Setting the Pace in Print 13


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An overview of NSPA’s signature award, The Pacemaker, with examples from the 2011-12 finalists and winners, presented at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in San Francisco, April 27, 2013.

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Setting the Pace in Print 13

  1. 1. SETTINGTHE PACE IN PRINTTHE PACEMAKER AWARDRecognizing excellence in student media since 1927.JEA/NSPA San Francisco Convention • April 27, 2013NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC PRESS ASSOCIATIONLogan Aimone, Executive DirectorThis presentation is available at permission is given for educational use.Saturday, April 27, 13
  2. 2. INTRODUCTIONThe Pacemaker is the highest honorin scholastic journalism. For decades, it hasrecognized trend-setters and go-getters, effortand enterprise, achievement and talent.Today, the Pacemaker continues to recognizethe best student journalism in the nation.Saturday, April 27, 13
  3. 3. KEEP IN MIND…The images seen in this presentation areNewspaper Pacemaker Finalists from the 2011-12academic year plus 2012 yearbooks and magazines.Yearbook winners will be announcedat Saturday’s awards ceremony.Inclusion of a publication in this presentationdoes not indicate status as a winner.Do not read anything into whetheran example was included here.Saturday, April 27, 13
  4. 4. WHO’S JUDGING?Pacemaker judges are professionals working in media aswell as a range of experts familiar with student media.Judges for the 2011-12 NSPA Pacemakers includedworking professionals, veteran advisers,and teams from the Alaska Quarterly ReviewandThe Sacramento BeeSaturday, April 27, 13
  5. 5. WHO’S JUDGING?Judging is by team.We ask the media organization tocompile a group with representation from variousdepartments (writer, editor, designer, photographer, etc.).Entries are judged holistically.There is not a rubricwith points attached to certain criteria.Judging is by nature somewhat subjective based onestablished standards of scholastic journalism.Saturday, April 27, 13
  6. 6. HOW DOTHEY JUDGE?• The number of Pacemaker finalists and winners isproportional to the number of entries.• The number is not fixed each year, but about half of thefinalists will be named winners.• This is a contest, not a critique.• NSPA asks judges to provide general feedback on the finalists.Some teams are more thorough. Comments will be shared onour website as part of the winners gallery and in our book,Best of the High School Press.Saturday, April 27, 13
  7. 7. WHAT DOTHEY JUDGE?• Content• Quality of writing and editing• Presentation: Layout and design• Photography, art and graphics• Reporting:Type and depth (newspaper)• Editorial Leadership (newspaper)• Overall concept or theme (yearbook, magazine)Saturday, April 27, 13
  8. 8. CONTENT & COVERAGE• The publication should accurately reflect all aspects of studentlife, from academics to sports, arts to community news.• Newspapers should localize national or regional stories fortheir own campus communities.Wire or reprinted copy isdiscouraged.Saturday, April 27, 13
  9. 9. CONTENT & COVERAGELocalize!Top stories here arepresented to show the impacton the campus and itsstudents.Additionally, displaytext is used to conveyinformation and entice thereader to enter the lead.The OarsmanVenice HSLos AngelesSaturday, April 27, 13
  10. 10. CONTENT & COVERAGEA variety of trend stories andschool news pieces connectreaders with the worldbeyond the campus. Quickreads highlight news in brief.The BroadviewConvent of the Sacred Heart HSSan FranciscoSaturday, April 27, 13
  11. 11. CONTENT & COVERAGEA full-page story is a big risk,but this topic has impact. Ittells the story of a formerstudent now incarcerated.Among the fundamentalpurposes of the newspaper isto educate the reader.EvanstonianEvanstonTownship HSEvanston, Ill.Saturday, April 27, 13
