The Daily Pennsylvanian won the prestigious Pacemaker award, commonly referred to as the “Pulitzer Prize” of college journalism, for the third year in a row. Before 2017, the DP had not won the award for five years.
This year, the DP was one of 15 publications total and the only Ivy League newspaper to win the award. The accolade was given out by the Associated Collegiate Press on Saturday at its Fall National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C. Other winners included The Daily Bruin at the University of California, Los Angeles, The Daily Orange at Syracuse University, and The Crimson White at the University of Alabama.
The DP also took home several other awards and honorable mentions. Former DP Senior Sports Editor and 2019 College graduate William Snow won the 2019 ACP/Ernie Pyle Reporter of the Year award. Snow's winning submissions included the volleyball investigation, a column on why he never belonged at Penn, and an investigation into concussions on Penn's sprint football team.
Senior Multimedia Editor and College junior Chase Sutton won first place for the Sports Photo of the Year.
"Every single issue we produce — not just the five that we submitted — is a platform to tell really important stories on Penn's campus and hopefully make a difference, inform our readers, and give a platform for a diverse range of voices to be heard," the DP President and College senior Julia Schorr said.
Executive Editor and College senior Sarah Fortinsky said the Pacemaker award was a testament to the hard work and dedication of every member of the DP.
"I've been really proud of the board this year, all of our staff, and everyone from the previous years too," Fortinsky said.
Fortinsky applauded the investigation into Penn's volleyball team, written by the Sports Department, that adorned the cover of one of the editions of the DP submitted to the judges.
"That's always great for me, as someone who oversees everyone and everything that we do here," Fortinsky said. "I love seeing strong journalism come from all aspects of the company."
Schorr said although she was delighted at the news, her day-to-day experiences at the company meant the award didn't come as a surprise.
"I think that it's always nice to get external validation, but I'm able to see every single day that I'm in the office all of the great work that comes out of 4015 Walnut St., so it doesn't come out of left field," Schorr said. "But again, there is great competition and great schools across the nation, great journalism departments and newspapers, so it is a really fantastic honor to receive this."
Senior News Editor and College senior Madeleine Ngo said it was impressive the DP won an award, given Penn's pre-professional culture and lack of formal journalism program.
"There will always be students interested in careers in journalism and media and there will always be people who want to question authority and pursue the truth," Ngo said. "While I wish there were more resources available to us, our staff and our reporters care a lot and that makes up for it."
Fortinsky said Penn graduates regard the DP as the school's informal journalism school.
"Everyone here works incredibly hard and it's definitely a full-time job for a lot of people here — everyone is really committed to the overall mission of student journalism," Fortinsky said. "We definitely operate like a regular newsroom. We have the same hard deadlines and the sense of urgency."
In September, the DP was named one of the 46 Pacemaker finalists.
College newspapers around the nation submit five representative issues to the ACP for the Pacemaker award. In its submission, the DP included an issue featuring an investigation into the head coach of the Penn women's volleyball team as well as a story on the fallout from conservative commentator Candace Owens' speech on campus. Other editions included investigations into Spring Fling performers and college admissions scandals.
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