News Release

SAC Student Newspaper el Don Earns National Accolades

​(Santa Ana)—Santa Ana College’s award-winning student newspaper el Don recently received the National Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP). The National Pacemaker Award is college journalism’s most prestigious and oldest prize for general excellence, first given in 1927, honoring those who set the pace, surpassing all others. El Don also received Best of Show honors. The award was presented at the 29th annual ACP National College Journalism Convention in New Orleans, La.

“The National Pacemaker Award is comparable to a Pulitzer Price for collegiate journalists,” said C.W. “Bud” Little, el Don advisor and Santa Ana College journalism professor. “Santa Ana College is one of four community colleges nationwide to receive the award and the only one in California.”

The entries were judged based on the following criteria: content; quality of writing and editing; photography, art and graphics; and layout and design.

C. Harold Pierce, el Don’s editor-in-chief, also received a second place National Reporter of the Year and fifth place National Story of the Year in the Diversity section for his feature story, On the Down Low,” about the diminishing lowrider trend in Santa Ana. Pierce was the only community college student recognized in this category.

Pierce, who already has a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz, joined the el Don editorial team during fall 2012 as a writer. By spring 2013, he was the news editor and in his second year he became editor-in-chief.  Next year, he plans to enter a master’s program in journalism.

Of these awards, Pierce said, “It validates our work. As a reporter, you’re not sure that you’re writing is having an impact. We all work really hard; nobody is paid. It is really encouraging for our staff. We are thankful we have a wonderful advisor and great faculty that make it possible for us to step away from this program and get jobs.”

The el Don website was also recognized by ACP as one of the 10 best in America among colleges of its size.

Since 1990, Santa Ana College journalism students have won more than 1,500 first place honors in national, state and regional competitions. The el Don was inducted into the ACP College Journalism Hall of Fame in 2008 and has won 17 ACP National Pacemaker Awards.

Participation on the el Don staff is limited to students currently enrolled in SAC journalism classes. The college offers an associate degree and a certificate in Communications and Media Studies to help students meet their career goals. For more information, call (714) 564-5616 or visit

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 10,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more.

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503