2024 Online Pacemakers

NSPA names ‘best of the best’

Pacemaker competition recognizes
12 news sites for journalistic excellence

April 6, 2024

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI — Honoring the nation’s best, National Scholastic Press Association named 12 scholastic news sites as prestigious Pacemaker winners.

The online winners, plus the 2023 Innovation Pacemaker, 2023 Literary Arts Magazine Pacemaker and 2023 Yearbook Pacemaker winners, were announced for the first time during the closing awards ceremony of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention on April 6.

“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 132 sites submitted from 30 states. and two countries. On Feb. 28, NSPA announced 26 online sites as 2024 Pacemaker finalists.

The 12 Pacemakers represent 8 states. Texas led with three Pacemakers, followed by California and Illinois each with two. In all, entries from 14 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.

Award-winning student media advisers from six states, served on two judging teams. Judges did not participate in the judging or discussion of websites from their own schools.

Tracy Anderson, Michigan
David Cutler, Massachusetts
Debra Klevens, Missouri
Jonathan Rogers, Iowa
Jim Streisel, Indiana
Dave Winter, Texas

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, 82 sites were companions to print newspapers and newsmagazines and 49 were online-only products.

A separate 2023 NSPA Newspaper/Newsmagazine Pacemaker competition recognized 24 print news publications and specialty magazines in November. In all, three schools earned Pacemaker recognition for both their print and online products.

Kansas City convention awards & Best of Show

NSPA awards archive

NSPA contests at a glance

2024 Online Pacemakers

listed by state

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

The Foothill Dragon Press
Foothill Technology High School
Ventura, California
Editors-in-chief: Olivia Mowad, Tessa Shinden
Adviser: Yiu Hung Li

The Blueprint
Hagerty High School
Oviedo, Florida
Editor-in-chief: Nadia Knoblauch
Adviser: Brit Taylor

U-High Midway
University of Chicago Laboratory High School
Chicago, Illinois
Editors-in-chief: Audrey Park, Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu, Sahana Unni
Adviser: Logan Aimone

Wildcat Chronicle
West Chicago Community High School
West Chicago, Illinois
Editor-in-chief: Sasha Baumgartner
Adviser: Leslie Fireman

The Harbinger
Shawnee Mission East High School
Prairie Village, Kansas
Editors-in-chief: Aanya Bansal, Maggie Kissick
Adviser: Dow Tate

Wayland Student Press Network
Wayland High School
Wayland, Massachusetts
Editors-in-chief: Nadya Chase, Talia Macchi
Adviser: Sarah Lee

The Rubicon
St. Paul Academy and Summit School
St. Paul, Minnesota
Editor-in-chief: Clara McKoy
Adviser: Kathryn Campbell

Southwest Shadow
Southwest Career and Technical Academy
Las Vegas, Nevada
Editor-in-chief: Ayma Malik
Adviser: Matthew LaPorte

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

Liberty High School
Frisco, Texas
Editors-in-chief: Rin Ryu, Maya Silberman, Haley Ward
Adviser: Brian Higgins

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