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Philadelphia Reporter Recognized for Journalistic Excellence

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The School of Global Journalism and Communication (SGJC) at Morgan State University (MSU) will award its 2018 Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence to Helen Ubiñas, an award-winning columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

Helen Ubiñas

Praised for her tenacious, fearless and compassionate reporting, Ubiñas will receive the Vernon Jarrett Medal and a check for $10,000 in a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 20.

“I am honored and humbled to be the recipient of the 2018 Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence,” said Ubiñas. “As a journalist of color, I share the late Vernon Jarrett’s mission to use journalism to explore, educate and elevate the stories of people whose voices get overlooked and ignored. This award will only inspire me to continue to use my platform to amplify their voices.”

The Vernon Jarrett Medal is awarded to journalists whose stories are of significant importance or had a significant impact on Black life in America, according to MSU.

Ubiñas has repeatedly reported on gun violence and its impact on Philadelphia youth. As a result of her work, students have joined the National School Walkout, participated in the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. and they have spoken out to share their frustrations about gun violence, said Maureen Boland, a ninth-grade English teacher who nominated Ubiñas for the award.

The journalist has also won numerous awards and honors, including the prestigious John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University and a team Pulitzer Prize for breaking news during her time at the Hartford Courant, where she became the publication’s first Latina news columnist in 2000.

“The goal of the serious journalist is not only ‘to seek truth and report it,’ but also for their work to have a real impact,” said SGJC dean DeWayne Wickham. “In awarding Helen Ubiñas the 2018 Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence, we believe she has produced exemplary reporting on a troubling aspect of Black life, the impact of gun violence on Black schoolchildren in Philadelphia, that demands our attention and merits this recognition.”

Tiffany Pennamon can be reached at tpennamon@diverseeducation.com. You can follow her on Twitter @tiffanypennamon.

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