MINNEAPOLIS – The Associated College Press named 23 collegiate student newspapers as Pacemaker winners on Oct. 28 at ACP/CMA National High School Media Convention in Dallas.
“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” said Laura Widmer, executive director. “ACP is honored to recognize the best of the best.”
In all, 150 student newspapers entered the Pacemaker competition. When the process was finished, the 43 Pacemaker finalists were named. From that group, 23 earned the Pacemaker honors, placing those newspapers in the top 15 percent. The 43 finalists newspapers represent 21 states and the District of Columbia, as well as Canada.
Two teams of three judges devoted two days to the judging and studied every entry, discussing its strengths and weaknesses. At least two of the three judges agreed on the Pacemaker winners and finalists. The national award-winning judges were:
Paul Bittick, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Chris Evans, University of Vermont
Beth Francesco, University of Texas at Arlington
Joe Gisondi, Eastern Illinois University
Ron Johnson, Indiana University
Judy Riedl, formerly University of Minnesota
The teams were organized so judges did not see or hear the discussions about the newspapers from their own universities. In fact, the two judging teams worked in different locations, several floors apart.
In addition to demonstrating excellence in key areas including coverage, writing, editing, design and photography, the winning newspapers took risks and served as a strong voice for its student audience.
An instructional video shares observations about the newspapers and insights about the selection process from three of the six judges. A downloadable PDF profiling the Pacemaker winners is provided for educational purposes.
Newspapers competed against those publishing the same number of issues per week.
Of the 43 Pacemaker finalists, 18 publish more than one issue per week with five finalists publishing five days per week. Another 18 newspapers published one issue per week. Seven published less than weekly. Five two-year colleges were represented among the 43 Pacemaker finalists.
Judge’s comments: In-depth coverage of events, such as student protests, and resourceful reporting on news, such as hiring a new president, sets this newspaper apart. Exhibits clean design and strong sports coverage.
Judge’s comments: Strong editorial leadership, mature commentary before and after the election. Exceptional coverage of both local and campus news and issues. Standout election coverage on deadline.
Judge’s comments: This outstanding newspaper consistently delivers compelling, strong reporting and coverage of a diverse range of issues. Stories emphasize deep reporting, and editorials don’t shy from strong stances. Anyone who reads The Sun gets a strong sense of what is important to its community through its own voices included on its pages.
Judge’s comments: A clean, colorful design to package stories that dig deep into problems and challenges impacting their readers while still covering the day-to-day, beat-level issues that every good newspaper should cover. In addition, these young journalists take a strong stand on the opinion pages, showing leadership where it counts.
Judge’s comments: This publication has an exceptionally strong voice, which is exhibited by its strong front-page covers that engages immediately with its thoughtful, comprehensive content and packages. Its political coverage is thoughtful. Exhibits advocacy journalism on important issues, such as drinking water and smoking.
Judge’s comments: As we have seen time and time again, the award-winner gives us a gorgeous paper with a variety of stories and visuals designed to capture the attention of readers and to educate them in the process.
Judge’s comments: Outstanding feature stories and packages cut to the heart of a dynamic and diverse student body. If anyone wants to find out what drives Contra Costa College and the area around it, this newspaper is the place to find the stories, images and details of that life.
The Columbia Chronicle, Columbia College Chicago
Editors: Megan Bennett, Arabella Breck, Zoe Eitel, Charlie Connelly, Lauren Kostiuk, Alex Aghayere
Advisers: Chris Richert, Len Strazewski, Stephanie Goldberg
Frequency: One day per week
Judge’s comments: Substantive content, appealing design and strong diversity coverage that both engages readers with its creative design and special features and reflects its community on and off campus. Offers several long-form features on complex and difficult topics.
Judge’s comments: An exceptionally strong narrative voice, solid reporting and diverse sources on local features and news elevates this newspaper to a Pacemaker winner. Offers stories that impact its community and reveals challenges of its students and staff.
Judge’s comments: Strong angles explore routine topics, fresh and engaging content that merges campus events and national events with a local lens. Had several engaging profiles. Took a few design chances that further created a publication that is smart and fun.
Judge’s comments: A striking design that packages engaging images and prose on a wide variety of topics is a trademark of this consistent award-winner. In its best issues, it gives readers a newsworthy surprise on every page.
Judge’s comments: Tenacious in-depth reporting that yields impartial and objective coverage. Strong visual/verbal connections with its solid reporting structures.
Judge’s comments: Exceptional team reporting on topics, such as the shooting of a man by local police and alleged sexual assault by the football team. Powerfully written and researched editorials. Visuals, such as locator maps and timelines, further elevate the coverage.
Judge’s comments: Dependable reporting on campus issues, sharp photography and a steady editorial voice make this newspaper a reliable source of news and information for its community.
Judge’s comments: Exhibits commitment to long-form investigative stories and breaking news that addressed topics relevant to its readership.
Judge’s comments: Consistently strong mix of in-depth coverage and daily reporting addresses important issues and events on and around campus during a tumultuous year. Exceptionally strong photos further distinguish this newspaper’s coverage. This is one of the most effective tabloids among all entries.
Judge’s comments: Consistently bold covers entice and invite readers to engage with content of importance to the Penn community. Strong localizations of national issues show an editorial team committed to tackling major stories without losing focus of its audience. Its best editions show us consistency doesn’t have to mean looking the same each day.
Judge’s comments: With a steady editorial voice and strong story selection, this newspaper shows a commitment to its community. Its best issues bring readers stories not just about what is happening in the world around them, but the emotional impact of local and national events. Photographers catch “the moments,” as do the descriptive storytelling techniques.
Judge’s comments: Appealing design and strong photos. Blends campus news, compelling features, and a lively opinion page to engage readers through diverse sourcing.
Judge’s comments: The strength of this newspaper lies in finding a variety of angles from which to cover its campus. Compelling slice-of-life stories live side by side with strong advocacy journalism and stark crime coverage make this a newspaper worth noting.
Judge’s comments: Creativity in design and news coverage makes this a news organization to watch. These student journalists tackle large issues from the campus perspective while delivering consistent, student-focused campus life stories. Compelling illustrations and diverse story approaches invite the reader in.
Judge’s comments: Tackles prominent and unexpected issues, from opioid usage and suicide to heavily rutted roads, on and around campus offered with solid visuals. Great job securing student voices in both the news and opinion sections.
The Calgary Journal , Mount Royal University
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Editors: Jodi Brak, Michaela Ritchie, Deanna Tucker, Josie Lukey, Colin Gallant, Emily Rop
Advisers: Sally Haney, Ian Tennant, Terry Field, Archie McLean
Frequency: Less than one day per week
Judge’s comments: It is rare to see a college newspaper so colorful, creative and vibrant. Even when covering mundane topics, the journal manages to provide writing and images that are a joy to take in.