The Shield Online

Shield named 2018 Pacemaker Award finalist

MacJournalism website one of 42 nationwide that will be considered for NSPA's top honor


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The staff of The Shield learned late last night via email that the National Scholastic Press Association has named The Shield Online one of 42 finalists for the national Pacemaker Award.

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” executive director Laura Widmer said in a press release included in the email. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best with Pacemaker honors.”

The winners will be announced at April’s JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco.

The last time The Shield won a Pacemaker Award was the 2010-2011 school year when it won one for its print edition.”

“In an exciting change in the process, the judging teams will now continue to visit the sites named as Pacemaker finalists on almost a daily basis,” associate director Gary Lundgren said. “The Pacemaker winners will be selected shortly before they are named in April, so for the 42 schools we are naming as finalists today, the competition is really just heating up.”

Along with the Quill and Scroll Society’s George H. Gallup Award and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Crown Award, the Pacemaker is one of the top three national awards that a scholastic news organization can win.

The Shield was awarded the George H. Gallup Award in September, and was announced as a finalist for the Crown Award in October. Both awards were in the category of Hybrid News, taking both web and print content into consideration. The staff will find out this month whether it has won a Silver or Gold Crown. The last time the Shield won one was the 2010-2011 school year, when it won the NSPA Pacemaker Award for its print edition.

Sophie Ryland, the web editor-in-chief, says that considering that the staff has only recently been giving special attention to the website, it’s exciting to see it earning national recognition.

“This year has been the first that we’ve really paid attention to our website; in this past, we mostly just used it as an archive of our print stories,” Ryland said. “Mr. Winter, the rest of the staff and I have been making a lot of effort to really take advantage of our website, posting daily and experimenting with multimedia, so it’s really gratifying to see that being recognized and rewarded.

Newspaper adviser Dave Winter said that the news of the award was a welcome recognition of the effort put into the website.

I’m especially happy for Sophie Ryland, because her vision and her dedication to this website have been instrumental to our success.”

— Adviser Dave Winter

“Truthfully, I had just put in a 17-hour day, and I was feeling exhausted and a little down, so the notification from NSPA was just what the doctor ordered,” Winter said. “It puts fuel in your tank to know that the hard work that you put in is bearing fruit. I’m especially happy for Sophie Ryland, because her vision and her dedication to this website have been instrumental to our success.”

Ryland says that their hard work will not stop with the nomination.

“Since they’re judging daily, we’re going to have to be at the top of our game,” she said. “It’ll be hard,  but I have nothing but the utmost faith in everyone.”

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Shield named 2018 Pacemaker Award finalist”

  1. Anissa Ryland on March 8th, 2018 7:52 am

    Congrats – a well deserved honor!

    [Reply]

  2. Mia Terminella on March 8th, 2018 11:05 am

    This is an amazing and well deserved achievement for the shield! I am proud to be apart of MacJournalism.

    [Reply]

  3. Jessica Riojas on March 31st, 2018 2:09 am

    Well deserved achievement for the shield and the Mac Knights students. Achievements like this one make me proud to be an alumni of McCallum High School. Also proud of my nephew Isak Contreras, sports action photographer for the awesome photos he takes.

    [Reply]

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Shield named 2018 Pacemaker Award finalist