Knight yearbook named a 2019 Pacemaker finalist

The staff becomes the first in McCallum history to be chosen as a finalist for association's 'preeminent award'

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NSPA

For the first time in school history, the Knight yearbook is a finalist for the NSPA Pacemaker Award, one of the most prestigious national award in scholastic journalism.

NSPA Facebook Live video broadcast on Dec. 19

MacJournalism staff reports

The 2019 Knight was named one of the nation’s 50 best high school yearbooks on Thursday when the National Scholastic Press Association announced that it was among the finalists in its annual Pacemaker Award competition.

It’s a very proud moment when you hold a spot next to the publications that inspire you.”

— senior Mira MacLaurin, 2020 Knight editor in chief

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

Rylie Jones, the 2018-2019 editor in chief as a senior, said that the award recognition is truly a staff award.

“Everyone on the team worked really hard on the book. I’m really glad we all were able to put out a great yearbook that’s being recognized among the nation’s 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.

“The Pacemaker competition was extremely rigorous with only 62 finalists [50 high school and 12 middle school], making it one of the most selective yearbook competitions,” said Gary Lundgren, associate director and coordinator of the Pacemaker competition. “The 2019 winners not only excelled in all the journalistic aspects, but the judges were looking for yearbooks that stood out from the rest for innovation and fresh verbal and visual approaches to reporting the story of the year.”

The judges were looking for yearbooks that stood out from the rest for innovation and fresh verbal and visual approaches to reporting the story of the year.”

— NSPA associate director Gary Lundgren

Senior Mira MacLaurin, the current Knight editor in chief, was the organization section editor in 2018-2019. In eighth grade, MacLaurin served as the editor in chief of her middle school yearbook at Kealing, which earned a Yearbook Pacemaker Award.

“Being a finalist for the Pacemaker is one of the highest honors a yearbook can receive,” MacLaurin said. “The integrity of the award means everything because the other books that place are fantastic and like no other. It’s a very proud moment when you hold a spot next to the publications that inspire you.”

Pacemaker finalists will be recognized on Thursday night, April 16 at the Opening Ceremony of the Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. The Pacemaker winners (20 high school and four middle school yearbooks) will be announced Saturday, April 18 at the convention’s closing Awards Ceremony.

We believe it’s the first time in school history that the Knight has been named a Pacemaker finalist.

Everyone on the team worked really hard on the book.”

— Rylie Jones, 2018-2019 Knight EIC

“The Knight yearbooks advised by Randy Stano in the late 1970s have earned a spot in yearbook history,” Lundgren told MacJournalism. “The blue ‘BIG MAC’ book from 1978 is regarded by as one of the most innovative yearbook produced.”

Pacemakers were not being given during that period for yearbooks.

The 2019 Pacemaker finalist distinction represents the fourth time in three years a MacJournalism publication has been named a finalist (two online newspaper, one print newspaper and one yearbook). The Shield won its first print newspaper Pacemaker in 1981, and its first online newspaper Pacemaker in 2018. Thursday’s Pacemaker news capped off a week filled with good news for the Knight staff. We’ll be sharing the rest of the good news soon in separate posts.

Balfour Yearbooks
The 1978 Knight advised by Randy Stano is celebrated as one of the most innovative yearbooks in scholastic journalism history, but NSPA did not award Yearbook Pacemaker Awards at that time. The 2019 Knight is the first Mac yearbook to be so honored.