Greater Allegheny student journalists recognized for excellence

People smiling and holding certificates and a plaque

Melanie McGinniss, Carlin Whalen, and Rosemary Martinelli display awards received during the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania's Golden Quill Awards ceremony.  

Credit: Jayme Gralewski

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — Each time Greater Allegheny student journalists send the campus newspaper, The GA-Zette, to students and employees, they end the email with “Thank you, too, for keeping journalism alive at Greater Allegheny.” Following a strong showing at the Western Pennsylvania Press Club’s 59th Annual Gold Quill Awards event, they could easily edit the sentence to read “award-winning journalism."

The Golden Quill Awards ceremony was held on May 30 at the Events Center at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. The GA-Zette was honored with seven finalist certificates in six categories, and one Golden Quill award.

“Our students competed against other schools whose staffs were larger and whose papers published more often than The GA-Zette,” said Rosemary Martinelli, lecturer in communications and business and adviser to the student newspaper. “For our students to be recognized by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania for their writing and reporting is truly an honor in itself.”

Yousef Ibrahim, who earned a bachelor of arts in communication in May, received the Golden Quill in the Student Excellence in Written Journalism, Criticism, category, for a series of reviews that focused on culture, arts and entertainment. Included in that series was a review of the film “Rashomon,” for which he also received recognition in an earlier state competition

Melanie McGinnis was recognized as a finalist in the same category for her piece entitled “Messado’s Magic Speaks for All,” as was alumnus Riley Perciavalle for his piece titled, “The CUPHEAD SHOW! Modern Rubber Hose Brought With a Wallop.”

Other GA-Zette entries selected as finalists include:

  • Student Excellence in Written Journalism News – Finalist: “The Long-Awaited Eight Miles: Economic Development in Mon Valley ‘Rides’ on Expressway Link,” Melanie McGinniss.
  • Student Excellence in Journalistic Craft Achievement Page Layout/Design Finalist: The Penn State Greater Allegheny GA-Zette, Carlin Whalen, managing editor.
  • Student Excellence in Written Journalism Sports - Finalist: “Love of Sport, Dedication, Excellence: Morton-Rozier and PSUGA Athletics,” Carlin Whalen, managing editor.
  • Student Excellence in Written Journalism Editorials - Finalist: "A Hopeful Year-End Editorial for You,” The Penn State Greater Allegheny GA-Zette News Team.
  • Student Excellence in Written Journalism Columns - Finalist: "Opinion ... From Where I sit:  Robb Elementary Massacre Should Be Calling Card to Act,” Shannon Reid.

Greater Allegheny has had a student newspaper throughout the years, dating back to 1964 when it was published as The Centaurian. After a brief hiatus, student journalism returned to the campus in 2019 when Martinelli recruited staff members to publish The GA-Zette.

“As The GA-Zette turns four years old this fall, I look back on the small group of students who desired to write and report on campus and off campus,” said Martinelli. “They made this newspaper what it is and what it will continue to be: an independent voice that shares facts, reports ethically and in a timely fashion, and seeks to set a stellar example of the importance of local journalism to its readers.”

The Golden Quill Awards honors the best in journalism in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Northern West Virginia. There were more than 1,000 entries received, which were judged by the Los Angeles Press Club.