ENN qualified as a finalist for the Pacemaker award


Neha Madhira

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Pacemaker is the highest award for a high school broadcast team. Schools around the country submit episodes in and the top 15 are chosen to be finalists. Our own Eagle Nation News has been chosen as a finalist.

“It’s definitely a huge deal,” lead female anchor Sola Kantai said. “This award basically marks the pinnacle of my career as a broadcast journalist. It’s the equivalent of an actress winning an Oscar or a musician winning a Grammy.”

The Pacemaker award that ENN many potentially win is from all of the shows aired last year and the stories are what are accounted for.

“Jake Fein and I wrote and produced the story about Mr. Atkinson which aired in one of the episodes submitted,” Kantai said. “It took everyone collectively collaborating and working as a team to produce a show that we were proud enough to submit to a national contest.”

For every episode ENN creates, Kantai said there is a new goal in mind so whenever the staff sits down to plan stories, the ultimate goal was a Pacemaker.

“Whenever we had an exceptionally good episode, it would be put into the running as one of the ‘potential pacemaker’ submissions,” Kantai said. “In terms of specific sacrifices the staff had to make, there is a lot of time behind the scenes time that needs to be taken to produce work that you can stand behind and be proud of.”

Kantai also said that having a heavy course load her junior year with ACT/SAT preparations and setting up a foundation for beginning college applications affected her.

“I was already stacked,” Kantai said. “But, I was more than willing to add more hours to my plate to help be a part of something great.”

Lead anchor Brandon Bonaparte says that this year, the expectations and what the staff will be working towards is nothing different.

“The Pacemaker and other awards are nice,” Bonaparte said. “But, we just try day-in and day-out to provide an entertaining and journalistically-sound product for our students and viewers.”

Kantai also said that they lost a lot of seniors and were left with about half as many juniors to step up for this school year.

“I produce this year and have been helping train the anchors that people see on the desk,” Kantai said. “I don’t think we’ll have any trouble repeating our successes. There is an abundance of great talent that has stepped up in terms of anchors, tech, and what I like to call ‘our storytellers’.”

In the future, Kantai said that ENN could aim to win plenty of awards such as the high school Emmy’s and the Interscholastic League Press Conference gold star at the state level.  

“The important thing isn’t that we win,” Kantai said. “I want for the students walking out of this program to be proud of what they’ve contributed. I want each of them to leave a legacy and help mold the program for a future generation. It’s only been a few weeks but I can see the potential that this year’s students have. I am so thrilled to see how this year pans out.”