2023 Innovation Pacemaker finalists

ACP Pacemaker honors innovation

Seven student media operations rewarded
for forward thinking

Sept. 8, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS — Associated Collegiate Press has recognized seven collegiate student media programs as finalists in the Innovation Pacemaker competition.

The winners will be announced at the ACP Pacemaker and Individual Awards Ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, at the Fall National College Media Convention, in Atlanta.

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” executive director Laura Widmer said. “ACP is honored to recognize the best of the best.”

A joint submission by two student media organizations in different states is among the finalists — marking the first time two universities have been jointly recognized. 

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.

Finalists are alphabetical by state.

Convention website • Register

ACP awards ceremonies

4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30

Finalists honored and
winners announced
for fall Pacemakers —

Winners announced —
ACP Individual Awards

11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1

ACP Best of Show awards

Enter Best of Show
at the fall convention.

2023 Innovation Pacemaker finalists

listed by state

Main Hill Media

University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Student leadership: Riley Atkinson, Kaila Caligur, Maddie Murphy, Ryan O’Toole

Adviser: Kerry Gilbert

> entry

Main Hill Media, a student-run advertising agency, launched a campus influencer program to help clients meet their marketing goals and generate revenue for student media.

The Los Angeles Loyolan

Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, California

Student leadership: Chris Benis,
Jillian Caforio, Jennifer Woo

Advisers: Tom Nelson, Kevin O’Keeffe

> entry

Celebrating the five freedoms, The Los Angeles Loyolan collaborated with student government to reintroduce First Amendment Week to the Loyola Marymount University community.

Pepperdine Graphic Media

Pepperdine University
Malibu, California

Student leadership: Sahej Bhasin,
Samantha Torre, Abby Wilt

Adviser: Elizabeth Smith

> entry

News Talks established an engaging way to facilitate awareness of news literacy on campus while allowing Pepperdine Graphic Media to gain insights into how audiences engaged with their journalistic products.

Immigrants in Middle America
Ball State University & Western Kentucky University

Covering the challenges facing small mid-American cities such as Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Muncie, Indiana, the student media and public media teams at Ball State University and Western Kentucky University collaborated to create content that is shared across multiple platforms and markets.

> entry

Ball State Daily News, Ball Bearings Magazine

Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana

Student leadership: Elissa Maudlin

Adviser: Lisa Renze-Rhodes

College Heights Herald

Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Kentucky

Student leadership: Alexandria Anderson,
Jake Moore, Debra Murray

Advisers: Chuck Clark, Carrie Pratt

The State News

Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Student leadership: Staff

Advisers: Wesley Herold,
Kim Margolis, Chris Richert

> entry

When three students were killed and five injured in a mass shooting on the Michigan State University campus, The State News journalists were suddenly faced with surviving and covering the unthinkable.

> 911 calls depict students desperately trying to barricade in unlocked classrooms during shooting

> Student escapes shooter in Berkey Hall through window

> Students sit down at ‘Skip Class, Stand Up’ protest

The Daily Gamecock

University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina

Student leadership: Kailey Cota, Sydney Dunlap, Tyler Fedor, Sabrina Hampton, Michael Sauls

Advisers: Sydney Cranmer, Sarah Scarborough

The Daily Gamecock, collaborated for the first time with The Post and Courier, the state’s largest newspaper. The ensuing investigation revealed hundreds of mold complaints in campus dorms, and the University of South Carolina’s flawed tracking system.

> online coverage