The Shield Online

Shield captures first ever Online Pacemaker Award

Honor continues year of firsts for MacJournalism website


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At the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, The Shield Online is announced as one of 22 National Scholastic Press Association Online Pacemaker Award winners. Photo by Amira Sahba, Westlake High School.

The staff of The Shield learned on Saturday afternoon that it was among the 22 staffs that had won a national Online Pacemaker Award for its website, The Shield Online. The Pacemaker Award, given by the National Scholastic Press Association, is generally considered to be the highest honor in the field of scholastic journalism. The Shield staff won Pacemaker Awards for its print newspaper in 2004 and again in 2011; it has never won for its online version before Saturday.

“I am beyond excited to have won this award,” web editor-in-chief, Sophie Ryland said. “I remember joking with Mr. Winter last year that we had to win a Pacemaker before I graduated, but I really didn’t think it would happen so soon. It’s especially exciting because this has been the first year we’ve really committed to maintaining our website. I know Mr. Winter and the rest of us have worked so hard on this website this year, so it’s amazing to have that be recognized on such a prestigious level.”

The Pacemaker Award is the latest in a series of firsts for the Shield website. At the fall NSPA/JEA National High School Journalism Convention in Dallas in November, the website placed ninth in the NSPA Best of Show competition in the website category, marking the first time the website had earned a Best of Show Award. The website also played a part in the Shield staff winning two hybrid national awards (for the print and online newspaper) for the first time: the 2017 George H. Gallup Award from the Quill and Scroll International Journalism Honor Society and a 2018 Silver Crown from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.

17 out of the 22 winners, including The Shield Online, were members of SNO Sites, a new website publishing server designed specifically for scholastic journalism.

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