Oct. 21, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS — The nation’s top scholastic broadcast news programs were recognized today by the National Scholastic Press Association, which announced the 17 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 4 p.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 13, as part of the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, presented virtually. 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 2020-21 school year. A team of three judges, all award-winning collegiate broadcast professors and media 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 17 Pacemaker finalists included schools representing six states. Texas led with eight broadcast programs named as finalists. California had three finalists. Overall, four of the finalists produced live broadcasts, and four aired daily shows.
Of the 17 Pacemaker finalists, five will be named Pacemaker winners. There were approximately 50 entries.
“The pandemic posed a lot of challenges for student journalists especially at schools where many students were not on campus,” Lundgren said. “The high-quality journalism these news shows provided, against all odds, is remarkable.”
Finalists are alphabetical by state.
fall 2021 NSPA Pacemaker Awards
2021 NSPA Individual Awards
Broadcast Story of the Year
Cartoon of the Year
Design of the Year
Digital Story of the Year
Photo of the Year
Story of the Year
Social Justice Reporting
Local Climate Change Reporting
Porfolio of the Year
Best Use of Social Media
Junior high/middle school
Register for the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, presented virtually Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022.
Enter the Best of Show competition for the fall virtual convention.
Register for the Philadelphia Storytelling Workshop.
NSPA’s first in-person Pacemaker Master Class will be presented Nov. 11-13, 2021, at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.
Carlsbad High School
Mira Costa High School
Manhattan Beach, California
Whitney High School
Christopher Columbus High School
Emilio Boutros, Christopher Gomez, Gianmarco Maestri
Omar Delgado, Christina Insua
Plymouth North High School
Michelle Terry, Evan McNamara
Hillcrest High School
Millard West High School
Richland Northeast High School
Columbia, South Carolina
Ebony Christie, Brennan Davis
Christ Presbyterian Academy
Pierce DuRard, Samantha Hutts, Logan Reid, Madison Turner, Caroline Vaccaro
Hebron High School
Coppell High School
Hailey WIlkins, Juliana Thompson, Natalie Adams, Khushi Bansal
Heritage High School
Isabelle Milford, Alysen Rose
Liberty High School
Kirthi Gummadi, Alyssa Murphy, Cooper Ragle
Rock Hill High School
Grant Johnson, Anica Hankey
Willow Springs Middle School
Prosper High School
Michael Hatch, Natalie Merrill
Van Alstyne High School
Van Alstyne, Texas
Kate Carson, Margie Carson, Alli Cholette, Carson Cooper