When Katie Moen graduated from NYU in 2007 with a degree in journalism, the Great Recession had rendered job opportunities scarce. So she headed off in a different career direction, working first for a non-profit and then doing writing for other types of companies.
Moen finally wound her way to a newsroom last year and has now collected the New Jersey Press Association’s Robert P. Kelly Award, known informally as the “Rookie of the Year” prize because nominees must have worked full-time in the profession for less than a year. Per a write-up by New Jersey Herald colleague Bruce A. Scruton, Moen perfectly fit that bill, having joined the Newton-based paper last spring as a newsroom assistant and graduated to a reporter position in the fall:
Entries are limited to one per newspaper and must include three stories.
Moen’s entry included one story about a car dealership helping families, written while still a newsroom assistant; a story about an anti-bear hunt activist who was sentenced to jail and the local connection, upon her death, of Zsa Zsa Gabor and Franklin Borough.
Among the judge’s comments was this: “Great writing style. Zsa Zsa story was excellent.”
The Zsa Zsa piece is indeed a lot of fun. Under the headline “Zsa Zsa Had a Franlin Connection, Dahling!,” Moen shared some great photos and anecdotes about the April 1, 1956 local wedding of Magda Gabor to New York industrialist Anthony Gallucci. Zsa Zsa and sister Eva were bridesmaids.
We’re trying to think of the last time we encountered a reporter riding such an impressive chronological curve. Think about it; Moen won a prestigious award just a few months after becoming a reporter. Bravo!