WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - Before a crowd of hundreds of the nation's most accomplished journalists gathered in our nation's capital, David Lindenmuth, a 2017 graduate of Shenandoah Valley Jr./Sr. High School and Publisher/Editor/Multimedia Journalist for The Shenandoah Sentinel was recognized and awarded a scholarship for is efforts with the website.
Lindenmuth was awarded the National Press Club's Richard G. Zimmerman scholarship, a one-time award of $5,000, and afforded the opportunity to speak at the club's 44th Annual Journalism Awards event, held Friday night in the ballroom of the National Press Building.
"David created and maintained, on his own, The Shenandoah Sentinel newspaper website that covers Schuylkill County. The Facebook page for The Sentinel has upwards of 3,000 followers. Besides covering daily local news, in high school, David was active in his Gifted Program, Quiz Bowl, and is a member of his band's Honor Guard." National Press Club President Jeff Ballou said, introducing Lindenmuth. "Haley Bianco, a reporter with WBRE/WYOU in Scranton wrote David a recommendation letter for the scholarship. Here's an excerpt: 'One of the sites I check daily is The Shenandoah Sentinel. It is a professional site, with interesting and compelling news stories. When I found out that high school senior David Lindenmuth was the only person behind the operation, I was shocked, impressed, and curious... David's high school does not offer any journalism opportunities, but that didn't stop him. He wanted to learn, he wanted to experience, he created his own website and he learned by doing. When he's not at school, he's out covering stories. He works at borough hall and school board meetings, around the clock waking up in the middle of the night when the fire alarms go off, spending hours at borough hall, just to get a story that no one else will have.'"
"'When you look at the work, you never know (he works on a high school student's income), the quality of David's reporting reflects that of the professional newspapers and TV stations of (the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton news market'" Ballou continued. "That's coming from one of us who's actually earning a few dollars. Congratulations, David."
Lindenmuth says he started the Sentinel in December of 2015, to gain experience in journalism in the absence of a school newspaper. He has also held and internship at WYLN-35 and shadowed at WBRE-28, which he allowed him to develop the skills which earned him the scholarship.
"Although it wasn't what I set out to do, I found myself filling an ever-growing news void in the Shenandoah area, which, apart from my efforts, has shown no signs of slowing." Lindenmuth said in his speech. "In 1995, 'Our Community Newspaper', the Evening Herald, closed. This year is the first year in 140 that Shenandoah is without a newspaper office. I believe every community deserves a community-oriented news source, covering as much as possible in that region, not just the negative headlines. That's what I aimed to provide, as, that's what northern Schuylkill County has enjoyed for 120 years, until shortly before my time... I strongly believe headlines like 'The Squad Terrorizes Residents', that was a real one after a Shenandoah council meeting, believe it or not, usually, they don't improve newspaper sales. However, headlines like 'Karosas leads Shenandoah to Little League victory' do improve newspaper sales."
Lindenmuth plans to attend Kutztown University to major in Electronic Media, and will hopes to return to the region to continue to provide news coverage throughout the region.
Lindenmuth also extended thanks to his mother, Sherry Streeter; Kent Steinmetz; Debra and Andy Ulicny; WYLN-TV 35, owners Pat and Joe Gans, former news director Ann Gownley, current news director Gary Perna, and chief videographer Mike Lulla; WBRE-TV 28 and Schuylkill County reporter Haley Bianco; The Mahanoy City Coal Cracker and founder/president Krista Gromalski and project coordinator Leslie Richardson; the boroughs of Shenandoah, Ashland, Mahanoy City, Girardville, Frackville, Ringtown, Gilberton; the townships of Butler, Mahanoy, West Mahanoy, Union, North Union, and East Union; and the National Press Club and scholarship committee.
Other awards and scholarships and their recipients included:
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-East Union Township
-North Union Township
-West Mahanoy Township
-Beyond Northern Schuylkill