National Press Club awards Chloë Clark with the inaugural Wes Vernon Broadcast Scholarship

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2021 — The National Press Club, the world’s leading professional organization for journalists, has chosen  Chloë Clark of Seal Beach, Calif., as the winner of its inaugural Wes Vernon Broadcast Scholarship. The award, which promotes diversity within the field, is given to an aspiring broadcast journalist and totals as much as $20,000 over four years.

A sports broadcast journalist, Clark impressed judges with her experience in television and podcast reporting and production – often in roles she created and successfully pitched to bring new storytelling methods to life. Judges admired her high-quality work, along with her dedication to investigating stories beyond the surface. 

“Though I never saw myself becoming a professional athlete, I did see myself in the arena in a different capacity – the broadcast booth. The realm of journalism is my pathway to success. It represents a platform from which I tell stories, capture perspectives of all types, and advance narratives beyond the surface leve,” she wrote in her application essay. “Sports journalism, in particular, allows me to share my truth while uplifting the truths of others. Sports is a microcosm of life, and behind statistics, there are compelling topics to be discussed and issues to be investigated.”

Before she was a sideline reporter on a show that she developed called “The Pride,” at Loyola Marymount University, Clark experienced rejection she used as a catalyst in her career. During her senior year of high school, she was denied entry to all of the colleges to which she had applied. After being accepted to Loyola Marymount University, she graduated in three years with degrees in Communication Studies and Journalism. There, she ignited sports coverage and important conversations around race and culture. 

Clark helped lead an initiative called #blackatLMU, where she “created a podcast and listening session around critically important issues … including but not limited to Black Lives Matter and the movement for Black lives but also the insurrection at the Capitol and more,” one of her LMU professors wrote in a recommendation letter. “Chloe is informed, intelligent, motivated, and primed for success.”

She has a “keen awareness when it comes to gathering data, structuring interview questions, making those around her feel at ease, and comfortable, like they are the only people in the room,” her professor wrote. “She puts her all into every effort. She is kind, compassionate, and just the type of leader we need during these trying times.”

Clark is now studying for her master’s in journalism at her “dream school” – the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

“We know, especially from what we’ve experienced in the last several years, that being a journalist means more than tackling stories — it means forging paths that don’t yet exist and telling stories that matter to communities,” said Lisa Matthews, National Press Club president. “Chloë’s hard work to tell stories that go beyond the surface make her a great inaugural recipient of this new scholarship.”

The Wes Vernon Broadcast Scholarship, started this year by Mr. Vernon’s family, provides $5,000 annually to a student who demonstrates a commitment to a career in broadcast journalism. The award can be renewed up to three years for a total of $20,000 toward educational expenses. Named in memory of the late Wes Vernon, a prolific radio journalist whose career included national political reporting from Washington, D.C., the scholarship intends to remove barriers for students from backgrounds underrepresented in broadcast journalism. 

“My father loved his years in news radio – every morning he was excited to see what the day would bring,” said Diane Powell, Mr. Vernon’s daughter. “I hope this scholarship will support the studies of others with the same enthusiasm for broadcasting.”

“We are honored to help the family of Wes Vernon recognize his incredible radio journalism career,” said Matthews, a broadcaster herself. “When I first joined the news desk at the AP, there weren’t many other people there who looked like me. This scholarship will help ensure that more broadcast newsrooms start to look more like the communities they cover.” 

Clark is one of dozens of award winners who will be honored at the National Press Club’s Annual Journalism Awards Dinner, to be held virtually from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on December 8, 2021. The National Press Club’s Journalism Awards celebrate the best in American broadcast and print journalism.  

Scholarship winners and runners-up are also awarded one-year complimentary membership to the National Press Club.

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