Journalist wins scholarship, trip to Washington D.C.

Editor Wally Milner to attend Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference

The revelation took Wally Milner by surprise. Milner, junior, had finished soccer practice and now sat at the dining room table with his dad. As Milner prepared to do his homework, he absentmindedly checked his email. Then, he saw the letter.

“We both kind of freaked out,” Milner said. “I never really thought I’d actually get the award. I just sort of applied because people kept telling me I should.”

Milner has been selected to attend the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference. Milner will join 49 other high school juniors, one from each state, with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Newseum in Washington D.C. Over five days in June, the Newseum Institute hopes to promote the role of the First Amendment and inspire students to pursue journalism careers, according to their website.

“It’s a great opportunity to represent our school and learn new things about journalism,” Milner said.

In addition, Milner receives a $1,000 scholarship.

Applications were due in February. Milner had to write two essays, one on how he embodies a “free spirit” and the other on why he wants to be a journalist.

“When I have an idea, I follow through with it. When I have questions, I ask them,” Milner said. “Acceptance of the status quo is unhealthy.”

Milner also had to submit three work samples. He sent writing from Amplifier, as well as writing published in the West Linn Tidings, for which Milner writes regularly as part of the Student Writers Advisory Group.

Lastly, Milner sent two letters of recommendation, written by journalism teacher Glenn Krake and English teacher Ryan Mooney.

Milner is thankful for the opportunity and resources provided by mentors at the Amplifier and the Tidings.

“I don’t lose sight of the fact that I’m so lucky,” Milner said.

Milner has written for the Amplifier since his freshman year. In middle school, he found himself interested in politics and thus dragged into arenas where he could talk about the world, Milner said.

“All societies depend on the spread of accurate information,” Milner said. “What’s more, journalism presents the opportunity to hold leaders accountable, provide a voice for those who don’t have the opportunity to speak.”