Champions of Change- Dunbar Journalists Earn National Attention for Excellent Work

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jun 18, 2018

PLD Lamplighter, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School’s media program, has won numerous awards and achieved national recognition for excellence in scholastic journalism in 2017-18. 

Highlights include Best High School News Website in the 2018 Mark of Excellence competition, Distinguished Site status from School Newspapers Online (the only Kentucky school to receive this honor), a gold medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and several marks of distinction from the National Scholastic Press Association. 

Several Dunbar students were also recognized for their contributions including seniors Abigail Hendren, Sydney Carter, and Remy Milburn, who received Gold Circles from CSPA, the highest individual honors, and seniors Peyton Humphreys, Rebecca Chapman, Julia Radhakrishnan, junior Abigail Wheatley, and sophomore Hannah Chambliss, who won Best of the High School Press for their investigative reporting and expose on sexual harassment in schools.

In addition, the editorial board of the media program, which produces an online newspaper, a weekly broadcast called WPLD, and a serial podcast, wrote an editorial titled "Take a Knee" that garnered national attention. Senior Edith Cruz Rodriguez was also singled out for her work on the podcast, TORCH. Her focus on the obstacles of being undocumented, and the tension and trials for students awaiting federal decisions concerning DACA, won national recognition on Best of School Newspapers Online, and Alan Lytle of WUKY noted her as "one to watch." 

“These students compete nationally and win because they are not afraid to tackle difficult topics,” said media adviser Wendy Turner, who has guided the program since 2006. “We are also supported by an administration that trusts me and these students to be professional, ethical and to produce quality journalism.”

Turner, who was named Kentucky Journalism Educator of the Year in 2014, is co-founder of the Kentucky High School Journalism Teachers Association along with Larry Steinmetz of Bullitt East High School and James Miller of DuPont Manual in Louisville.

"Producing high achievers in scholastic journalism is a priority," she said, "and creating tools for other teachers to also implement these same standards is crucial. In the age where many mistrust the media, and digital consumption creates risks of misinformation and ‘click bait,’ we have to make sure we are running journalism programs that adhere to the ethics of this career path."

PLD Lamplighter can be found at

(News release courtesy of Wendy Turner)