When the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA) posted the list of Pacemaker finalists for top student newspapers in the country, Rochester High School journalism teacher Julia Satterthwaite was delighted to find The Talon included.
Only three schools in Michigan—the other two being Grosse Pointe North and Cranbrook—were awarded Pacemaker Finalist status, meaning they are among the top publications in the country.
Judges included the staff from The Miami Herald this year, and they considered coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, layout and design and photography, art and graphics.
“We’ve been working really hard every year on getting better at all facets of journalism, from reporting and writing to taking great photos and generating creative designs,” Satterthwaite said. “I’m more than pumped about the award; it’s like we’re going to the Super Bowl and we’ll find out in November if we’ve won at the JEA/NSPA Fall Convention in Boston.”
In addition, senior and editor-in-chief Camille Douglas wrote a story last February about the Common Core Standards that has placed as a Story of the Year, meaning she’s up for writing the best news story in the nation. Douglas will find out if she wins first, second, third or an honorable mention in Boston.
“To me, it is very surreal being nominated,” Douglas said. “It still hasn’t sunk in yet that I have a possibility to win Story of the Year.”
Brian Palmer, the newspaper's co-editor-in-chief in 2012-13 and current Michigan State University freshman, said he was proud to be nominated.
"To be nominated as one of the best high school publications in the country makes me incredibly proud to have been part of such a terrific staff," he said. "I’d certainly hope this accomplishment motivates the rest of the school, including this year’s Talon staff to aim high, because with the vast potential of the RHS student body and faculty, it would be a shame to settle for mediocrity."