By: Staff Reports | Email: Click Here
Posted: November 14, 2018 | 12:30 p.m.
PRINCE GEORGE – Prince George Journal News Editor Michael Campbell and writer Meredith Baker were recognized at the October 8 meeting of the Prince George School Board for being placed on the Virginia School Board Association Media Honor Roll.
School Board Chairman Robert Cox Jr. presented the award, saying, “The Prince George County School Board recognizes your fair and balanced reporting on school division and education related topics. Your work has aided this community in focusing on the goal of providing the best public schools that we can for the children who attend them.”
Every year the Virginia School Board Association awards the honor to media representatives they consider outstanding in print, radio, and television based on recommendations by local school boards. According to their website, criteria for honorees include that they make the effort to get to know the superintendent and board chairman, understand the division’s mission and goals, give a high-profile position to good news about schools, regularly visit the schools, report school news in a manner that is fair, accurate, and balanced, and maintain a policy of “no surprises” by sharing information with school representatives.
The VSBA website also describes the reason for establishing the recognition, saying, “Reporters and local media outlets play an important role in public education. 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.
When asked how they felt about the recognition, Baker responded, “I felt honored that they wanted to recognize us. Mr. Cox commented on how Michael and I make sure we have a story correct before we print it.”
Over the last several years, Baker has been a key component of the Journal’s coverage of local school boards, attending and reporting on decisions and discussions had during Prince George and Dinwiddie County school board meetings.
Serving as news editor and reporter, Campbell has been active in reporting education and local government news in Prince George for the last four years after beginning his career as a writer in neighboring Sussex County. His reporting has involved speaking with school leaders about standardized test results, bringing community concerns from parents to members of the school division’s leadership team, and covering the school board’s interaction with the Prince George Board of Supervisors, such as the both sides’ ongoing discussions about a new elementary school in the county.
“It was very humbling,” Campbell said of the recognition. “I work hard to convey the story accurately of everything I report, including the school division. It’s all about relaying information to the community. To be able to provide that service and be recognized for it is something I don’t take lightly. This really drives home the need for community-oriented journalism and gives me the drive to provide that kind of journalism in all areas – not just the school division – that the community needs.”
“Both of them have been very fair to Prince George County Schools,” Cox said, “and I appreciate that.”
To learn more about the Virginia School Board Association, visit their website at http://vsba.org.