2016 Yearbook Pacemaker finalists announced

MINNEAPOLIS — The National Scholastic Press Association has recognized 70 yearbooks as finalists in the 2016 Yearbook Pacemaker competition.

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award and is often called the Pulitzer Prize of scholastic journalism,” said Laura Widmer, executive director. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best.”

To select the 70 winning yearbooks, judges carefully studied the 420 Pacemaker entries. Each yearbook was analyzed and discussed by a team of four judges.

In all, eight former and current award-winning high school yearbook advisers, from six states, comprised two judging teams.

The two-day process started with an overall discussion by the eight judges about the criteria they would use when reviewing the yearbooks.

The two judging teams then worked in separate rooms on different floors at the judging site at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Because the two judging teams did not interact, current advisers were completely removed from the judging of their school’s yearbook.

High school yearbooks were divided into four different categories, based on the number of pages. A separate category was dedicated to junior high and middle school. Yearbooks competed with those in their individual categories.

“The yearbooks selected by the judges tell amazing verbal and visual stories and that content is packaged with dynamic design,” said Gary Lundgren, associate director. “The best yearbooks engage their student readers through extensive and inclusive reporting.”

Quality writing, in a variety of formats, and exceptional photojournalism were fundamentals identified by the judges along with complete coverage, including all areas of school life including academics.

Contemporary, reader-friendly design, along with a restrained and sophisticated use of typography and color, set apart the winning yearbooks along with innovative theme development.

Group photos with identifications, scoreboards recapping sports seasons and a complete and accurate index were also required to fulfill the yearbook’s mission as a reference book.

The Pacemaker finalists will be recognized and the Pacemaker winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, April 6-9, 2017 in Seattle.

Click here to view the complete list of finalists.