21st Annual Nora Magid Mentorship Prize Awarded to Delaney Parks

Stephen Fried
6 min readApr 1, 2024

The 21st annual Nora Magid Mentorship Prize has been awarded to Delaney Parks.

Parks is a Penn senior majoring in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing, who has freelanced for Teen Vogue and other publications and interned at the Resolve Philadelphia media inclusion organization. She was most impacted by her summer 2023 experiences as a journalist in Pittsburgh — where she chose to give up an internship at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to instead work at the paper started by its striking employees, the Pittsburgh Union Progress. There she covered breaking news and features, including the trial of the suspect in the Tree of Life shootings, in stories that also ran in Jewish newspapers across the country. (She later wrote about her experience for 34th Street, and her creative writing thesis is a deep dive into the lives of the striking reporters in Pittsburgh.)

Parks was a news reporter at the Daily Pennsylvanian during the challenging period which began with writers joining the newspaper while living at home as 2020/2021 freshman because of COVID-19, and followed through the controversy surrounding coverage of trans Penn swimmer Lia Thomas. Parks was sent to Atlanta by the paper as part of the team covering what was by then a major national story of Thomas’s competition in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving National Championships, and either wrote, co-wrote, or edited all the DP’s high-profile coverage. She was then assignments editor in 2022, and switched to 34th Street as a features writer in 2023. Her Street story “The Radio Rebels at Penn” was honored by Associated College Press in the feature story category. She also joined the staff of the new independent student-run magazine The Woodlands, for which she explored her obsession with the Beatles and the “Paul is Dead” controversy in a longform piece based on reporting in Liverpool.

Her work in Pittsburgh was funded by a Real Arts Fellowship from Penn; she has also received a Neiman Scholarship and an Eric Jacobs Scholarship from the DP. Besides her journalistic work, Park has been an invaluable member of the Kelly Writers House staff since her freshman year, serving first remotely and then in-person as a program and design assistant and overseeing many journalistic events there. She has also worked for the non-profit Cosmic Writers as a writing instructor and mentor for middle-school and high-school kids in Philadelphia.

Parks grew up in Fairfax, Virginia and graduated from Robinson Secondary School. She learned journalism skills as a first-semester general assignment reporter at the DP, working remotely from her childhood bedroom before coming to campus in 2021 and becoming first the academics and faculty affairs beat reporter and later a deputy editor.

Parks has the drive and infectious energy, the reporting and writing skills, and the commitment to team-building and mentorship that Nora Magid so admired in Penn nonfiction writers. She was recommended to the Nora Prize committee by Anthony DeCurtis, senior lecturer in the creative writing department.

The other finalists for the Nora Prize this year were Mira Sydow (recommended by Jay Kirk), Walden Green (recommended by Gabrielle Hamilton), Kira Wang (recommended by Mark Meredith), and Emi Tuyetnhi Tran (recommended by Peter Tarr.)

About the prize: THE NORA MAGID MENTORSHIP PRIZE has been given each year since 2004 to a senior at the University of Pennsylvania who shows exceptional ability and promise in writing/reporting/editing, and who would benefit most from combined mentorship of Nora’s network of former students and their colleagues in traditional and new media. The prize is now $5000 to be used however the student chooses for their professional development — including being used as a stipend for post-grad internships that require one. The winner also receives unparalleled access to a constantly growing network of Penn alumni — including Nora’s former students and over a decade of Nora Prize-winners — as well as their extensive web of colleagues who can assist in the student’s career. The prize is open to all seniors at Penn, although preference is given to those who expect to attempt to make careers in some form of media.

The Nora Prize is given in partnership with the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, the Daily Pennsylvanian, and the Kelly Writers House.

For more information about the Nora Prize: http://writing.upenn.edu/awards/nora_prize.php

Contact: Stephen Fried, stephenfried@comcast.net, @stephen_fried, 215–287–9392

Where our winners are now:

