Class of 2020: Setting a New Bar for Student Journalists

Two-time editor-in-chief Morgan Fischer has forever changed journalism at Dominion.

Not every student journalist has gone out to campaign stops for Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, spent a part of their school day on CIA grounds for a 9/11 ceremony, had their first video production featured on PBS NewsHour, secured interviews on her own with both Virginia Senatorial candidates, been selected for two journalism fellowships, and has spoken at national conventions for both professionals and students. These are just a few of the many accomplishments of DHS Press’s two-time editor-in-chief Morgan Fischer.

Fischer has set the bar for student journalists at Dominion. She has gone above and beyond to deliver the latest press stories, especially in the realm of politics. Journalism has always been one of Morgan’s aspirations, as she goes off to Arizona State University “majoring in broadcast journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a possible minor in political science,” Fischer said. 

Fischer’s interest in journalism sparked when she was in 7th grade, she was a huge baseball fan growing up who has always loved writing. “I mentioned my interest to my 7th grade english teacher and she suggested that I join the middle school newspaper club. I mostly wrote feature stories out of the Nationals and that interest pushed me to take journalism classes starting my freshman year of high school,” Fischer said.

During her four years as a part of DHS Press, Fischer has made numerous connections in the media industry. “Since my sophomore year, I have been heavily involved in PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs through DHS Press, I have had the opportunity to meet some amazing people through that opportunity and have been able to get really close with many of their producers!”

One of these producers include Elis Estrada, the senior director of PBSNewsHour Student Reporting Labs, who has worked alongside Morgan, described Morgas as “an exceptional young journalist and leader who is passionate, honest, dependable and incredibly hard-working.”

Estrada describes Morgan as a “is intelligent, creative, and responsible. I know that Morgan will make an extraordinary impact in the future, no matter what she decides to focus on. I hope to see her byline in articles, her reporting on television and her expertise shape important national conversations. Most importantly, I’m excited to see where Morgan’s passion takes her.” 

Throughout Morgan’s journalism career at Dominion, Mr.Schwartz has helped her make connections and develop real-world experiences. “Mr.Schwartz always makes an effort to try to bring in professional journalists working in the area, that has been an amazing experience to hear from many of those individuals working directly in the field that I would love to work in one day,” Fischer said. 

When Mr.Schwartz reflects back on Morgan’s successes, he expresses his pride in her growth and accomplishments. “This year, by herself, she reached out to the Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns and got herself press credentials for their local events and put together articles and feature videos by herself in days. This is a massive undertaking and she was flawless in her execution of them,” Schwartz said.

A fond moment Estrada recalled with Morgan and her work, “Recently, before the coronavirus pandemic, Morgan reached out to see if she could work with SRL to cover a democratic presidential campaign rally. She was already going and reached out to see if there was anything she could do for SRL. That’s what impresses me so much about Morgan. She goes above and beyond what’s being asked and is creative about how to get her stories in front of the most people.”

Reflecting on his time being Morgan’s teacher, “What I admire most about her work ethic is her tenacity. Starting her junior year she hasn’t let any bump in the road stop her. She secured interviews with both Senatorial candidates last year and covered two presidential primary events this year through her unrelenting work ethic. She has a dedication that comes from within and is an inspiration to me,” Schwartz said. 

Mr.Schwartz has watched Morgan grow since the beginning, “She went from a shy, quiet freshman to such a confident person speaking on stage at national conventions. I can’t pick just one proudest moment but if I had to it would be when she went to cover the Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns on her own. This was truly a project that was all hers from start to finish.” 

Within the next four years at Arizona State “I look forward to getting involved on campus early on my writing for the school newspaper and getting involved in other news organizations on campus. I am also already enrolled in several journalism classes for my first semester at ASU so I’m really excited to expand my journalism skills,” Fischer said. 

Morgan thanks Mr.Schwartz, “I would not have been able to do any of the pervious things I mentioned if it wasn’t for Mr. Schwartz, he really helped me a lot and gave me a lot of opportunities in order to set me up for a future that I am really excited for.”

For a complete list of Morgan’s work with DHS Press go to: Morgan Fischer