  12. 12. CONTENT & COVERAGEA newsmagazine has theopportunity to dedicatemultiple pages to one topic— in this case $1.2 million inwasted school funds.The MuseDreyfoos School of the ArtsWest Palm Beach, Fla.Saturday, April 27, 13
  13. 13. CONTENT & COVERAGECover the stories in a waythat matters to your readers.In this case, the impact of aSAT rule change is explained.The students at this Jewishschool take the SAT onSunday rather than thetraditional Saturday.The Boiling PointShalhevet HSLos AngelesSaturday, April 27, 13
  14. 14. CONTENT & COVERAGEStaff blends coverage of clubs, yet elementsintegrate well and remain distinct. Coverageemphasizes new aspects and angles.SkjöldCorning-Painted PostWest HSPainted Post, N.Y.Saturday, April 27, 13
  15. 15. TitanianSan Marino HSSan Marino, Calif.CONTENT & COVERAGEAll types of students are covered throughactivities. Sidebars on classT-shirts and artshowcase the work with detail photos.Saturday, April 27, 13
  16. 16. WRITING & REPORTING• Writing should be crisp. Reporting must be thorough.• Copy should be clean and edited for consistent style.• Look at NSPA Story of theYear winners for examples ofexcellence:, April 27, 13
  17. 17. PRESENTATION:LAYOUT & DESIGN• The publication should have a clean and contemporary look.• Visual hierarchy is established.Saturday, April 27, 13
  18. 18. PRESENTATIONA textbook example ofmodular layout with multipleentry points for the reader.The page demonstrates aclear hierarchy — emphasizedby the flag along the rail.Color discipline is also evidenthere.The LowellLowell HSSan FranciscoSaturday, April 27, 13
  19. 19. PRESENTATIONAnother strong textbookexample of modular layout.This one adheres to a grid butbreaks the rules in a couple ofplaces. Initial letters to beginthe stories help guide thereader’s eye to the leads.The RockRock Bridge HSColumbia, Mo.Saturday, April 27, 13
  20. 20. PRESENTATIONA strong illustrative visual isused effectively to convey thestory about rising gas prices.The page offers multiplepoints of entry for the reader.tjTODAYThomas Jefferson HSAlexandria,Va.Saturday, April 27, 13
  21. 21. PRESENTATIONWith a nod to traditionaldesign, this page looks towarda new direction and blazes atrail.This paper manages tosimultaneously balance bothtraditional and contemporarylooks — successfully.The Marshfield TimesMarshfield HSCoos Bay, Ore.Saturday, April 27, 13
  22. 22. PRESENTATIONWhite space has impact.The boxed story and bold,simple headline set theappropriate tone for a storyon bullying.The Little HawkIowa City HSIowa City, IowaSaturday, April 27, 13
  23. 23. PRESENTATIONThis spread about state fair food could be in anytype of print media.And, it serves the reader.AgromeckNorth CarolinaState UniversityRaleigh, N.C.Saturday, April 27, 13
  24. 24. LionMcKinney HS,McKinney,TexasPRESENTATIONThe traditional-style layout feels contemporarythrough use of internal margins, isolated elements,call-out boxes and a clever display head.Saturday, April 27, 13
  25. 25. DetailsWhitney HSRocklin, Calif.PRESENTATIONMultiple elements form a chorus. Spread benefitsfrom strong use of color and discipline to whitespace and design details.Saturday, April 27, 13
  26. 26. SagaLoudounValley HS,Purcellville,Va.PRESENTATIONA dominant photo draws the eye, whilesecondary images support the spread andintroduce the theme.Saturday, April 27, 13
  27. 27. TitanianSan Marino HSSan Marino, Calif.PRESENTATIONThis updated traditional layout uses main andsecondary headlines to move the reader’s eyearound the page. Internal margins support.Saturday, April 27, 13
  28. 28. PHOTOGRAPHY,ART & GRAPHICS• Visuals enhance the verbal content and draw in the reader.• Quality of photos and art is technically excellent.Saturday, April 27, 13
  29. 29. PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSA large, tightly croppeddominant photo above thefold has impact on the pageand conveys the emotion ofthe story it accompanies.Other images on the pagesupport the storytelling.Granite Bay GazetteGranite Bay HSGranite Bay, Calif.Saturday, April 27, 13
