Each year since the 1920s, the Associated College Press (ACP) awards two- and four-year colleges with the Pacemaker, its preeminent award for college journalism.
In 2019, Garrett Brown, associate professor of English at Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), decided to enter the college’s student journal for the arts, Amaranth, for consideration for this award. As it turns out, they won.
The ACP, whose mission is to provide journalism education services to students, teachers, media advisers and others throughout the United States and in other countries, names Pacemaker Award winners in various categories including online publications, newspapers, magazines and yearbooks. Each entry is judged by journalism experts based on coverage and content, writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics.
AACC’s 2018-2019 issue of Amaranth, issue 44, won for the Two-Year School Literary Arts Magazine category.
Amaranth’s staff, led by editor in chief Mike Pierorazio and graphic artist Ashton Poole, worked for a full academic year to create the winning issue. As with most creative projects, the staff began with one creative vision, and ended with something else by the time the project was complete.
Issue 44’s staff initially planned to create a journal with a mythological theme. However, based on the various works of art and literary pieces they received for publication, the vision morphed into something with more of a classic look. The final copy resembled a manuscript featuring a cover with a multimedia heart-shaped art piece over a burlap-textured background.
“The theme of the journal is shaped by writer and artist submissions,” explained Brown, Amaranth’s faculty advisor. “The way it turned out wasn’t the initial vision, but it turned out better.”
After a year of planning, collecting submissions, and making decisions, the students created what Brown thinks is a remarkable issue, and he encouraged them to get involved with as many contests as possible. This year was the first year the journal competed for the prestigious Pacemaker Award, and winning it was a huge accomplishment.
“Thankfully, the college is incredibly supportive of Amaranth,” commented Brown.
The journal gets plenty of funding, as well as support and instruction from faculty and the copy center staff when it goes to print. Additionally, Amaranth receives support from the AACC graphic design department in the form of graphic artist interns who consult and work on creating the journal each year.
According to Brown, the journal’s success demonstrates how, when given the tools and support, students can do amazing things.
The Pacemaker Award is not the only award Amaranth has won over the past few years. Because of its high-quality writing and professional look, Brown has been working to get more recognition for the journal and the students who create it. Over the past few years, he has entered Amaranth in multiple contests including the Community College Humanities Association Literary Magazine Contest, where issue 43 placed first in the Eastern Division for Large Colleges, and the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Award, where issue 43 placed third in the Two-Year Literary Magazine of the Year category.
To learn more about Amaranth, follow the journal on Instagram @AACCAmaranth.