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 rubrics.

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 Oct. 1-Nov. 30, 2018.
  • Two consecutive issues published in February or March 2019.
  • Two issues of choice published between July 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019
  • 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 8, 2018 and June 1, 2019.

ACP Yearbook Pacemaker

DEADLINE: DECEMBER 20, 2019

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 2018-19 academic year

ACP Online Pacemaker

DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 24, 2020

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

  • Broadcast
  • Newspaper
  • 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, 2018 and June 7, 2019.
  • 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.
  • If the entry is the work of more than one student, up to five names can be listed with plaques and certificates awarded to all five journalists. If more than five students are responsible, the award will be presented to “Staff.”
  • 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 journalists or other professionals with experience and expertise in the area of each particular contest.
  • Finalists will be announced no later than Oct. 1, 2019. Winners will be honored at the ACP/CMA National College Journalism Convention in Washington, D.C., Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2019.
  • 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.
  • Digital entries should be submitted as URLs that are active during the summer.
  • Use this naming convention for files: category number_last name_school(separated by underscore).
  • Do NOT use commas or special characters.

1. ACP Story of the Year

Entries may have been written by more than one person. Entries must consist of one article only.

1A. Breaking News Story

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.

1B. In-Depth News Story

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.

1C. Feature Story

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.

1D. Sports Game Story

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.

1E. Sports Feature Story

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.

1F. Editorial

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.

1G. Column

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.

1H. Diversity Story

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF or URL submission.
  • An in-depth news or feature story focusing on some aspect of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

2. ACP 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 Story Package

  • Limit two entries per category per publication. URL submission.
  • Must utilize at least two of the following elements — text, audio, video, photos, interactive component (maps, timelines, etc).

2B. Multimedia Feature Story Package

  • Limit two entries per category per publication. URL submission.
  • Must utilize at least two of the following elements — text, audio, video, photos, interactive component (maps, timelines, etc).

2C. Multimedia Sports Story Package

  • Limit two entries per category per publication. URL submission.
  • Must utilize at least two of the following elements — text, audio, video, photos, interactive component (maps, timelines, etc).

2D. Photo Slideshow

  • Limit two entries per category per publication. URL submission.
  • 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.

2E. Interactive Graphic

  • Limit two entries per category per publication. URL submission.

2F. Podcast

  • Limit two entries per category per publication. URL submission.

2G. Blog

  • Limit two entries per category per publication. URL submission.

3. ACP Design of the Year

3A. Newspaper Front Page

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

3B. Newspaper Inside Page/Spread

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

3C. Magazine Cover

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

3D. Magazine Page/Spread

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

3E. Yearbook Cover

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

3F. Yearbook Page/Spread

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

3G. Infographic

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

3H. Illustration

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

4. ACP/Ernie Pyle Reporter of the Year

This recognition is awarded to a master storyteller who writes descriptively and effectively. The reporter will submit a portfolio of three pieces of writing including at least two of the following: 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.

The ACP/Ernie Pyle Reporter of the Year portfolio is to include three writing samples including two of the following:

  1. News Story
  2. Human Interest/Feature Story
  3. Column

4A. Two-year College Reporter

  • Limit one student per publication.
  • Any reporter enrolled as a full-time student for the 2018-19 school year and working on the staff of an ACP member newspaper is eligible to enter. Entries must have been published in print or online between Aug. 1, 2018 and June 7, 2019.
  • A portfolio of three stories published by a single reporter at an ACP-member media outlet required.
  • PDF or URL submission.

4B. Four-year College Reporter

  • Limit one student per publication.
  • Any reporter enrolled as a full-time student for the 2018-19 school year and working on the staff of an ACP member newspaper is eligible to enter. Entries must have been published in print or online between Aug. 1, 2018 and June 7, 2019.
  • A portfolio of three stories published by a single reporter at an ACP-member media outlet required.
  • PDF or URL submission.

5. ACP Photo of the Year

5A. General News Photo

  • Limit two entries per category per publication, captions required. JPG submission.

5B. Breaking News Photo

  • Limit two entries per category per publication, captions required. JPG submission.

5C. Feature Photo

  • Limit two entries per category per publication, captions required. JPG submission.

5D. Sports Photo

  • Limit two entries per category per publication, captions required. JPG submission.

5E. Environmental Portrait

  • 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.
  • Limit two entries per category per publication, captions required. JPG submission.

6. ACP Cartoon of the Year

6A. Editorial Cartoon

  • Limit two entries per category per publication, captions required. PDF submission.

6B. Comic Panel/Strip

  • Limit two entries per category per publication, captions required. PDF submission.

7. ACP Advertisement of the Year

7A. Display Advertisement

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

7B. House Advertisement

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

7C. Advertising Campaign

  • A series of no more than three individual advertisement that use a unifying theme to promote a single client.
  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

7D. Advertising/Editorial Newspaper Supplement

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

7E. Advertising Brochure/Rate Card

  • Limit one entry per category per publication. PDF submission.

8. 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.

  • Any student on the staff of an ACP member publication is eligible to enter. No limit on the number of entries submitted by the publication.
  • Team reporting is permitted and cash prize will be divided among the names on the entry form.
  • PDF or URL submission.