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Students point out benefits of a free press

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More than 200 juniors and seniors students from high schools across the country pointed out the benefits of a free press in an essay contest sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

First-place winner Nicholas Bagley of Torrey Pines High School in Encinitas, Calif., took a unique approach to the essay by dramatizing the future of a society that slowly allowed the press to be controlled by the government. Bagley received a $1,000 scholarship.

A. Fiona McKinnon, a senior at Flathead High School in Kalispell, Mont., placed second in the contest and received a $500 scholarship. Her writing emphasized the growing importance of a free press as she illustrated a personal experience involving censorship at her school newspaper.

Third-place winner Phil Gray of Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., pointed out the importance of responsible reporting within a free press. Gray received a $300 scholarship.

An honorable mention award was presented to Kirsten Korthuis of Bellingham High School in Bellingham, Wash., for her personal account of the banning of a newspaper she helped produce at her school.

All the winners received one-year memberships in the Society. The contest is supported by a grant from the Freedom Forum and is open to all junior and senior high school students.

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