The Eastern Progress, the collegiate newspaper at Eastern Kentucky University, has been awarded the Pacemaker 100 award from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP). Founded in 1921, the ACP has trained and honored collegiate journalists through conventions, workshops, and awards for a century. Its Pacemaker Award is the most coveted award in college journalism.
“The Pacemaker 100 represents a one-time snapshot of the top 100 publications recognized in the competition during its history. Each Pacemaker finalist was awarded five points and each Pacemaker earned 10 points. The results were tabulated in June 2021,” the ACP said in a news release.
Dr. Libby Fraas, Eastern Kentucky University professor emeritus, was the Progress adviser from 1987-2002, during which time the Progress won three National Pacemaker awards. She said the Pacemaker 100 award is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of Eastern students over the years. “I am so proud of the many EKU students who worked for the Progress around classes and through bedtimes to produce a newspaper each Thursday. For the Progress to be included in this distinguished list of campus publications is a tribute to those student staffs. Let’s hope that the pursuit of excellence in campus journalism — and indeed in all levels of journalism— continues to be valued and recognized during the next 100 years,” Fraas said.
The Progress won National Pacemaker awards in 1990 (Jeff Newton, editor), 1994 (Amy Etmans/Joe Castle, editors), 1996 (Don Perry, editor), and 2003 (Jennifer Rogers, editor), as well as Regional Pacemaker awards over its nearly 100-year history. The 2003 Pacemaker award was won by a staff advised by EKU graduate and former Fraas student Dr. Jennifer Almjeld, now associate professor at James Madison University.
The Progress in its current iteration is housed in the EKU School of Communication, which is under the leadership of director Dr. Ginny Whitehouse. Whitehouse said as journalism has evolved, so too has the method of delivery for news publications.
“The Eastern Progress has been the training ground for student journalists now working in a host of industries across our region. Progress students have learned the value of free speech, the importance of truth telling, and what it means to champion the First Amendment. We are now the Eastern Progress Media Network, supporting print, online, podcast, and video programs,” Whitehouse said. “We have expanded from a Journalism major, so that our students have the opportunity earn a Multimedia Journalism concentration in Broadcasting and Electronic Media, gaining experience needed to meet the challenges of evolving media platforms.”
Whitehouse said the School of Communication plans to recognize the Progress’ 100thanniversary at Homecoming 2022 and invites all Progress alumni to celebrate its centennial and the Pacemaker 100.
"Being named one of the Pacemaker 100 campus publications is such an incredible honor for our current and former student journalists. Having this recognition will certainly encourage our newest slate of editors to continue the good work done during the last century of the Progress,” said current Progress adviser Tricia Fulks Kelley, assistant professor in the School of Communication “Being a journalist means covering the stories that impact those around you, asking the tough questions and finding the truth even if there's pushback. Journalism is vital to the fabric of our society, and we plan to continue that work for many more years to come."
EKU is joined on the ACP top 100 Pacemaker list by three other Kentucky university news publications: The Murray State News at Murray State, The Kentucky Kernel at the University of Kentucky, and the College Heights Herald at Western Kentucky University. The ACP will reveal the top ten Pacemaker Universities at its convention Oct. 14-17 in New Orleans (https://studentpress.org/acp/2021/07/08/pacemaker-100/).
The Eastern Progress was first published Feb. 22, 1922. Since 1987, the Progress has won more than 20 national awards, including four national Pacemakers and three Gold Crown awards. It was recognized as the Best All-Around Campus Newspaper by the Society of Professional Journalists in 1997 and 1998.