2020 finalists for NSPA Broadcast Pacemaker

Top scholastic broadcasts announced

NSPA Pacemaker competition names 15 finalists as ‘the best of the best’

Nov. 5, 2020

MINNEAPOLIS — The nation’s top scholastic broadcast news programs were recognized today by the National Scholastic Press Association, which announced the 15 finalists in its annual Pacemaker competition.

NSPA Pacemaker finalists will be recognized and the Pacemaker winners announced for the first time at the NSPA Awards Ceremony online at 1 p.m. Central Saturday, Nov. 21, as part of the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, presented virtually Nov. 19-21. Convention registration is required to attend the online ceremony. 

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” Executive Director Laura Widmer said. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best.”

The NSPA Pacemaker award has a rich tradition and started just a few years after the organization was founded in 1921. The Pacemaker was added for broadcasting in 1996 to reflect its growing importance at the high school level.

Each school entered three programs from the 2019-2020 school year. A team of three judges, all award-winning collegiate broadcast professors and advisers, viewed each entry discussing and analyzing its strengths and weaknesses.

“The winning entries stood out for not just their technical quality, but in the stories being covered,” Gary Lundgren, associate director and contest coordinator, said. “The writing, editing, hosting and the willingness to tackle relevant topics make these exceptional newscasts from start to finish.”

For judging, shows were divided into live and pre-recorded categories. The frequency of the broadcast was also considered with daily shows competing in a separate category with weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or less-frequently in another. 

The 15 Pacemaker finalists included schools representing six states. Texas led with four broadcast programs named as finalists. Florida and Missouri each have three finalists. Overall, five of the finalists produced live broadcasts, and seven aired daily shows. 

Of the 15 Pacemaker finalists, five will be named Pacemaker winners. There were approximately 50 entries.

“With the pandemic closing schools across the country, many of the broadcasts submitted for the competition were produced with student journalists working from their homes,” Lundgren said.  “The high-quality journalism these news shows provided, against all odds, is remarkable.” 

Insights and observations from the judges about the Pacemaker winning broadcasts along with professional bios of the judges will be shared after the winners are announced.

Finalists are alphabetical by state.

Middle School/Junior High

Kealing Middle School
Austin, Texas
Producer: Alice Scott
Advisers: Kristen Scott, Laurie Pena Brooks

Willow Springs Middle School
Lucas, Texas
Producer: Keira Watson
Adviser: Barbara Smith

High School

Carlsbad High School
Carlsbad, California
Producer: Maddie Ward
Adviser: Doug Green

Whitney High School
Rocklin, California
Producer: Staff
Adviser: Ben Barnholdt

The Ship
Christopher Columbus High School
Miami, Florida
Producer: Neo Gaitan
Advisers: Omar Delgado, Christina Insua

The Voyage
Christopher Columbus High School
Miami, Florida
Producers: Christopher Gomez, David Perez
Advisers: Omar Delgado, Christina Insua

Oviedo High School
Oviedo, Florida
Producers: Brooke Brennan, Margaret Femminineo, Kylie McFarland, Erin Newman, Brooke Tyler
Adviser: Kevin Patterson

Trojan TV News
Park Hill High School
Kansas City, Missouri
Producers: Alicia Stout, Thomas Wineinger
Adviser: Justin Ford

Tiger Broadcast
Lee’s Summit High School
Lee’s Summit, Missouri
Producer: Emma Oesterly
Adviser: Elaine McDonald

HTV Magazine
Hillcrest High School
Springfield, Missouri
Producer: Staff
Adviser: Dave Davis

Wake Up Warriors
Penn Trafford High School
Harrison City, Pennsylvania
Producer: Steve Vinton
Adviser: Steve Vinton

Catawba Ridge High School
Fort Mill, South Carolina
Producer: Paige Bell
Adviser: Karin McKemey

Coppell High School
Coppell, Texas
Producers: Sandesh Bharthur, Robert Bizacky, Mildred Padilla
Adviser: Irma Lazos-Kennedy

McKinney High School
McKinney, Texas
Producers: Sara Hummadi, Noah Kim, Anika Newland, Ally Tauber
Advisers: Alyssa Boehringer, Curtis Christian

Eagle Nation News
Prosper High School
Prosper, Texas
Producer: Cristina Folsom
Adviser: Michael Hatch