Contest Rules

The opportunities outlined on this page are contests offered by ACP. In these categories the entries compete directly again each other. There are no written critiques or scoring rubics.

ACP does provide a critique service for magazines, newspapers, online sites and yearbooks. The critique service provides a written evaluation and an honor rating from Third Class to All American. For more information, visit our critiques page.

ACP Pacemaker or Individual Awards must be entered on our membership portal under the “CONTESTS” tab.



ACP Pacemaker

Each year since 1927, the Associated Collegiate Press presents college journalism’s preeminent award, the Pacemaker. There is a category for each type of publication – online, newspaper, magazine and yearbook. Entries are judged by teams of experts focusing on the following areas: coverage and content, writing and reporting, leadership, design, photography and graphics. The contests are open to any ACP member publication. Entries must have been published during the dates specified on each entry form.

The Pacemaker contest does not include a written critique, and publications submitted to ACP’s critique service are not automatically entered in the Pacemaker competition ­— staffs need to submit a separate Pacemaker entry.


ACP Newspaper Pacemaker

DEADLINE: JUNE 7, 2019

For this contest, digital entries only are accepted. A complete PDF should be submitted for each issue. PDFs of single pages will not be accepted. The following issues should be entered:

  • One issue published in October or November 2017
  • Two consecutive issues published in February or March 2018.
  • Two issues of choice published between July 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018
  • Do not enter any special issues (e.g., orientation/homecoming/finals week editions). These special edition issues can be entered in the ACP Advertising Awards and Ad/Editorial Supplements.

ACP Magazine Pacemaker

DEADLINE: JUNE 7, 2019

For this contest, digital entries only are accepted. A complete PDF should be submitted for each issue. PDFs of single pages will not be accepted. The following issue should be entered:

  • One issue of your magazine published between June 10, 2017 and June 7, 2018.

ACP Yearbook Pacemaker

DEADLINE: DECEMBER 17, 2018

For this contest only print entries are accepted. If your yearbook was submitted for a critique, a second copy must be submitted for Pacemaker competition:

  • One yearbook covering the 2017-18 academic year

ACP Online Pacemaker

DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 25, 2019

For this contest, submit a URL. Online entry options:

  • Broadcast
  • Newpaper
  • Magazine
  • Yearbook
  • Online-only


ACP Individual Awards

RULES AND REGULATIONS

  • This contest is open only to publications with a current membership in ACP as of the contest deadline of June 7, 2019.
  • Any student on the staff of an ACP member publication is eligible to enter.
  • Entries must have been published in print or online between Aug. 1, 2017 and June 8, 2018.
  • Category limits apply to each contest. If publications submit more than the entry limit, only the first one or two entries (depending on the contest) will be judged.
  • Entries may not be submitted to more than one category (i.e. a news story should not be submitted to both news and diversity, or a cartoon may not be submitted as a cartoon and an illustration).
  • Entries will be judged by working professional journalists or other professionals with experience and expertise in the area of each particular contest.
  • Finalists will be announced no later than Oct. 1, 2018. Winners will be honored at the ACP/CMA National College Journalism Convention in Louisville, Oct. 25-28, 2017.
  • ACP recognizes winners in its publications and on its website.
  • ACP reserves the right to publish entrants’ work in its print and online publications.

ENTRY SUBMISSION

    • Digital and print media may enter, depending on the category.
    • Print entries should be submitted as PDF files of the page or spread. File must match the printed product exactly without revisions or edits. Photos should be submitted as jpg files.
    • Use this naming convention for files: category number_last name_school (separated by underscore). Do NOT use commas or special characters.

1. Story of the Year

Entries may have been written by more than one person. Entries must consist of one article only. A series of articles will not be accepted, except in the Diversity Series category. If you wish to submit a single story on the topic of diversity, it should be entered in one of the other categories.

1A. News Story

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

1B. Feature Story

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

1C. Sports Story

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

1D. Editorial/Opinion

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

1E. Diversity Series

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.
      • A collection of two or more stories focusing on some aspect of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

2. Multimedia Story of the Year

Multimedia entries must utilize at least two of the following elements — text, audio, video, photos, interactive components (maps, timelines, etc).

