2003 Pacemaker Award
The Johns Hopkins News-Letter, the undergraduate newspaper on the university's Homewood campus in Baltimore, received the 2003 Pacemaker award from the Associated Collegiate Press at the association's convention in Dallas on Saturday, Nov. 8. The News-Letter was the only collegiate student newspaper in Maryland to reach the finalist stage.
Judges from the Dallas Morning News selected this year's winners on the basis of coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics. There were 23 papers selected from 195 entries as newspaper Pacemaker winners. Since 1927, the Pacemaker has been the highest honor ACP gives to its members.
The award honors work produced in the 2002-2003 academic year, when the News-Letter was led by editors-in-chief Jeremiah Crim and Mike Spector, both members of the class of 2003 and credited with leading the charge to improve the content of the student paper. This year's editors-in-chief are seniors Ron Demeter of Beverly Hills, Calif., and Teresa Matejovsky of Timonium, Md. Writing Seminars senior lecturer Tristan Davies and William Smedick, assistant to the dean of student life, are the News-Letter's advisors.
"Their infectious enthusiasm, their ability to follow through and their eagerness to accomplish something and move onto the next thing impressed me," Davies said. "Teresa and Ron inherited a very healthy paper."
"[Crim and Spector] really concentrated their year as editors on trying to improve the quality of the paper, so it's nice that they got an award for it," Smedick said. "They not only took constructive criticism well, they asked for it."
During their tenure, Crim and Spector started a weekly series of journalism speakers, inviting professionals in the field to come share their experience with the staff, Crim said. The paper also subscribed to the Associated Press, bringing its readers expanded coverage of world events, most notably the Iraq invasion — covered in one of the four editions of the News-Letter evaluated and honored by the Pacemaker award judges.
Today, Crim and Spector are putting their News-Letter experience to good use. Spector is a police reporter for the Cecil Whig in Elkton, Md.
"I poured my heart and soul into the News-Letter and it prepared me for the real world," Spector said. "But being a reporter is much different than editing the News-Letter. I'm very busy now but it's a different kind of busy and I don't have to deal with the business side of the newspaper. And now, of course, I'm getting paid."
Crim is attending graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, studying computer science.
"But I'm still very interested in journalism," Crim said. "I've started writing for the Daily Pennsylvanian, the student newspaper here which also won a Pacemaker last year. I'm also applying for 'new media' internships for this summer, which would basically involve working for a news organization's Web site."
The 2003-2004 News-Letter staff continues to build upon the improvements spearheaded by Crim and Spector. Like their predecessors, this year's editors are using an editorial committee to generate thoughtful, well- researched op/ed pieces for the News-Letter. Recently, the staff also published a cover story and editorial detailing a survey of students' political leanings.
"I'm extremely impressed at what Ron and Teresa have already been able to do," Crim said. "And I really like the new back page design they have, with a photo essay each week ... I think they're doing a great job and will only get better as the year goes on."
Spector says, "While I'm very personally proud of the award, although it may sound cliche, the award is for everyone who worked on the paper. There is no way we would have won this award if the entire staff hadn't brought their enthusiasm to the paper. They deserve all the credit in the world."
To speak with the students or their advisors, contact Amy Cowles at 410-516-7160. For information about the Associated Collegiate Press and this year's other Pacemaker award winners, visit http://www.studentpress.org/acp/winners/npm03.html. The News-Letter is published every Thursday and is available online at http://www.jhunewsletter.com.
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