2020 Innovation Pacemaker finalists

New ACP Pacemaker honors innovation

Eight student media operations rewarded for forward thinking

Oct. 9, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS — Eight collegiate media programs have been honored by the Associated College Press in the inaugural year of its Innovation Pacemaker competition.

Pacemaker finalists will be recognized and the Pacemaker winners announced virtually at 6 p.m. Eastern Thursday, Oct. 22, during the Fall National College Media Convention.

The prestigious Pacemaker recognizes overall excellence and distinguishes the top student media produced during a particular school year. The award started shortly after the association was founded in 1921 and is often regarded as the most-competitive, most-honored award in collegiate journalism.

The Innovation Pacemaker is designed to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and reward student media for the courage to take chances to improve service to their customers, readers and communities.

“Collegiate student media is rapidly changing and those programs that don’t generate new revenue streams and innovative ways to deliver content to their readers will struggle to survive,” associate director Gary Lundgren said. “Print is now just one component — there is far more to a successful student media program than publishing the campus newspaper.”

Leadership, coverage, content delivery, marketing, business, community, press freedom and partnerships are among the areas where innovation is encouraged.

“The first entries in the Innovation Pacemaker competition were very impressive, not only for their ideas, but the innovative ways staffs prepared their applications. Submissions included websites, videos and podcasts,” Lundgren said.

Each of the finalists will be invited to a 30-minute virtual interview with the judges before the Pacemaker winners are selected. The interviews will be recorded and shared with ACP members for ideas and inspiration.

Over the decades, Pacemakers have been awarded to online, newspaper, magazine and yearbook. Three additional Pacemaker competitions were added in 2020. In addition to the new innovation recognition, competitions were also added for broadcast  and business.

Finalists are alphabetical by state.

2020 Pacemaker finalists

MagazineNewspaper • Online2019 Yearbook

2020 Individual Award Finalists

MultimediaReporterPhoto • Story
Best Use of Social MediaCOVID-19 Coverage


The State Hornet
Transitioning to a totally digital publication
California State University, Sacramento
Sacramento, California
Leader: Margherita Beale
Adviser: Stu VanAirsdale

el Don
A product approach to campus news
Santa Ana College
Santa Ana, California
Leader: Lesly Guzman
Advisers: Sarah Bennett, Charles Little

URBANA Literary and Arts Magazine
URBANA’s media expansion
Miami Dade College-Eduardo J. Padrón Campus
Miami, Florida
Leaders: Marian Bulnes, Giselle Valdes
Adviser: Emily Sendin

The Red & Black
Summer of reckoning
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia
Leaders: Megan Mittelhammer, Hunter Riggall
Adviser: Rebecca Burns

Cherry Creative
WKU graduate gallery
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Leader: Hayley Robb
Adviser: Sam Oldenburg

Textura India
Bethel University
St. Paul, Minnesota
Leaders: Josh Eller, Emma Harville, Will Jacott, Molly Korzenowski, Zach Walker
Advisers: Paige Cornwell, Jessie Henderson, Kumar Mukesh, Sonia Mukesh, Scott Winter

Climate 414
Mount Mary University
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Leader: Quinn Clark
Advisers: Linda Barrington, Laura Otto

EMERGE Magazine
EMERGE: Unknown
University of Guelph-Humber
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Leaders: Alena Blanes, Danya Elsayed, Kaela Johnson
Advisers: Heath Applebaum, Kimberley Noble