2023 Online Pacemakers

NSPA names ‘best of the best’

Pacemaker competition recognizes
13 news sites for journalistic excellence

April 22, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO — Honoring the nation’s best, National Scholastic Press Association named 13 scholastic news sites as prestigious Pacemaker winners.

The online winners, plus the 2023 Innovation Pacemakers, 2022 Literary Arts Magazine Pacemakers and 2022 Yearbook Pacemaker winners, were announced during the closing awards ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, on April 22.

“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, one of the oldest awards for scholastic journalism, has a rich tradition. The association started presenting the prestigious award to high school newspapers soon after the organization was founded in 1921. Throughout the years, yearbooks, magazines, online sites and broadcast programs were added to the competition. 

To select the Pacemaker finalists, judges carefully studied approximately 140 sites submitted from 31 states and three countries. On Feb. 24, NSPA announced 24 online sites as 2023 Pacemaker finalists.

The 12 Pacemakers represent six states. California and Texas led with four Pacemakers each. In all, entries from 11 states were recognized as either finalists or Pacemakers.

Two teams of three judges studied every entry, analyzing its strengths. The status of each entry was agreed upon by at least two of the three judges.

The sites competed in two different categories based on school population. Judges did not evaluate the size category that included their school.

Judges, from five states, served on two judging teams. The team leaders were award-winning collegiate advisers —

Elizabeth Smith, Pepperdine University 
Chris Waugaman, Virginia State University

Four advisers of Pacemaker-winning scholastic websites and publications also served as judges —

Kathy Habiger, Kansas
Debra Klevens, Missouri
Leland Mallett, Texas
Justin Raisner, California

The online sites competed in two different categories based on school population. Two teams of three judges studied every entry, analyzing its strengths. The status of each entry was agreed upon by at least two of the three judges.

In this competition, only the online news product was judged. The news sites were either digital companions to print newspapers and newsmagazines or online-only products. In all, 85 sites were companions to print newspapers and newsmagazines and 40 were online-only products. A separate 2022 NSPA Newspaper/Newsmagazine Pacemaker competition recognized 38 print news publications and specialty magazines in November. In all, eight schools earned Pacemaker recognition for both their print and online products.

2023 Online Pacemaker finalists

Past winners
NSPA awards archive

Spring 2023
Pacemaker announcements

2023 Innovation
2022 Literary Arts Magazines
2023 Online
2022 Yearbooks

Pacemaker badge

Click the image. Then right-click to save the PNG file to use in your masthead.

To celebrate its 2021 centennial, NSPA compiled the Pacemaker 100 — its top 100 Pacemaker winners.

Best of Show
Spring National High School Journalism Convention
San Francisco
April 22, 2022

2023 Online Pacemakers

listed by state

Scot Scoop
Carlmont High School
Belmont, California
Editor-in-chief: Hudson Fox
Adviser: Justin Raisner

El Estoque
Monta Vista High School
Cupertino, California
Editors-in-chief: Michelle Chen, Anushka De, Jayanti Jha
Adviser: Julia Satterthwaite

The Boiling Point
Shalhevet High School
Los Angeles, California
Editors-in-chief: Benjamin Gamson, Tali Liebenthal, Tomomi Shaw
Adviser: Joelle Keene

The Chronicle
Harvard-Westlake School
Studio City, California
Editors-in-chief: Natalie Cosgrove, Will Sherwood
Adviser: Billy Montgomery

The Harbinger
Shawnee Mission East High School
Prairie Village, Kansas
Editors-in-chief: Lyda Cosgrove, Kate Heitmann
Adviser: Dow Tate

The Gator
Brimmer and May School
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Editors-in-chief: Natalie Kozhemiakin, Edan Zinn
Adviser: David Cutler

Wayland Student Press Network
Wayland High School
Wayland, Massachusetts
Editors-in-chief: Genevieve Morrison, Emily Roberge
Advisers: Mary Barber, Brian Keaney

The Communicator
Community High School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Editors-in-chief: Addi Hinesman, Rita Ionides, Anjali Kakarla, Scarlett London
Adviser: Tracy Anderson

Francis Howell North High School
St. Charles, Missouri
Editors-in-chief: Chloe Ellison, Amber Winkler
Advisers: Jordyn Kiel, Aaron Manfull

The Shield
McCallum High School
Austin, Texas
Editors-in-chief: Evie Barnard, Alice Scott
Adviser: Dave Winter

Coppell Student Media
Coppell High School
Coppell, Texas
Editor-in-chief: Angelina Liu
Advisers: Irma Kennedy, Chase Wofford

Liberty High School
Frisco, Texas
Editors-in-chief: Caroline Caruso, Harley Classe, Erika Pernis, Athena Tseng
Adviser: Brian Higgins

The Rider Online
Legacy High School
Mansfield, Texas
Editor-in-chief: Leilani Fierro
Advisers: Rachel Dearinger, Leland Mallett