The Red & Black receives prestigious Pacemaker Award

The University of Georgia’s student-run newspaper, The Red & Black, took home a Pacemaker Award at last weekend’s Fall National College Media Convention. The Pacemaker Award recognizes student publications for overall excellence throughout the school year.

The Pacemaker is considered the Associated Collegiate Press’ “preeminent award,” according to Laura Widmer, the ACP’s executive director. There are also categories for online, magazines and yearbooks, in addition to newspapers.

There were 160 applicants from both two- and four-year schools for the 2019 newspaper award, which was then narrowed down to 46 finalists. Being among the 19 winning newspapers  puts The Red & Black in the top 12% of competing publications.

Other winners include Texas A&M’s The Battalion, Syracuse University’s The Daily Orange and UCLA’s Daily Bruin.

“What’s so meaningful about the Pacemaker is that it represents the hard work of the entire Red & Black staff throughout an entire school year,” said Rebecca Burns, the publisher and editorial advisor at The Red & Black. “It reflects the consistent commitment to journalism excellence by everyone at The Red & Black, from contributors still in training to seasoned desk editors who have been involved for years.”

Burns also gave special recognition to Erin Schilling and Maggie Holland (AB ’19), the former editors in chief from fall 2018 and spring 2019, respectively.

The fall 2018 Ampersand Magazine, one of The Red & Black’s special publications, was one of 41 finalists for the Pacemaker Award in the magazine category.

Individual awards were also given at the convention. The categories include reporter, advertisement, cartoon, design, local climate change reporting, multimedia story, photo and story.

Christina Manacotta (AB ’19), former chief photographer for The Red & Black, won first place in the feature photo category for a photo taken an Extra Special People event last spring.

Honorable mentions for the Red & Black include former Staff Cartoonist Nile DeFrietas’ comic strip “Fresh” in the cartoon category, and the spring 2019 edition of the special publication Eat & Drink, Athens, GA, under advertisement.

The Fall National College Media Convention was held from Oct. 31 through Nov. 3 in Washington, D.C. The Red & Black was represented at the convention by former Editors-in-Chief Sofia Gratas and Erin Schilling, both Grady journalism students, and incoming Editor-in-Chief Hunter Riggall.

#GradyGrit: Meet Sofia Gratas

Why did you choose journalism as a major?

I didn’t want to be a journalist at first. I tried out a biology major when I first got into college and realized I didn’t really have a knack for science. I’ve always enjoyed writing and creating visual media, so once I got to UGA, it became clear that journalism was the way to go.

What motivates you?

As human beings, we have so much potential. But when people are uninformed and uninterested in their communities, all that potential slips away. Journalism is the cornerstone of any society, and I think being a journalist — any kind of journalist — is one of the most noble professions. So what motivates me is the difference I can make through my position as a journalist.

What is the best or most rewarding part about being a Grady student?

Grady provides its students with such a variety of opportunities. That’s the best part about this college. While UGA is large and may seem overwhelming, once I got into Grady, I understood what community and support in an academic setting really feels like.

What has been your proudest moment is the past year?

I was awarded first and second place for a news and feature story, respectively, by the Georgia College Press Association for work I wrote for The Red & Black. That felt pretty amazing, to have my hard work recognized.

Where do you get your news? Outlet/app/online vs. print?

I get most of my news from online sources. It varies, but The New York Times and NPR (radio) are my main sources of news. And of course, local outlets such as The Red & Black and Flagpole.

What are your personal hobbies?

I’ve never been too much of a hobby person, but photography has always been something I enjoy doing. Being able to use my photography skills for photojournalism purposes has been a game changer. I enjoy thrift shopping, spending time with my partner and my cat, and discovering new things about Athens. Traveling is something I wish I could do more of.

Sofia working in the newsroom of The Red & Black. (Courtesy: Sofia Gratas)

Who is your professional hero and why?

My grandmother, Leticia Callava. Born in Cuba, she immigrated to Miami, Florida, in the 1950’s and created an extremely successful, professional career in journalism out of nothing. She was one of the top anchors in Spanish-language television, battling sexism and racism that ran rampant during the time period along the way. She has interviewed people such as singer Celia Cruz, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and Mother Teresa. I admire so many journalists, but I have to say that having one in the family has had a major impact.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

Probably the turtle pond in front of the Ecology building. It’s the spot that brings me the most joy. But the law building on north campus comes second. If I’m going to do work on campus, it’ll most likely be in the Law Library.

 

Editor’s Note: Some of the above answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.

For other installments in the #GradyGrit series, visit the #GradyGrit page.