Beginning in 2022, the PNA Foundation joined forces with The Lenfest Institute and AT&T to sponsor a Diverse Student Journalist Awards program as part of the Student Keystone Media Awards. In our continuing efforts to recognize, improve and impact diversity, equity and inclusion, this special award honors talented college and high school student journalists, of diverse backgrounds, for outstanding contributions to their newsrooms. Our hope is that the $500 cash award as well as the special recognition will encourage their continued studies and future careers in journalism.

View the list of past Diversity Champion Award Winners.

College Diversity Champion Award

This special award recognizes a talented college student journalist, of a diverse background, for outstanding contributions to their newsroom. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, factors such as: ancestry, color, disability or handicap, race, religious creed, sexual orientation, age, veteran status and economic status. Entry should include three examples of work produced and published in 2023. Could include stories, photos, videos, special projects, use of various platforms and other examples of person’s impact on their newsroom. Entries also can be submitted in other contest categories. Entries will be judged together for overall excellence. Nominating letter (unlimited words) from faculty news adviser/supervising editor required. There is no limit on the number of entries from any news organization or journalist; however, no more than one award will be given each year. Winner will receive a framed certificate and a $500 cash award, sponsored by The Lenfest Institute.

2024 College Diversity Champion Award Winner
sponsored by The Lenfest Institute

Alissa Clausell
Temple University – Philadelphia Neighborhoods

View Alissa’s work

“The stories Alissa pitches and produces are planned, shot, written and edited extremely well. Her respect for the people she covers and her commitment to centering their voices is clear. She is dedicated to producing excellent journalism and to team collaboration in newsroom settings. She consistently supports fellow student journalists who have less experience or confidence. Her newsroom leadership is also reflected in her keen ability to produce news shows. She is a skilled newscast and magazine format line producer.”

From the nomination letter submitted by
Prof. Denise M. James
Journalist Professor at Temple University

High School Diversity Champion Award

This special award recognizes a talented high school student journalist, of a diverse background, for outstanding contributions to their newsroom. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, factors such as: ancestry, color, disability or handicap, race, religious creed, sexual orientation and economic status. Entry should include three examples of work produced and published in 2023. Could include stories, photos, videos, special projects, use of various platforms and other examples of person’s impact on their newsroom. Entries also can be submitted in other contest categories. Entries will be judged together for overall excellence. Nominating letter (unlimited words) from school’s faculty news adviser required. There is no limit on the number of entries from any news organization or journalist; however, no more than one award will be given each year. Winner will receive a framed certificate and a $500 cash award, sponsored by AT&T.

2024 High School Diversity Champion Award
sponsored by AT&T

Ayaan Shah
Emmaus High School – The Stinger

View Ayaan’s work

“Ayaan’s dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment is evident in various aspects of his work. Instrumental in amplifying voices from underrepresented communities in our news coverage, Ayaan leads The Stinger as Editor-in-Chief (one of the youngest in the history of the paper,) focusing on real-world issues and their impact on our local community. The main catalyst in insightful articles and features, Ayaan has insisted on using our platform to shed light on important issues, whether through a spread featuring local pro-Palestine protests and spikes in antisemitism within our school community, stories entailing the school board’s effect on the community, and profiles highlighting alums of diverse backgrounds for their contributions or achievements. Ayaan has a keen ability to explore and communicate these topics with sensitivity and depth, enriching the perspectives presented in our publication. In addition to leading the team, Ayaan has also played a pivotal role in encouraging diversity in our newsroom itself.”

From the nomination letter submitted by
Matt Shaw & Shelby Ramirez
Advisors to The Stinger newspaper