  30. 30. PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSA clever use of Photoshopcan take a challenging storyand communicate the ideasimply and with few, if any,words.The CommunicatorCommunity HSAnn Arbor, Mich.Saturday, April 27, 13
  31. 31. PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSReversed text and simplegraphic tell the story well inthis cover illustration.Text ishandled subtly and is placedto the edges to allow theimage room for impact.El EstoqueMontaVista HSCupertino, Calif.Saturday, April 27, 13
  32. 32. PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSA powerful image, technicallyexcellent and cropped wellshould be the goal of everymedia staff. Dominant andsecondary images worktogether to coordinatestorytelling. Note the overallappearance that evokes awebsite.The SouthernerGrady HSAtlantaSaturday, April 27, 13
  33. 33. PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSClever cover illustrations areessential in newsmagazinedesign as they must convey alarge topic and not a singlenews event.The “DIY” testingconcept is illustrated with ahand-folded piece of origamifrom a Scantron sheet, thequintessential symbol ofstandardized testing.HiLiteCarmel HSCarmel, Ind.Saturday, April 27, 13
  34. 34. ReflectionsBlueValley HSStilwell, Kan.PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSThis photo serves double duty as backdrop andstoryteller. Secondary images present a full storyboth in the pool and on the deck.Saturday, April 27, 13
  35. 35. TeresianSt.Teresa’sAcademyKansas CityPHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSAn opening spread invites the reader to connectwith a photo that captures a moment. Full-spreadimages have impact.Saturday, April 27, 13
  36. 36. CarillonBellarmine CollegePreparatorySchoolSan Jose, Calif.PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSContemporary typography gives a fresh feel to atraditional layout.Well-cropped photos showactivity, not students sitting at desks.Saturday, April 27, 13
  37. 37. TeliosMount ParanChristian SchoolKennesaw, Ga.PHOTO,ART & GRAPHICSBreak from the routine of a dominant photo tograb the reader.An alternate storytelling deviceworks well for this chart about family diversity.Saturday, April 27, 13
  38. 38. REPORTING:TYPE & DEPTH• Major stories should show evidence of multiple sources.• Series or in-depth pieces should be prominent.Saturday, April 27, 13
  39. 39. REPORTINGEnterprising news dominatesPage One with stories aboutcollege tuition, studentgovernment budget andeducational facilities.The HubDavis HSDavis, Calif.Saturday, April 27, 13
  40. 40. REPORTINGThe Stagg LineA.A. Stagg HSStockton, Calif.Page One features stories thataffect readers: the rise of busfare and credit recoveryoptions for students.A rail ofquick-read stories helps getmore news on the page.Saturday, April 27, 13
  41. 41. REPORTINGExposing students to ideasand stories outside their highschool world is a role of thestudent press.The UrbanLegend brings the schoolsmission into focus with thisstory about connectingstudents with globaleducational experiences.The Urban LegendThe Urban School of San FranciscoSan FranciscoSaturday, April 27, 13
  42. 42. REPORTINGTackling an issue that iscommonly known but rarelyreported, the Highlights staffprominently puts plagiarismfront and center.HighlightsBeverly Hills HSBeverly Hills, Calif.Saturday, April 27, 13
  43. 43. EDITORIAL LEADERSHIP• Opinion pages should be alive with a variety of content: staffeditorials, cartoons, letters and personal columns.• Content should be consequential.Saturday, April 27, 13
  44. 44. EDITORIAL LEADERSHIPIn addition to the strongcoverage of the issue ofparenting, what stands outhere is the teaser for the staffeditorial — the thesis ispresented on Page One withthe full story teased inside.That’s innovative and givesprominence to the staff’sview.2011 WINNERThe StandardThe American School in LondonLondon, EnglandSaturday, April 27, 13
