By Steven Krolak
NEW ALBANY, Ind.—The Horizon, IU Southeast’s student newspaper, has struck gold.
The Horizon took home a 2015 Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press at the National College Media Convention in Austin, Texas, Oct. 28 – Nov. 1. The award is considered the highest accolade in college journalism.
“It’s the college equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize,” said Adam Maksl, assistant professor of journalism at IU Southeast and faculty adviser to the Horizon staff.
At the same event, the Horizon also won the Pinnacle award from the College Media Association for Less-Than-Weekly Newspaper of the Year. IU Southeast alumnus Jims Porter won the first-place individual Pinnacle Award for a column he wrote last year.
“The students don’t write for awards,” said Maksl. “But the recognition confirms that the Horizon is demonstrating a consistently high level of journalism, even as staff changes from year to year.”
“Not only are we the only institution in the area to offer a bachelor of arts degree in journalism, we are also one of the best in the nation,” said Ronald Allman, professor of journalism. “The Horizon was recognized because we have addressed the future of journalism by re-inventing the program as a truly multimedia degree. It shows in our content.”
The awards recognize the work of the past year, which saw hard-hitting features on topics ranging from student homelessness to domestic violence besides insightful articles on aspects of campus life, including the Installation of Chancellor Wallace.
“It’s very gratifying,” said Aprile Rickert, last year’s Horizon editor-in-chief and current Clarksville and Clark County reporter for the Jeffersonville, Ind.-based News and Tribune.
“The Horizon gave me all the tools I needed to do any kind of journalism,” said Rickert, “from on-the-spot interviews to photos to video to long features.”
Founded in 1927, the Associated Collegiate Press provides journalism education services to students, teachers, media advisers and others throughout the United States and in other countries, and promotes the standards and ethics of good journalism as accepted and practiced by print, broadcast and electronic media.
The College Media Association, founded in 1954, brings together collegiate advisers of the nation’s student media, including newspapers, yearbooks, magazines, broadcast and electronic media.
The Horizon staff celebrated its victory in characteristic journalistic fashion: as they gathered in the Horizon office for an informal ceremony including cupcakes and sodas, the room suddenly went dark. Outside on Grant Line Road, a car had struck a power pole, causing a temporary blackout on campus. When the lights came back on a few minutes later, the office was empty. The students were out, getting the story.