Jeff Brodsky

Jeff Brodsky, former editor of the Central High School newspaper, is shown here interviewing former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Submissions are being accepted for the 2019 Brodsky Prize, established by Brodsky and his family to encourage out-of-the-box efforts and innovation by a new generation of student journalists.

Courtesy photo

MANCHESTER — Submissions are being accepted for the 2019 Brodsky Prize, established by a former editor of the Central High School newspaper and his family to encourage out-of-the-box efforts and innovation by a new generation of student journalists.

“Working on the school newspaper was the most formative and meaningful high school experience for me — more than any classroom,” Jeff Brodsky said. “It’s more important than ever for young journalists to push boundaries and to challenge authority, and they can start by using the power of their school paper just like the press in the real world.”

The $5,000 Brodsky Prize is open to students attending the following high schools: Manchester Central, Manchester Memorial, Manchester West, Trinity, Bedford, Concord, Londonderry, Pinkerton Academy, Merrimack, Salem, Nashua North, Nashua South and Bishop Guertin.

Judging criteria include a student’s journalistic initiative and enterprise, as well as what Brodsky calls “a contrarian nature and out-of-the-box thinking.’’

The inaugural scholarship winner, Central High School student Monericka Semeran, said the award was instrumental in financing her studies at Vassar College.

“Without the generosity of the Brodsky family, I don’t know if I would be at Vassar today,” Semeran said. “Also, it was great to have my passion for journalism recognized. The award has encouraged me to write more and be willing to share my writing.”

When Brodsky, now 45, and Manchester Central classmate Misbah Tahir took on the duties of co-editors of the “Little Green’’ newspaper, they transformed it into a broadsheet publication, added color photography and introduced new design and typography.

The pair revitalized a newspaper read by 20 percent of the school’s population, boosting readership to more than 75 percent. They also encouraged student reporters to ask tough questions and explore different topics.

An editorial questioning the transparency of freshman class elections landed the two editors in hot water with the school administration, which felt identifying a faculty member in its criticism was out of line. Brodsky and Tahir found themselves briefly sidelined. The school appointed a new faculty adviser, and the paper went on to win local and national honors.

Brodsky was featured in the non-fiction book, “Death By Cheeseburger”, which chronicled censored high school journalism around the nation. He testified before the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee about student press rights.

After graduating from Central in 1992, Brodsky studied oral history and communications at Columbia University, becoming a historian and documentary producer, before illness forced his retirement and return to his hometown.

At Columbia, he interviewed prominent politicians about their first political campaigns. Brodsky spoke with more than 84 U.S. governors, senators and heads of state from South America, Europe, Africa and New Zealand. Brodsky wrote about his experiences in The Washington Post Magazine.

The Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications helps oversee the award and provides one of the judges, Executive Director David Tirrell-Wysocki. Other judges include Tahir, the former Little Green co-editor; Howard Brodsky, Jeffrey’s father and Chairman and CEO or CCA Global Partners, Inc.; former Little Green adviser Rita Davis; and Joseph McQuaid, publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Interested students should submit examples of their work that are illustrative of the prize criteria, along with a 600-word essay on how they would use the award to further their journalistic studies or efforts. See the criteria at www.brodskyprize.com. Email entries to www.loebschool@loebschool.org.

The deadline is April 22.