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The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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Keith Moody
Yearbook Co-Assistant Sports Editor

(he/him) Keith Moody is a junior at West this year and this is his first year on the Trojan Epic staff. He is the Co-Assistant Sports Editor this year. In his free time you can find him spending time with...

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NSPA names West Side Story a Pacemaker finalist

Winners to be announced on Nov. 4 at Boston convention
NSPA names top newspapers, magazines in its Pacemaker contest. In this competition, only the print news product was judged. Online Pacemaker finalists will be announced in February.

The National Scholastic Press Association named the 2022-23 West Side Story staff a Newspaper/Newsmagazine Pacemaker finalist on Sept. 6. Pacemaker finalists will be recognized and the Pacemaker winners announced for the first time at the NSPA Awards Ceremony on Nov. 4 at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Boston.

“The Pacemaker is the association’s preeminent award,” Executive Director Laura Widmer said. “NSPA is honored to recognize the best of the best.”

The NSPA Pacemaker award has a rich tradition and the association started presenting the award to high school newspapers a few years after the organization was founded in 1921. Throughout the years, yearbooks, magazines, online sites and broadcast programs were added to the competition.

The 54 Pacemaker finalists represent 18 states as well as the United Kingdom. California set the pace with 16 finalists, followed by Texas with 10. The West Side Story is the only school recognized in Iowa.

Of the 54 newspapers, newsmagazines and specialty magazines recognized as finalists, 24 will earn Pacemakers.

Two teams of three judges worked remotely judging and studying every entry discussing its strengths and weaknesses.

The high school newspapers/newsmagazines competed in two categories based on school enrollment — less than 1,800 students and 1,800 or more students.

Junior high/middle school newspapers/newsmagazines as well as specialty magazines competed in separate categories.

Specialty magazines provide in-depth, long-form stories focused on timely topics/issues relevant to a student audience. The content of a specialty magazine frequently focuses on a single topic/issue. A specialty magazine has its own identity and name and it is not a special edition of a newspaper/newsmagazine. Topical magazines such as sports, science, business or entertainment also compete in this category.

Literary arts magazines compete in a separate Pacemaker competition with an entry deadline of Nov. 10.

Gary Lundgren, associate director and coordinator of the Pacemaker competition, observed that specialty magazines are growing in popularity in high schools across the country.

“With most news being delivered online, student journalists have been redefining their print newspaper,” Lundgren said. “More and more that means transitioning from a traditional newspaper format to a specialty magazine with in-depth reporting.”

Insights and observations from the judges about the Pacemaker winning publications will be posted after the Pacemaker winners are announced along with the names and professional bios of the judges.

“In addition to demonstrating excellence in key areas including coverage, writing, editing, design and photography, the winning newspapers/newspapers took risks and served as a strong voice for its student audience,” Lundgren said.

In this competition, only the print news product was judged. A separate NSPA Online Pacemaker competition will recognize online news sites in the spring.

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