Waynesburg student wins scholarship for dedication to ethical reporting

Jennifer Schouppe, junior at Waynesburg University and reporter for the college newspaper, Yellow Jacket, accepted the 2015 Teresa Spatara Memorial Scholarship on Saturday, during the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association Awards Luncheon.

Jennifer Schouppe gives her acceptance speech to the Pennsylvania Women's Press Association. Screen shot of video shot by Liz Allen.
Jennifer Schouppe gives her acceptance speech to the Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. Screen shot of video shot by Liz Allen.

This academic scholarship of $1,500 is only offered to students who plan to pursue a career in print journalism and it honors Spatara, who worked for the The Herald in Sharon, Mercer County, before her death in 2013.

According to the Waynesburg University website, Schouppe was awarded the scholarship based on her dedication to ethical reporting and quality writing.

Schouppe spoke about journalism and her career plans.


During your acceptance speech you frequently called yourself your “own worst critic.” With your inclination to be critical, when do you draw the line between perfection and a deadline?

Answer: This is something I’ve really struggled with. There is always more to add, but at the end of the day what you turn in is what runs. You just try to do justice to your sources. If the sources you used can read it and tell you that you did a good job – that’s all you need.

Q: Your speech also  recounted many instances where you’ve had to overcome low confidence. How do you overcome low confidence in order to showcase talent?

A: I have had the privilege of having a professor, Brandon Szuminsky, who advised me about a lot of articles. His faith in me helps a lot.

Q: Toward the end of your speech you said that you eventually plan to live and work in a small town. How do you see bringing good journalism to a small town, and why is that important?

A: I’m originally from Beaver, which is a small town. I love that aspect in journalism because you really get to know the community and build relationships. I do want to travel, but I like building relationships with sources.

Q: Do you think female journalists face more challenges than male?

A: I’ve been lucky enough to not experience any gender inequality. I probably just haven’t experienced it yet, because at the Yellow Jacket there is equal talent between genders. However, when I was in sports broadcasting the first thing people would say is, “Oh, you’re a girl.”

Q: You are now entering your senior year. What are your plans after graduation?

A: I plan on getting out of Pennsylvania and freelancing. I also really have a passion for photography. Journalism can be the perfect career; you can travel and you can see the world. I think that’s why I chose it. I like traveling and meeting people.

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