2A. Multimedia News

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.

2B. Multimedia Feature

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.

2C. Multimedia Sports

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.

2D. Photo Slideshow

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • Must contain photos and captions for each photo, with a limit of 30 photos per entry. Any audio enhancement will not be considered by judges. Photos should be well edited and sequenced in a way that tells a story.

3. Design of the Year

3A. Newspaper Page One

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

3B. Newsmagazine/Special Section Cover

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

3C. Newspaper Page/Spread

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.
      • Design must present a single story or a package of stories relating to a single topic.

3D. Yearbook/Magazine Page/Spread

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.
      • Design must present a single story or a package of stories relating to a single topic.

3E. Infographic

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

3F. Illustration

      • Limit one entry per category per publication.

4. Ernie Pyle/ACP Reporter of the Year

This recognition is awarded to a master storyteller who writes descriptively and effectively. The reporter will submit a news story, human interest/feature story and column. The published stories reflect great storytelling built on great journalism skills.

This award is named in honor of 1944 Pulitzer Prize winner Ernie Pyle. Pyle was a unique reporter whose journalism skills covered a vast array of topics. Ernie had the ability to reach out and make folks feel comfortable sharing their good, as well as hard times. For the last 10 years of his life, Pyle’s columns ran six times a week, primarily in Scripps-Howard newspapers.

This new Ernie Pyle/ACP Reporter of the Year Award is created in partnership of ACP, Ernie Pyle Legacy Foundation and Scripps Howard.

The first-place winner earns $1,000 and the second and third place winners $500 and $250 respectively in categories for both two-year and four-year schools.

4A. Two-year College Reporter

      • Limit one student per publication.
      • Any reporter enrolled as a full-time student for the 2017-18 school year and working on the staff of an ACP member newspaper is eligible to enter.
      • Three story entries published by a single at an ACP-member media outlet required.

4B. Four-year College Reporter

      • Limit one student per publication.
      • Any reporter enrolled as a full-time student for the 2017-18 school year and working on the staff of an ACP member newspaper is eligible to enter.
      • Three story entries published by a single at an ACP-member media outlet required.

5. Local Climate Change Reporting

Climate change is arguably the most important story of our generation. This new award category has been established to encourage localized climate change reporting by college media.

Entries in this contest should be in-depth reporting about climate change impacts and or solutions from a localized angle. In-depth reporting packages can appear in print or online or both.  Long-form stories should be accompanied by sidebars, graphics and data. Videos are also encouraged.

This new Local Climate Change Reporting award is created in partnership of ACP and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

The first-place winner earns $500 and the second and third place winners $300 and $200 respectively.

  • Limit one entry published in an ACP member media outlet.
  • Team reporting is permitted and cash prize will be divided among the names on the entry form.

6. Photo of the Year

6A. General News Picture

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • Complete caption required.

6B. Feature Picture

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • Complete caption required.

6C. Spot News Picture

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • Photos taken on the scene of an unplanned, breaking news event.
      • Complete caption required.

6D. Sports Picture

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • Complete caption required.

6E. Environmental Portrait

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • This category is for posed images of one or more individuals, taken in their natural surroundings to provide insight into their work, interests or personality.
      • Complete caption required.

7. Cartoon of the Year

7A. Editorial Cartoon

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • Typically printed on the editorial or other opinion pages and often comments on a subject presented in an accompanying editorial or other timely topic in the news.

7B. Comic Panel/Strip

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • May appear anywhere in the paper and is usually but not always humorous or light-hearted in its message, with a recurring theme or cast of characters. An entry consists of three separately published strips or panels. Upload one file that includes all three strips or panels.

8. Advertisement of the Year

Entries must be designed and written by a student or a student-only team. Art and photography may be original or stock.

8A. Display Ad

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.

8B. House Ad

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.

8C. Ad Campaign

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.
      • A series of no more than three individual advertisements that use a unifying theme to promote a single client.

8D. Advertising/Editorial Newspaper Supplement

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.

8E. Advertising Brochure/Rate Card

      • Limit two entries per category per publication.