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Pacemaker nomination suggests summer improvement

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[/media-credit] The award presentation was held at the Denver Hyatt Hotel across from the Colorado Convention Center and hosted 3,400 students during the conference and ceremony, April 14.

Over 300 campus newspapers from 45 states competed for months for the right to be called the best high school publications in the country. While only nine online finalists were recognized at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, The Feather was named a Pacemaker finalist for the second year in a row.

The award presentation was held at the Denver Hyatt Hotel across from the Colorado Convention Center and hosted 3,400 students during the conference and ceremony on April 14.

“The Pacemaker finalists have excelled in all areas,” NSPA Contest Coordinator, Sarah Rice said. “Our judges look for dedication to quality work in both the technical and journalistic sides of the online newspaper website. The online staffs honored are examples of outstanding student journalism and successful adventure in new media.”

A Pacemaker is the high school equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize.

“The students at Fresno Christian High School have put in the time and effort it takes to produce an excellent online publication that stacks up against other schools that have taken the time and effort needed to reach their peers through new technology,” Rice said. “The community should applaud these students for their superior work.”

The NSPA site has a complete listing of the Pacemaker winners and finalists.

In addition to adviser Greg Stobbe, webmaster Matthew Shattuck, ’07, editor-in-chief Mary Kneefel, ’08, and senior editor Jennifer Sherfield, ’08, represented The Feather Online and traveled to Colorado to accept a plaque recognizing their nomination for the Pacemaker award and to witness the unveiling of the three winners.

“Mary and I put a lot of hard work and many hours into the three-month period in anticipation of the award,” Sherfield said. “Even though we didn’t come out on top, I’m still glad we did all the work and went to Denver. We are proud to be named a finalist.”

Kneefel agrees with Sherfield in the amount of work and returned to Fresno with a Finalist plaque honoring the online campus newspaper.

“When the staff first met together on the first day of school and only four writers returned, I wasn’t sure I was able to lead the staff,” Kneefel said, “especially looking back to my first two years as a staff writer. I witnessed the entire staff transform from low expectations into a Pacemaker nominee before the first semester ended; I can’t wait to return next year.”

As much as we have already accomplished, so much more is needed to stay abreast of the growing online realm. My job is to find out how we need to progress and I must admit my leadership was inadequate and I hope to remedy some of that this summer. –Greg Stobbe

Since 1927, the NSPA has been partnering with high schools to improve their staffs, advisers and publications. According to their website, the NSPA “provides journalism education services to students, teachers, media advisers and others throughout the US and in other countries.”

The newspapers were judged on focus and variety of content, interactivity, navigation, fresh and new content, editorial vision and clarity of the site. School size has no bearing in the award.

This years’ nomination was the second in campus history; last year the site was one of the three Pacemaker winners as the best high school online newspapers in the United States.

“I would have liked to have The Feather be named a Pacemaker winning for two consecutive years,” Kneefel said, “however, we were competing against several prestigious papers. Since we have a young staff this year, I think we will be able to return next year with more experience and dedication.”

Palo Alto High’s the Paly Voice, Granite Hill High’s Grizzly Gazette and Laboratory High’s Online Gargoyle were named the online Pacemaker winners of 2007.

“While at first I thought we placed in the top three, I began to see a new level of online journalism emerge,” Stobbe said. “The commitment that the staffs of the three winners made this year, their willingness to technologically advance their papers was exciting. I know we can still compete with them, but I realized the need to seek more interactive content including podcasting and forums. We also need to upgrade the look of our paper.

“As much as we have already accomplished, so much more is needed to stay abreast of the growing online realm,” Stobbe said. “My job is to find out how we need to progress and I must admit my leadership was inadequate and I hope to remedy some of that this summer.”

The NSPA has a complete listing of past winners on their website including The Feather’s 2006 Pacemaker.

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  • R

    Rishele RossOct 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Hahaha Brandi, I love your smile and how you are so happy 🙂
    It’s okay!

    You were just so concentrated that u were serious. haha we all know 🙂

    Reply
  • B

    Brandi ThompsonOct 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I was so into the game that I was scared we were going to loose. I also wanted my best friend Nicole Hensley to go in because she looked so sad and I wanted to see her play.

    Reply