Known as the "Pulitzer Prize" of student journalism, the National Scholastic Press Association's (NSPA) Pacemaker Awards are a highlight for student publications across the country each spring. This year's JEA/NSPA Awards Ceremony looked a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic but excitement was still high when it was announced in the virtual celebration that both the RubicOnline and Iris: Art + Lit magazine were 2020 Pacemaker Award honorees.
RubicOnline, SPA's online student newspaper, was one of 16 scholastic news sites to earn a Pacemaker Award and 2020 marks the newspaper's fifth year in a row winning the award. Iris: Art + Lit was one of nine art and literature magazine to win a Pacemaker Award. "This was the first year the magazine was named a finalist," says Director of Publications Kathryn Campbell. "So, to also be a winner is so thrilling."
Pacemaker entries are judged by teams of professionals based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography, and graphics. The contests are open to any NSPA member publication. Entries must have been published or broadcast during the dates specified on each entry form.
In addition to the Pacemakers, the NSPA also announced its "Best in Show" awards and in this category, SPA earned two more awards: Iris earned the top award, the first-place Best of Show award, for the second time in three years; and The Rubicon print edition won a Best of Show award (seventh place) for their March issue in the Tabloid 17+ Pages category. Generally, The Rubicon doesn't compete in this category but in-depth coverage on "Race @ SPA" pushed the issue to 20 pages and put the publication in a category it has never competed in before. Campbell says the staff was "over the moon" to win an award in a category they were competing in for the first time.
Congratulations to all of our SPA student journalists on another impressive year of reporting!