Joe Wyatt
Published October 28, 2016

The Matney Mass Media Program at Amarillo College is currently enjoying the view from collegiate journalism’s topmost vantage point, a prestigious perch reserved solely for winners of a National Pacemaker Award.

AC Current 2AC captured a 2016 Magazine Pacemaker for its Fall 2015 issue of AC Current, the College’s student magazine.

Unofficially considered by many to be the “Pulitzer Prizes of student journalism,” the Pacemaker Awards are administered by the Associated Collegiate Press, which announced the 2016 winners during the National College Media Convention Oct. 22 in Washington, D.C.

While AC’s Mass Media Program is no stranger to prominent awards – the College routinely claims multiple honors at the Texas Community College Journalism Association Convention, 13 of them in 2015 – officials believe this to be the program’s first such national accolade.

In all, 11 colleges and universities received Magazine Pacemaker Awards this year, among them the likes of University of Alabama, University of Miami, University of Oregon and, of course, Amarillo College. 

The theme of AC’s award-winning issue of AC Current was “Visual Arts.” The magazine was filled with a riveting array of in-depth Q&A features, eye-pleasing photography and design elements, and praiseworthy writing.

Staff responsible for producing the award-winning AC Current were Jp Bernal, Denisha Kranthoven and Bethany Zalman, each of whom has since graduated from AC. The trio developed the concept and the artwork throughout a semester-long effort. Students in the media writing class wrote most of the articles.

Magazine Pacemakers are judged based on the following criteria: writing/editing, design, content, concept, photography, art and graphics.

The judges had this to say about AC Current: “Very polished, strong design. Felt like it had a cohesive brand and appeal that drew throughout the publication. Geometric elements helped accent the text. Good pairing.”

Jill Gibson, coordinator of the Matney Mass Media Program, said the Pacemaker Award is a testament to the talent of AC students.

“It is also validation that we are providing our students with exceptional training and award-winning opportunities,” Gibson said. “We hope to build on this. We invite and encourage all AC students, no matter their majors, to take advantage of the many student media opportunities our College has to offer.”

Gibson also expressed gratitude to Trafton Cenveo Printing for its superlative printing of the award-winning AC Current.