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CM Life wins national Pacemaker Award; first since 2010

Central Michigan Life was named a 2013 national Pacemaker Award winner Saturday at the Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Association Conference in New Orleans.

CM Life was one of 11 newspapers to win in the four-year, non-daily newspaper category. The Pacemaker is considered by some to be the highest achievement in collegiate journalism.

Aaron McMann, who served as the spring semester editor-in-chief, was in downtown Detroit eating dinner when he first heard the news.

"It's exciting to know that all the hard work put in last year paid off," McMann said. "We had a bunch of big stories, which helps."

McMann said what really pushed the paper over the top last year was comprehensive breaking news coverage and investigative reporting, including stories on the abduction of a CMU student and the arrest of former professor William Merrill.

"One of the big things we had was the professor who was arrested for child pornography," McMann said. "We handled it really well and followed up on it."

Eric Dresden, the fall editor-in-chief and city reporter for the Pioneer in Big Rapids, said the Pacemaker has validated everything the staff has been working toward since its last nomination in 2010.

"We were very good at matching photo, design and investigative pieces up well," Dresden said. "I think that's one of the things they noticed. When we had very good stuff, we knew how to show readers how to interpret that information."

The Pacemaker is awarded by the Associated Collegiate Press. CM Life was selected as a winner after it was named one of 22 finalists out of 300 national submissions.

Other winners in the four-year, non-daily category include Boston College's The Heights, MIT's The Tech, George Washington University's The GW Hatchet and Johns Hopkins University's The News-Letter.