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Pacemakers: Loyola University New Orleans Student Newspaper Wins “Pulitzer Prize of Student Journalism”

Loyola press release - November 2, 2015

Loyola University New Orleans’ 93-year-old student newspaper The Maroon this weekend took home the nation’s top award in student journalism.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, The Maroon received a national Pacemaker Award from the Associated College Press at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas. The student newspaper also ranked second in the nation for best editorial cartoon and third in the nation for best rate card; took home a national honorable mention for best front page design; The Maroon also took ninth place for “Best in Show.”

“Once they said 'Pacemaker Award,' everything else faded away,” said Loyola Student Media adviser and instructor Michael Giusti ‘00, M.B.A. ’12. “This is big. This is really big.”

Established in 1927, The National Pacemaker Awards are awards for excellence in American student journalism. The annual awards are generally considered to be the highest national honors in their field and are unofficially known as the “Pulitzer Prizes of student journalism.” The National Scholastic Press Association, which administers the contest for high school programs, and the Associated Collegiate Press, which administers the college and university contests, issue awards each year in the following categories: Newspaper, Online, Yearbook/Magazine, and Broadcast.

The Maroon, which was last nominated for a Pacemaker Award in 2007, was among 12 non-daily student newspapers to receive a Pacemaker Award on Saturday. The winners were selected from among 20 finalists, which included The Herald, a non-daily student newspaper run by students at Xavier University New Orleans.

“We’re all so excited,” said Giusti, who brought six Loyola students to Austin for the awards ceremony. “It is a huge honor to receive The Pacemaker alongside the best media outlets in college media.”

Loyola’s student newspaper received the Pacemaker in a grand finale to a record-breaking year. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Loyola students in the School of Mass Communication racked up 86 local, state, regional and national awards.

Top awards received by The Maroon included a “Collegiate Gold Crown,” the highest honor given annually by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association to college publications, and being named one of “Top Five Colleges in the U.S. by The Princeton Review. The newspaper was also named “All American” for the second consecutive year by the Associated College Press, who gave the student newspaper its highest ranking, with five marks of distinction.

Already during, the 2015-2016 academic year, which began in August, Loyola students have received 14 awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press. The Maroon was also named the #4 college newspaper in the U.S. in The Princeton Review’s “Best 380 Colleges: 2016 Edition.”

In other news: Students in Loyola University New Orleans’ School of Mass Communication returned this fall to improved facilities and new, cutting-edge equipment thanks to a state grant totaling $189,000. Awarded in June, the grant is one of the largest given by the Louisiana Board of Regents this year.

Loyola’s School of Mass Communication, which trains students studying journalism, advertising and public relations to use multimedia platforms, enjoys a job placement rate well above the national average, which is approximately 56 percent. Upon graduation, last year’s job placement rate for Loyola strategic communications and journalism students was nearly 90 percent documented full-time employment, within six to nine months after graduation.

“The Pacemaker Award is the crowning achievement in a banner year for The Maroon,” said Sonya Duhé, director. “This is a fantastic year for the School of Mass Communication and I am so proud of our students and faculty who have achieved so much. It’s a true testament to the quality of the education here at Loyola New Orleans.”