Echo named Pacemaker Award finalist

Journalists honored in national competition

The Echo has been selected as a finalist for The National Scholastic Press Association’s 2013 Newspaper Pacemaker contest. The contest received more than 300 submissions this past year. Newspaper entries were judged by the Miami Herald staff on aspects ranging from layout and design to evidence of in-depth reporting by journalists.

Park graduate Sarah Brandt, the 2012- 2013 Echo editor in chief, said the Echo is a leader in its field of student run high school newspapers.

“We’ve been selected in the past and it’s a consistent theme for The Echo,” she said. “We follow the same values, themes and guidelines as in years past which is why we are recognized consistently.”

Brandt also said the recognition is a nice validation of the hard work put in by the staff.

“We put in so many hours to make it as good as we wanted it to be,” Brandt said. “To have recognition for all that work is very gratifying.”

Willy Morrow, the 2012-2013 Echo managing editor said he believes the efforts of the students outweigh the importance of the award.

“The award itself isn’t important to me,” Morrow said. “It’s the fact that as students we put out a good enough product to be recognized. To me the most important thing is that the students have access to free and unbiased press.”

Morrow also said he believes the recogni- tion is important on a school wide level.

“It is a testament to the education the school offers,” Morrow said. “In order to have a successful newspaper you must have talented writers, editors and designers.”

Echo adviser Lori Keekley said she believes the Echo won the award because of the devotion of the students who work to put out the paper.

“It’s a nice nod to the students that the quality of their work is good,” Keekley said. “We make sure that we take care of our student body and represent them and their opinions well.”

While working on The Echo expands journalistic knowledge, it also teaches life skills, according to Keekley.

“Not everyone in Echo will continue in journalism,” she said. “Real world skills of collaboration, competency and teamwork are what students really take away.”

Junior Francis Thelen said he finds the success of the Echo staff encouraging and motivational.

“I think it’s important for the school to receive awards because it encourages the student body to strive for excellence,” Thelen said.