Details named finalists for Pacemaker, Crown awards


Chloe Parker, Brita Romans, Georgia Minion and Jordan Baker decorate party crowns during class on Feb. 20 to celebrate Details’ nomination for the Pacemaker and Crown awards. Photo by EMMA RICHIE

Chloe Parker, Brita Romans, Georgia Minion and Jordan Baker decorate party crowns during class on Feb. 20 to celebrate Details’ nomination for the Pacemaker and Crown awards. Photo by EMMA RICHIE

This past month, Whitney Details was nominated for its seventh consecutive Pacemaker award for the 2011-2012 yearbook by the NSPA (National Scholastic Press Association).

“The Pacemaker is an award given to the top yearbooks in the country for their innovative coverage and design as well as proper execution. Just being named a finalist is a huge honor, considering a very small number of books across the country make it this far,” current co-editor-in-chief Megan Malm said.

Out of a total of 402 yearbook entries, Details is one of 14 finalists in the 233-288 page category.

According to the NSPA, each finalist “(has) unique and school year-specific themes, inventive and consistent design, in-depth and well-researched copy, balanced and thorough coverage, beautiful photography and high reader usability.”

The winners of the Pacemaker award — approximately 20 of the 50 finalists nationally receive the award — will be announced at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention.

“We are really pleased with the honor and excited to see if (this year’s) is recognized as a Pacemaker. We find out now that we are a finalist and we’ll know the results in San Francisco on April 27,” yearbook adviser Mrs. Sarah Nichols said. “We’ll receive the finalist plaque and if we receive a Pacemaker we’ll receive a second plaque.”

This year, eight Details’ staff members will be attending the spring convention and therefore will be present at the announcement of Pacemaker winners.

“In the past, no Whitney students have been there to get the honor in person. And this year with the spring convention being in San Francisco, it will be really special for them to hear their name called as a finalist and possibly even as a Pacemaker,” Nichols said.

Not only has Details been nominated as Pacemaker finalist, but in December, Details was announced as a Crown Finalist as well. The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Crown Awards, are also awards designated to outstanding publications nationally.

“(Crowns) are known as the Pulitzer Prize of high school journalism,” Nichols said.

The finalists are generally decided based on yearbook concept, which includes the theme and cover design, as well as coverage, photography, design, writing and editing. The theme of the nominated yearbook, co-edited by Amanda Peterson and Lauren Roudebush, was “it’s a lot like nothing else.”

Out of 1,344 publications who applied for this award, only 78 yearbooks were named as finalists, Details being among them.

“It’s an incredible set of publications from around the country. It’s a really elite group. It’s definitely an honor to be included among such outstanding examples of student work. Even a Silver would be a huge honor for our students who produce the book,” Nichols said.

The final results, announced in the third week of March, will reveal the level of achievement for each finalist publication — either a Silver Crown or a Gold Crown. Details has won a Gold Crown for the past two consecutive years and in several previous years as well. This recognition of Details for last year’s publication reflects the staff’s work ethic.

“I know how much everyone on the staff put into that book and getting nominated shows that all of our hard work has payed off in the long run. We are going up against amazing books nationally and that makes me feel good knowing we are seen in the journalism world as a good publication,” section editor Chelsey Burgess said. “Every single person works so hard to make it the best book possible. Continuing to get recognition makes me feel great and makes me strive to do better and better.”

Both for the Pacemaker and the Crown awards, being nominated multiple years in a row, winning consecutively and receiving prestige in the journalistic world, Details has made a name for itself due to the heart and innovation put into each yearbook it produces. But national recognition isn’t a goal the staff sets for itself.

“When you flip through the book, most people don’t realize that every little detail plays a huge role in the theme development. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to create a book, let alone an immaculate one” Malm said.
“But I don’t think the awards change how I feel about the time and effort (we put in). We make the book for our students. We want our school to have the best possible yearbook. The awards are great, but not our ultimate goal. They’re more like the cherry on top.”