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2 Bay Area high school online news programs finalists for top national honors

Two Bay Area high schools are among 30 nationwide named as finalists for prestigious Online Pacemaker awards.

The National Scholastic Press Association’s Online Pacemaker competition recognizes the top student-directed online news publications in 2015. The 30 finalists were selected from 172 entries.

The Bay Area finalists are The Paly Voice at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto and El Estoque at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino.

A team of three judges worked over the course of several weeks to select the finalists based on content and coverage, writing and editing, design, rich media and interactivity. Judges are kept anonymous to preserve the fairness and impartiality of the contest.

“This year’s best sites excelled not only with their written coverage but with their photography, multimedia or graphics,” said one judge. “The narrow margins between this year’s finalists are an encouraging indicator of journalism’s exciting future.”

Judges noted that this year’s finalists showcased strong, localized coverage of hard-hitting issues coupled with a solid multimedia presence. The top sites also showed creative and thorough story planning, one judge commented.

“It’s not easy for students to produce quality journalism on a continuous schedule with so many other demands on their time,” said Kirsten Chang, contest and critique coordinator. “These programs bring together the best reporting, writing, photography, design and video skills, and provide a fantastic learning environment for students.”

The Pacemaker winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Denver, April 16-19. The NSPA Awards Ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18.

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