PSU Challenge Program News Writing Class Wins Gold Crown Award from Columbia Scholastic Press Association
Author: Chelsea Bailey
Posted: June 17, 2014


The Portland State University Challenge Program is a partnership linking PSU with local area high schools to offer qualified juniors and seniors the opportunity to take PSU courses in their own high schools for college credit. 

Dave Austin, Communications Director for Multnomah County and former Oregonian reporter, is currently volunteering as PSU Challenge Program’s News Writing instructor at Grant High School. With Austin’s guidance over the past three years, students have turned the old school newspaper into a glossy magazine featuring bold and investigative reporting. 

“These students are amazing. They are on it, and the work they do is exceptional.” – Sally Hudson, Director of PSU’s Challenge and Link Programs

The success of the magazine was recently recognized as top in the country, receiving the Gold Crown Award from Columbia Scholastic Press Association. They were the only school in Oregon to receive an award. 

To further connect his students with the college experience, Austin and his PSU faculty partner, associate professor and award-winning author Paul Collins, organized a seminar at PSU about the challenges of covering controversial topics in school newsrooms. 

“PSU has been a HUGE part of our success, and we couldn’t have a better partner.” – Dave Austin, News Writing Instructor at Grant High School

The Challenge Program has established such a strong connection between PSU and nearby high schools that in the last five years, 465 Challenge Program students have come to PSU after graduating high school. 

As Oregon's oldest and only nationally accredited dual-credit program, PSU Challenge currently serves more than 1200 students across nine school districts, primarily in the Portland Metro area.