2021 Pacemaker Awards in Broadcast

NSPA names top news broadcasts

Pacemaker names 5 programs as the ‘best of the best’

Nov. 13, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS — Honoring the nation’s best, National Scholastic Press Association has named five scholastic broadcast news programs as prestigious Pacemaker winners.

These 2021 winners, plus the 2021 Pacemaker Award winners in Newspaper/Newsmagazine and Specialty Magazine, were announced during the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, presented virtually Nov. 13, 2021.

In October, 12 news broadcasts were named Pacemaker finalists. The finalists represented six states. Texas set the pace with eight finalists, followed by California with three.

“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 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.”


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