Three student journalists selected as winners of the Best Stories of Summer contest

Three student journalists selected as winners of the Best Stories of Summer contest

October 08, 2019

Luke Gamble, Savannah Sicurella and Tyler Wilkins were selected as the 2019 winners of the “Best Stories of Summer” contest.

The annual contest, sponsored by Grady College’s Department of Journalism, asks interested students to submit stories written as part of a summer internship. The submissions, which can be formatted for print, digital or television, are then evaluated by a committee of faculty members.

When evaluating submissions, the committee looks for pieces that exemplify “high quality, accurate, ethical journalism,” according to Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism.

Gamble, a senior journalism student, interned at Fox 5 News this summer, and was recognized for his television segment “Falcons Quarterback Learning a New Game and a New Language.” The story focused on Falcons player Kurt Benkert and the friendship he’s developed with a deaf 13-year-old over the video game Fortnite.

Gamble’s two-and-a-half months at Fox 5 News gave him the opportunity to work in the field on a regular basis and gain hands-on broadcast experience.

“It feels great to be recognized for my work,” Gamble said. “Grady College has some of the hardest working students on campus, and in the country, and I couldn’t be more honored to be recognized among some of the best student journalists in the country.”

Sicurella worked for Paste magazine over the summer and described the experience as “magic.” She wrote hundreds of stories over the summer, often writing six to seven shorter pieces a day and long-form reviews in her free time.

Her story, “What ‘Euphoria’s’ Grimdark Aesthetic Says About the Evolution of Teen Dramas,”studied the new HBO series starring Zendaya Coleman. Sicurella said this piece stood out to her when choosing which to submit because she invested a lot of time into writing it.

The junior majoring in journalism was excited that Grady acknowledged a piece that was culturally focused, pointing out that the genre is sometimes overlooked.

“Though often dwarfed by more pressing or timely news coverage, culture criticism and feature writing are still important,” Sicurella said.

As a summer intern at the Lake Oconee News, Wilkins, a junior journalism major, wrote “Income Inequality: U.S. Census Bureau data shows Greene County as having the highest level of income inequality in Georgia.” The story can be read by following these links: page one, page two.

“I spent approximately a month digging through U.S. census data and convincing local government officials to go on the record about income inequality,” Wilkins said. “I felt it was an important topic that most people in the county knew, but no one had reported on.”

Wilkins said his experience at the Lake Oconee News taught him about the nuance of reporting on sensitive topics in a small community and affirmed his decision to pursue a career in journalism.

Gamble, Sicurella and Wilkins each received $250 for winning the competition.