5 Pacemaker Finalists for Student Pubs

WKU Student Publications has collected five finalist honors in the 2023 competition for the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Awards, the nation’s highest honor for student-run media outlets.

The College Heights Herald newsroom is a finalist in a record four categories while the Talisman life and culture magazine and website is a finalist in one category.

The Herald is a Pacemaker Finalist for:

  • Newsmagazine for the Herald print edition, published three times a semester as an in-depth, enterprise newsmagazine.
  • Online for its daily news, sports and feature reports on WKUHerald.com, which launched in 1994 was one of the first college news websites in the nation.
  • Multiplatform, for excellence across the print, digital, daily email newsletter and social media platforms the Herald uses to reach its audience in the WKU community.
  • Innovation, for a collaborative project with student media at Ball State University exploring how Bowling Green’s large community of refugees and immigrants has changed the fabric of the community and how it could serve as a model for other mid-size American cities.

Talisman was honored as a Pacemaker Finalist for the Multiplatform category, marking the quality of its printed magazine, website updated daily at WKUTalisman.com, its weekly newsletter and social media use.

Winners of the 2023 Pacemaker Awards will be announced Oct. 30 at the National College Media Convention in Atlanta.

The Herald’s four Pacemaker Finalist designations are the most in one year for the publication. In 2022, the Herald and the Talisman were finalists in three categories each and won three Pacemaker Awards – Newspaper and Online for the Herald and Online for the Talisman. That year, no other college or university had more Pacemaker winners and finalists.

“I’m thrilled to see the Herald as a finalist in four different categories for the Pacemaker Awards, and that the Talisman also was honored,” said Chuck Clark, director of WKU Student Publications. “It’s especially gratifying to have this happen in a year when the Herald made the leap from a newspaper to an enterprise newsmagazine while broadening and deepening its digital report and growing its newsletter.

“Regardless of whether we win a Pacemaker in any category this year, it’s an incredible reflection on the quality of our students to be finalists for the award in every category the Herald entered, and in such a crucial category for Talisman.”

In addition to the Pacemaker Finalist honors, journalism from the College Heights Herald and the Talisman was honored in three categories of ACP’s Story of the Year contest:

  • Diversity Story of the Year: “City of Nations” issue of the Herald, with reporting by Alexandria Anderson, Madison Carter, Michael Crimmins, Molly Dobberstein, Debra Murray, Jake Moore and Michael J. Collins.
  • Climate Story of the Year: “The Climate Issue” of the Herald, with reporting by Alexandria Anderson, Madison Carter, Debra Murray, B Turner and Price Wilborn.
  • Multimedia News Story of the Year: “A Life Uprooted: One year after the December 2021 tornado,” from Talisman, by Brett Phelps and Emilee Arnold.

Several students from Talisman also were honored as finalists in the ACP Individual Awards:

  • Brett Phelps of Talisman for feature photo of the year.
  • Lasikka Buck, Lauryn Goodson and Ellie Sandlin of Talisman for interactive graphic of the year.
  • Gabi Broekema and Amelia Curry of Talisman for magazine cover of the year.

Winners of the Story of the Year honors and individual awards also will be announced Oct. 30.

WKU’s College Heights Herald and Talisman are widely recognized as two of the best student-run media outlets in the country, and both are members of the Associated Collegiate Press Hall of Fame.

Through 2022, Talisman has won 22 Pacemaker Awards, the first coming in 1978, and been a finalist eight additional times; it is among The Pacemaker 100, the 100 most successful student media outlets in the Pacemaker Awards’ century-long history.

The Herald has won 21 Pacemakers through 2022, its first in 1981, and been a finalist 12 additional times. It is No. 6 in The Pacemaker 100 Top 10, based on the number of awards and finalists the Herald has earned.

Cherry Creative, a branded content studio launched at Student Publications in 2018, won the first Innovation Pacemaker in 2020.

All together, the three WKU Student Publications outlets have won 44 Pacemaker awards through 2022 – 13 from 1978-1999, 12 from 2000-2009, 12 from 2010-2019, and 7 since 2020.