  45. 45. EDITORIAL LEADERSHIPA pro-con piece is presentedwell. In this case, the topic isrelevant and has two distinctviewpoints. Consider adding asection where each studentwriter offers rebuttal to theother’s argument.2011 WINNERThe SouthernerHenry W. Grady HSAtlanta, Ga.Saturday, April 27, 13
  46. 46. EDITORIAL LEADERSHIPA variety of art (cartoons and illustrations) as wellas mugs break up these pages of text.2010 WINNERThe FalconerTorrey Pines HSSan Diego, Calif.Saturday, April 27, 13
  47. 47. EDITORIAL LEADERSHIPA praise editorial is a nice change of pace. Manystudent voices are evident.2010 WINNERThe Stagg LineA.A. Stagg HSStockton, Calif.Saturday, April 27, 13
  48. 48. CONCEPT /THEME• Concept unifies coverage and content.• Theme is relevant to current year or issue and providesstructure for storytelling.Saturday, April 27, 13
  49. 49. CONCEPT/THEMEthink small.WingsArrowhead Christian AcademyRedlands, Calif.Saturday, April 27, 13
  50. 50. WingsArrowheadChristian AcademyRedlands, Calif.CONCEPT/THEMEStaff uses the contrasting tension of big/small toshowcase stories. Concept includes the “littlethings” and the “big picture.”Saturday, April 27, 13
  51. 51. CONCEPT/THEMEWe Stand ProudWestwindWest Henderson HSHendersonville, N.C.Saturday, April 27, 13
  52. 52. WestwindWest Henderson HSHendersonville, N.C.CONCEPT/THEMEPhotos reinforce concept of standing and pride.Subtle word play with first four letters of themespelling “W-E-S-T” — the school’s name.Saturday, April 27, 13
  53. 53. SOMETHINGSTO CONSIDER• Does your publication provide a sense of place?• When reading the publication, does the reader learn aboutthe campus, the culture, the students and faculty?• Or, does the coverage feel generic?Saturday, April 27, 13
  54. 54. SOMETHINGSTO CONSIDER• Does the work feel contemporary?• The publication ought to look like it was produced this year.• Don’t start over each year, but the type and graphics needto evolve.• Look to trend-setting magazines, advertisements and othercurrent printed materials for inspiration.Saturday, April 27, 13
  55. 55. SOMETHINGSTO CONSIDER• Do the stories matter?• Place the stories in context for the reader.• Set the agenda through investigations and enterprise pieces.• Localize regional, national and international stories. Focus onthe campus.Saturday, April 27, 13
  56. 56. SOME WAYSTO IMPROVE• Work on the content. Dig around your campus andcommunity for real stories. Don’t overplay or sensationalize.Cover all aspects and all groups.• Pay attention to photography and graphics.These two areas help your publication stand out from others.Think of the best way to tell a story for readers to read andunderstand.Saturday, April 27, 13
  57. 57. SOME WAYSTO IMPROVE• Details make the difference. Typography, white space,style — these are what set Pacemakers apart.• Have a strong editorial voice. Make the editorialpages a lively forum on substantive topics.Saturday, April 27, 13
  58. 58. SOME WAYSTO IMPROVE• Make every story polished. Write tight. Readers willread long if it’s good. Put columnists on a word count diet.• Take your own photos or use common works.Find images to use under a Creative Commons license orsimilar permission to use.Attribute correctly.WikiCommonsand Flickr both have free images.Saturday, April 27, 13
  59. 59. SOME WAYSTO IMPROVE• Consider the alternatives. Look to alternate storyforms in addition to the traditional story or copy block. Notonly will your content attract more readers, the stories thatneed traditional treatment will stand out, too.• Don’t just copy the leaders. They aren’t copying you.They’re finding a new and innovative ways to presentinformation.They’re setting the pace.Saturday, April 27, 13
  60. 60. WHAT’S NEXT?The 2012 Pacemaker winnerswill be announced Saturday afternoon.Enter your student media in the 2012-13 contests.Watch your email and our websitefor deadlines and entry forms.Saturday, April 27, 13
  61. 61. QUESTIONS?Thanks!E-mail: logan@studentpress.orgOnline:, April 27, 13