reporting by local media representatives so that our community members receive timely information about division initiatives and programs. Considering the impact that media coverage can have on community attitudes and beliefs, the Media Honor Roll was created to recognize fair and balanced reporting about our schools and Virginia’s public education system.”

The criteria considered as part of the recognition, according to the VSBA, includes making an effort to get the know the superintendent and school board chairman, understanding the school system’s missions and goals, reporting news in a manner that is “fair, accurate, and balanced,” “giving a high-profile position to good news about schools, and being present at schools and meetings.

Over the last year, Campbell has spent time with the school division covering the final year of now-retired former superintendent Renee Williams and the appointment of Dr. Pennycuff as PGCPS’ new leader.

In addition, Campbell, as news editor, regularly interviewed Prince George School Board Chairman Robert Cox, Jr. and school division representatives regarding specific topics, such as after mold and other airborne contaminants were found at Walton Elementary School, seeking to learn how the school division is addressing parental and employee concerns during and after the February 2019 clean-up.

Having served as The Journal’s news editor since late 2016, Campbell has been involved in reporting on details relating to plans for a new elementary school in Prince George County, the idea of which was presented two years ago, engaging in interviews with school board members, PGCPS’ leadership, and members of the county board and its staff to provide in-depth articles on the topic.

As part of The Journal’s efforts to provide detailed schools coverage, starting last year, in line with the first week of school, interviews with school leaders are showcased during a special “Back-To-School” edition of the newspaper, discussing a wide-range of topics that affect PGCPS and its stakeholders.

“On behalf of the school board, we thank you for the way you treat us – fairly,” Prince George School Board Vice Chair Lewis Stevenson said.

Campbell, receiving a similar recognition from the Prince George School Board and VSBA in 2018, was humbled by the distinction.

“I thank the Prince George School Board for this and it’s something I don’t take lightly,” he said. “People say they don’t do a job for praise and that is true for me. I do it because I believe in providing information to the communities I serve.”

He continued, “One of the things I remember from my childhood is spending time with my grandmother and she always sought information – be it from the news, books, or other things, and she loved children so, while I am sad she isn’t with us to see me earn this special recognition, I am proud to be able to do work that I am sure she would be proud to see me doing.”

Campbell, who also serves as news editor for The Dinwiddie Monitor newspaper has also been recommended to be added to the VSBA’s 2019 Media Honor Roll by the Dinwiddie County School Board via a unanimous resolution adoption this summer.

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