  • Pia Singh, 2023, markets reporter, CNBC; previously intern at CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Philadelphia magazine
  • Bea Forman, 2022; reporter, Philadelphia Inquirer; previously deputy editor Billy Penn, intern Philadelphia Magazine, Resolve Philly, Vox.com, and Smerconish.com
  • Alan Jinich 2022; bilingual facilitator, national “StoryCorps,” freelance reporter, “The Pulse” WHYY-FM and Washington Post, co-creator Generation Pandemic Project; previously production assistant and photographer for PBS shows “Pati’s Mexican Table” and “La Frontera”
  • Isabella Simonetti, 2021; media reporter, Wall Street Journal, previously Carr Fellow in Business, New York Times; media reporter, New York Observer, intern, Bloomberg News, Philadelphia magazine, New York Post, Vox.com, and Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Madeleine Ngo, 2020: economic policy reporter, New York Times; previously reporter, Vox.com; David Rosenbaum fellow, New York Times; reporter, Wall Street Journal; intern, Bloomberg News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, Vox.com
  • Rebecca Tan, 2019: South Asia Bureau Chief, Washington Post; previously reporter, Washington Post, reporter Vox.com
  • Dani Blum, 2018: health reporter, New York Times; previously senior news assistant, New York Times, assistant editor, Forbes; editorial fellow, Pitchfork
  • Jacob Gardenswartz, 2018: Washington correspondent, The Wyoming Truth and adjunct professor McDaniel College; previously associate White House producer, NBC News; anchor producer MSNBC for “The Beat with Ari Melber”; policy intern, Vox.com, assistant news and polling analyst, NBC News
  • Luis Ferre-Sadurni, 2017: immigration reporter, New York Times; previously Albany bureau chief, reporter and James Reston Reporting Fellow, NYT; intern at Philadelphia Inquirer, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Jill Castellano, 2016: data/investigations editor, Consumer Affairs; previously investigative data reporter, INEWSOURCE; investigations editor, Palm Springs Desert Sun, Dow Jones data journalism fellow at Salt Lake Tribune, intern at Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes, and New York Daily News
  • Sarah Smith, 2015: senior enterprise reporter, Houston Chronicle; previously reporter, ProPublica, investigative reporter, Houston Chronicle, reporter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, reporting fellow, ProPublica; fellow at National Journal/Atlantic, intern at POLITICO, Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Seth Zweifler, 2014: assistant to the president and chief of staff, University of Pennsylvania; previously reporting fellow POLITICO, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Joe Pinsker, 2013: reporter, Wall Street Journal; previously staff writer, The Atlantic, assistant editor, atlantic.com, editorial fellow at The Atlantic
  • Jessica Goodman, 2012: New York Times bestselling YA author and editorial consultant; previously senior editor, Cosmopolitan, entertainment editor, Entertainment Weekly, entertainment editor, Huffington Post, 2013 grad Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, intern, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone
  • Matt Flegenheimer, 2011: national political reporter, New York Times, previously Times metro and transportation reporter, intern Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Jamie France, 2010: previously executive assistant to NBC’s President of Entertainment and Digital Networks/Integrated Media, executive assistant to Today Show executive producer, intern at The New Yorker
  • Gabe Oppenheim, 2009: screenwriter, author, freelance writer; previously intern at Washington Post, Esquire
  • Jessica Sidman, 2008: food editor, Washingtonian Magazine, previously food editor, Washington City Paper, reporter at Bisnow Media, intern at Washingtonian and Dallas Morning News
  • Jason Schwartz, 2007; senior editor for investigations and enterprise, Sports Illustrated, previously media reporter, POLITCO, senior editor, ESPN magazine, senior staff writer, Boston Magazine
  • Melody Joy Kramer, 2006: leads audience growth and development, Wikimedia, columnist, Poynter Institute, previously digital strategy adviser, 18F, Visiting Nieman Fellow, Harvard University; associate editor/digital strategy, NPR, associate producer, “Fresh Air”, producer at “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,” Kroc Fellow at NPR
  • Ashley Parker, 2005: Senior National Political Correspondent, Washington Post, senior political analyst, MSNBC; previously White House bureau chief, White House reporter, Washington Post; Washington political reporter, assistant to columnist Maureen Dowd, New York Times
  • Rebecca Klein, 2004: freelancer Everyday with Rachael Ray and young adult librarian, Somerset County library; previously associate editor, Quick & Simple
  • Dan Kaplan, 2004: market designer and host, Moonshot, previously product marketing consultant for Twilio, Asana, and Salesforce

Advisory Committee

  • Stephen Fried, author, adjunct professor, University of Pennsylvania & Columbia University, 215–287–9392, stephenfried@comcast.net
  • Eliot Kaplan, career coach, previously vice president, talent acquisition, Hearst Magazines, editor Philadelphia Magazine, managing editor GQ, ejaykaplan@gmail.com
  • Miriam Arond, brand strategy consultant, director of communications, WJCS, previously director Good Housekeeping Institute
  • Barri Bernstein, executive director, Tennessee Bar Foundation
  • David Borgenicht, Chairman and founder, Quirk Books, author
  • Sandee Brawarsky, author, journalist, literary producer, and interviewer
  • Jean Chatzky, author, cofounder HerMoney.com and host of HerMoney Podcast, Today Show financial correspondent, AARP magazine columnist
  • Lisa DePaulo, freelance writer, previously contributing writer GQ, Elle, Vogue, George
  • Stefan Fatsis, author, sports commentator, Slate, NPR
  • Loren Feldman, chief content officer, Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs, previously senior editor, entrepreneurship, Forbes
  • Lisa Green, author, managing director, Sard Verbinnen & Co, NBC News legal analyst
  • Randall Lane, editor in chief, Forbes Magazine, author
  • John Prendergast, editor-in-chief, Pennsylvania Gazette
  • Joel Siegel, managing editor, NY1 News; previously managing editor for politics, New York Daily News, head writer and producer, ABC Weekend World News
  • Previous winners Melody Joy Kramer and Jessica Goodman

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Stephen Fried

Author: Rush; Appetite for America, Thing of Beauty, The New Rabbi, Bitter Pills, Husbandry; teach at Columbia & UPenn; lecturer, editorial consultant