The Martys: High school contest honors 13 student journalists

Julanne Hohbach
Winners in the 2018 The Martys contest are (top row, from left) Dylan Carlson Sirvent, Gabrielle Cochran, Reilly Cochran, Clare Driscoll, (bottom row) Kaitlyn Finchler, Mackie Mantenieks and Sophie Yang. Pictured on the bottom right is Martin L. "Marty" Rozenman.

Thirteen central Ohio students have been honored for their work through an annual high school journalism competition.

This year's winners and runners-up attend Bexley, Delaware Hayes, Upper Arlington and Westerville North high schools.

The Martys, an editorial contest for high school journalists, is co-sponsored by the Central Ohio Society of Professional Journalists and Dispatch Media Group, the parent company of ThisWeek Community News and Columbus Parent.

It was started in 2011 in memory of Martin L. Rozenman, the longtime editor of Suburban News Publications, which merged with ThisWeek in 2012. He also was a reporter with The Columbus Dispatch, a freelance writer with other Dispatch Media Group publications and a member of the Central Ohio SPJ board of directors. Mentoring young journalists was a hallmark of Rozenman's career.

He died in 2010 after a lengthy battle with a rare blood disorder.

The contest seeks entries in five categories: Best Feature Writing, Best News Writing, Best Opinion Writing, Best Photography and Best Sports Writing. Winners and runners-up receive award certificates; first-place finishers also get a cash prize from SPJ. The category winners compete for the top honor, named The Marty.

This year's winners of The Marty -- Dylan Carlson Sirvent and Sophie Yang of Upper Arlington High School -- co-authored the winning Best Feature Writing entry. They were honored April 18 at Central Ohio SPJ's annual Founders' Day banquet, held at the Amelita Mirolo Barn in Upper Arlington. The students received their awards from Rozenman's wife, Nancy Richison.

The 2018 honorees in The Martys are:

Best Feature Writing

Winner: Dylan Carlson Sirvent and Sophie Yang, Upper Arlington High School, Arlingtonian, "Stressed for Success"

Judges' comment: "The writers tackle the age-old problem of how students cope with stress, a phenomenon that has been compounded by a growing explosion in technology. From extracurriculars to homework overload to cheating, the story addresses all the relevant issues. It's well-written and well-sourced, seamlessly integrating information from students, administrators and independent researchers."

Runner-up: Kaia Woodford, Bexley High School, The Torch, "Students face challenges of living with depression"

Best News Writing

Winner: Dylan Carlson Sirvent and Clare Driscoll, Upper Arlington, Arlingtonian, "A Silent Education"

Judges' comment: "This story about the consent and sexual harassment at Upper Arlington High School in the wake of the #MeToo movement was strong. It's well-written and well-sourced. Kudos to the writers for conducting a survey of more than 200 students to get their feelings on the issues."

Runner-up: Ali Simpson with Carolynn Bructo, Westerville North High School, The Odyssey, "Community comes together through tragic loss"

Best Opinion Writing

Winner: Gabrielle Cochran and Reilly Cochran, Westerville North, The Odyssey, "We stand with Westerville police officers"

Judges' comment: "Marty Rozenman was known for reminding journalists in his newsroom to always remember: 'Local, local, local.' This opinion piece is one of the best illustrations why. No matter how many members of the media cover a story, the local journalists are usually the ones who do it best. Here, the writers recount how their town came together with the support of surrounding communities, the state, nation and world. They bring it home by adding the local color. In this case, blue."

Runner-up: John D'Alessandro, Bexley, The Torch, "State report cards set overly high standards"

Best Photography

Winner: Kaitlyn Finchler, Delaware Hayes High School, The Talisman, "Peter Pan photo story"

Judges' comment: "Nice variety of shots, some up close and some with wider angles. Exposure spot on. Color stands out. Kaitlyn took the time and effort to capture the atmosphere."

Runner-up: Carolynn Bructo, Westerville North, The Odyssey, "Women's Anniversary March"

Best Sports Writing

Winner: Mackie Mantenieks, Westerville North, The Odyssey, "To letter or not to letter: that is the question"

Judges' comment: "This was an interesting topic for an article, and it was handled well. There is no clear answer to the question, and this topic has been debated for years. We liked how the writer conducted a survey and used different opinions in the story. Getting a coach's comments was an excellent touch."

Runner-up: Will Price and Zach Backiewicz, Upper Arlington, Arlingtonian, "The Evolution of Lifting"