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Dominion HS Senior selected by PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs as one of four student journalists of the year

STERLING, VA —  PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL) has selected four up-and-coming journalists from its nationwide network of high school broadcast programs to be honored at the NETA conference in Washington, DC. Karen Ramos, a senior at Dominion High School, has been selected as one of the four SRL Student Journalists of the Year.


Elis Estrada, Director of SRL, said, “In the spring of 2019, Karen was selected as one of 25 Fellows from across the country to participate in SRL’s yearly student academy. She brought a wealth of knowledge and experience with her and demonstrated keen reporting and video production skills. During her time with Student Reporting Labs, Karen has always contributed invaluable insights on the importance of youth voice in journalism and we’re thrilled to honor her accomplishments with this award.”


Finding out she was selected while at home with the flu, Ramos said, “I was shocked to see I was selected and it was a huge honor to be selected. Seeing how proud they (my family and friends) were of me made me feel more proud. I am just really grateful for this opportunity. I am really grateful for how Dominion has helped me and SRL help me get out there. SRL has helped me realize that I am not just this ordinary high school girl.”


The four chosen student journalists represent different regions of the country, and each embodies the mission of public media to engage, inform and educate.


“We are honored to recognize the SRL Student Journalists of the Year during our conference this year,” said Eric Hyyppa, NETA President. “Our theme for the conference is The Future of Education and Media. Our four honorees embody how bright the future of Education and Media will be.”

Ramos discussed how this has given her a boost for after high school, “It has shown to me how much potential I have. Just making it into the Summer Academy and getting everything out of it there made me realize I can actually pursue this as a career. I feel like that little girl with a dream and with each accomplishment it makes me realize that dream is achievable.”

Dominion broadcast teacher and sponsor of DHS Press Mitch Schwartz said, “Karen is an exceptional young journalist with an incredible work ethic. Being a four year member of the journalism program, I am extremely lucky to have a student with Karen’s passion to learn and grow as a journalist. Through the Student Reporting Labs (SRL) program, there have been countless opportunities for Karen to receive mentorship and invaluable professional knowledge that has helped her grow tremendously as a journalist. It is clear through her work with SRL the she provides a valuable youth voice and this is an award that is well-deserved.”

Earlier this year Ramos covered the DC Climate Strike for SRL and was able to interview Greta Thunberg, who was recently named as the Time Person of the Year. In addition, Ramos served on panels for SRL at the Journalism Education Association Fall Convention and the Video Show, both in the fall of 2019.


“SRL is proud to work with Dominion High School student journalists and newspaper advisor Mitch Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz’s broadcast program is committed to the highest of journalistic standards and the work produced by his students is providing a vital service to their school and community,” Estrada said.


Ramos is a three year member of DHS Press, Dominion’s student run news organization, and has been working with SRL for three years.  Last year Ramos was a part of the team that produced digital content for the PBS NewsHour site about the Virginia Senatorial Election.


The Student Press Law Center and the Freedom Forum Institute declared 2019 the year of the student journalist to honor the critical role student reporters play in keeping their communities informed.


Student Reporting Labs, with over 150 schools and clubs across the country, engages 3,000 students per year to produce original reporting on important local issues from a youth perspective. Recent series include teens and vaping, immigration, school safety, local public art and the impact of stereotyping.


Dominion has been working with PBS SRL since 2017. Their piece Tiny Coders, which Ramos was a co-producer, aired on NewsHour on April 10, 2018.


The National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) conference is the premier gathering of local public media stations from across the country dedicated to education programming, services and outreach.