The Shield Online

Shield captures two top national honors

In 48-hour period, newspaper staff wins George H. Gallup Award and is named a Pacemaker Award finalist

NSPA Live was streamed live on the NSPA Facebook page on Friday.

The+Shield+has+been+named+one+of+67+NSPA+Newspaper+Pacemaker+Award+finalists.++
The Shield has been named one of 67 NSPA Newspaper Pacemaker Award finalists.

The Shield has been named one of 67 NSPA Newspaper Pacemaker Award finalists.

The Shield has been named one of 67 NSPA Newspaper Pacemaker Award finalists.


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The staff of The Shield, McCallum’s print and online newspaper, had a pretty special 48 hours between 1 p.m. Wednesday and 1 p.m. Friday. In that span of time, the staff was awarded one of the three most coveted prizes in scholastic journalism and was named a finalist for another one of them.

On Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m., the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society for High School Journalists informed The Shield staff via email that it had won the George H. Gallup Award, the highest honor awarded in the society’s annual News and Media Evaluation contest. The Shield was one of 10 schools nationwide to receive the Gallup Award and the only high school in Texas.

On Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., the National Scholastic Press Association announced via a live Facebook stream that The Shield had been named a finalist to receive a 2018 Newspaper Pacemaker Award. The Shield staff was one of 61 high school newspaper staffs to be named as Pacemaker finalists on Friday along with six middle schools.

“It’s a huge honor to see our school get recognized at the national level,” said Julie Robertson, who along with Charlie Holden, served as co-editors-in-chief of The Shield print edition during the 2017-2018 school year. “We knew our class was special with so many achievements, awards and school records: this just adds to it.”

The state of Texas tied California with the highest number of Newspaper Pacemaker finalists. Both states had 14 schools named as finalists. Among the Texas finalists was the staff of The Dispatch from AISD’s James Bowie High School in south Austin.

“There are a lot of great journalism programs in Texas,” said 2018-2019 Shield photo editor Gregory James, who has been a member of the staff since the spring semester of 2017. “It feels really good to be considered among the best in the nation by both Quill and Scroll and NSPA.”

McCallum will always hold a special place in my heart because of the team I spent in 134 working on the paper last year.”

— Julie Robertson, 2017-2018 Shield co-editor-in-chief

Friday’s announcement marked the second time that The Shield staff has been recognized by NSPA for its 2017-2018 work. In April, the Shield online newspaper, under the leadership of web editor-in-chief Sophie Ryland, was one of 22 scholastic websites to win an NSPA Online Pacemaker Award. The staff last won a Newspaper Pacemaker Award in 2011 during the tenure of adviser Rhonda Moore and co-editors Jordan Greenberg and Eliza Loomis. The staff won its first Newspaper Pacemaker Award in 2004 when Moore was adviser and Emily Panzer was Shield editor in chief.

It was the second straight year for The Shield to win a Gallup Award in the multimedia category, which considers both print and online platforms. To be considered for the Gallup Award, the staff submitted three print issues and its website address so the evaluator could judge both the print and online platforms in their evaluation. In order to win a multimedia Gallup Award, the staff had to receive a superior (or highest) rating in each of five categories: general practices, coverage, writing and editing, visuals and digital (social media and website).

The Quill and Scroll evaluator praised The Shield staff in their summary comments for having a professional-looking publication that contains well-edited stories, attractive visuals and a broad range of topics covered.

The Shield was one of 10 schools nationwide to receive the Gallup Award and the only high school in Texas.”

The Gallup Award is named after renowned pollster George H. Gallup, who first organized the Quill and Scroll Honor Society in April of 1926 at the University of Iowa. Similarly, NSPA has been awarding the Pacemaker Award to the top secondary and collegiate newspapers in the nation since the 1920s.

In order to be considered for a Newspaper Pacemaker, the staff submitted the first five of six print issues from the 2017-2018 school year. The Shield was judged competitively with the other news magazine submissions by two panels of three judges. From the group of 67 finalists, a second judging panel will select 28 finalists who will receive Pacemaker Awards at the NSPA/JEA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 3.

In a press release, NSPA associate director and competition coordinator Gary Lundgren praised the Pacemaker finalists for demonstrating excellence in key areas including coverage, writing, editing, design and photography. He also said that the winning newspapers took risks and served as a strong voice for their student audience.

The Pacemakers represent the best in verbal and visual storytelling.”

— NSPA associate director Gary Lundgren

“The best newspapers and newsmagazines delivered relevant coverage that resonated with student readers and the school community with appropriate sourcing, abundant student quotes and consistent journalistic style,” Lundgren said. “The Pacemakers represent the best in verbal and visual storytelling.”

The Gallup and the Pacemaker award represent two of the three most prestigious awards a high school publication can win. The third is the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold Crown Award, which McCallum has never won. In 2016-2017, The Shield was finalist for a 2018 Cold Crown in both the print newspaper and hybrid (print/online) categories. As a double finalist, The Shield won two Silver Crown awards at the CSPA convention in New York last March.

Robertson said that this week’s recognition from the two national press association is very meaningful.

“Even though I’ve graduated and moved on to new challenges, McCallum will always hold a special place in my heart because of the team I spent in 134 working on the paper last year,” Robertson said. “The fact that we now have earned this recognition makes it even more of a special place to me.”

Shield staffers Gregory James, Sophie Ryland and Elisha Scott react to the 1 p.m. Friday announcement that The Shield is a 2018 NSPA Newspaper Pacemaker Award finalist. Video and abrasively loud cheering by Dave Winter.

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Shield captures two top national honors