Echo commended for work during pandemic

Publication wins Gold Crown award, selected as Pacemaker finalist

Echo+staffers+work+in+the+pub+Mar.+8.+The+Echo+was+one+of+43+Online+Pacemaker+finalists+and+one+of+seven+winners+of+the+CSPA+Print+News+Gold+award.

Lilia Gonzalez

Echo staffers work in the pub Mar. 8. The Echo was one of 43 Online Pacemaker finalists and one of seven winners of the CSPA Print News Gold award.

Adam Gips and Crystal Diaz

After finding out the Echo had won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Gold award, managing editor Gabe Kaplan said after all the hard work Echo staffers put in, the award was a fitting payoff.

“People have been working really hard this (and last) year. It’s nice that the staff’s work is being appreciated, especially in a year like this where everything is so much harder,” Kaplan said. “It just shows how strong of a team we really are, how committed the staff is and how hard the new staffers are working to get involved and help out. It shows the resilience of the Echo community.” 

According to adviser Lori Keekley, the Gold Crown is the highest award the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) gives out. Keekley said although it’s a high accreditation, the Echo doesn’t specifically strive for these awards.

“It’s a really big honor, (but) we don’t do it for the awards. We do this to cover our student body, faculty and staff,” Keekley said.

Editor-in-chief Maddie Schutte said she attributes the awards in part to Echo’s local coverage.

“We do a lot of profiles on people and I think a lot of times those are some of our strongest stories because it’s so personal to the community — that’s what we’re here for,” Schutte said. “We’re not some big publication who’s equipped to cover national stuff. We’re a high-school newspaper and a lot of our strongest work is in covering the stuff in our community that affects the people reading it.”

Like the Golden Crown, it [the Pacemaker] shows that (the) Echo’s working really hard and our work is being recognized. I just think it’s nice that although we don’t work towards these awards, we’re still able to show that our work is really high quality.”

— Gabe Kaplan

According to Keekley, in addition to the Crown award, the Echo is one of 43 Online Pacemaker finalists.

“The final influence (of the Pacemaker) alone is kind of the equivalent of somebody winning State and then (becoming) a national winner … so just being on the list is a really big deal,” Keekley said.

According to Schutte, the awards are refreshing tokens that the staffers’ work is among the top in the nation.

“It’s just a good reminder to keep going at the same level of expectations we have for our content, design, photos and everything. It’s just a good reminder to know like, ‘hey, you’re doing good work,’ people read it,” Schutte said. “It’s just great to be in the same category as other publications that also do really great work, it keeps you motivated to win this award.”

Kaplan said becoming a Pacemaker finalist is similar to receiving the Golden Crown award in that it shows the staffers’ work commitment. 

“Like the Golden Crown, it [the Pacemaker] shows that (the) Echo’s working really hard and our work is being recognized,” Kaplan said. “I just think it’s nice that although we don’t work towards these awards, we’re still able to show that our work is really high quality.”