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You'll always find the latest information and forms for ACP's contests by visiting this page. Downloadable PDF forms will be available from this page as soon as the forms are created and printed. If you have difficulty downloading the PDF files, please email us to request a copy by mail or fax.
The following contests are free of charge, but open only to ACP member publications. To find out if your publication is a current member, check our database. Non-members who enter will be billed for membership.
- Download ACP membership form in PDF format
These contests do not include a written critique or feedback. Only those schools that win awards in the contests will receive written notification of the contest results. Once the winners are publicly announced, the results will be linked below.
Links to past winners of ACP contests are listed below under each contest.
ACP and the Newspaper Association of America Foundation have co-sponsored the Newspaper Pacemaker competition since 1971. ACP began the awards in 1927.
Judges select Pacemakers based on the following: coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics.
Newspaper Pacemakers are judged in three categories: four-year dailies, four-year non-dailies and two-year papers. Pacemakers are selected by the staff of a professional newspaper or news organization. Finalists will be notified about one month before the fall convention.
ACP is offering its highest honor, the Pacemaker award, to online college student publications. This competition replaces ACP's Best of the Net competition, which began in 1995 as the first nationwide competition for online college student publications.
The online publication must be accessible via Internet Web browsers during the months of March and/or April, when the sites will be judged. The site must be produced and maintained primarily by students. Awards will be based on design, ease of navigation, writing and editing, graphics and interactivity. Sites will be judged by non-ACP staff members knowledgeable about design, journalism and interactive media.
The Story of the Year competition, co-sponsored by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, recognizes initiative and original reporting of a situation, problem or issue affecting students. Judges look for entries which show leadership, quality writing, sensitivity and fairness. Categories include News story, Feature Story, Editorial/Commentary, Sports Story and Diversity. New in 2010 is the Multimedia Story of the Year, with categories for News, Feature, Sports and Photo Slideshow.
Entries in the Reporter of the Year competition consist of a reporter's three best single news or feature stories published in a college newspaper during the competition year. There are separate categories for two-year and four-year schools. Three winners in each category will receive cash prizes of up to $1,000. The four-year competition is co-sponsored by MCT Campus.
ACP's Photo Excellence competition honors student photographers in five categories: general news, spot news, feature, sports and environmental portrait. The awards are co-sponsored by the National Press Photographers Association.
The Design of the Year competition, honoring visual excellence in the college press, is co-sponsored by Adobe Systems. First Place winners receive free Adobe software. Categories include: Newspaper Page One, Newspaper Page/Spread, Yearbook/Magazine Page/Spread, Infographic, Illustration and Magazine/Special Section Cover.
The ACP Cartooning Awards, co-sponsored by Universal Uclick, are open to students at ACP member newspapers in two categories: Editorial Cartoon and Comic Strip/Panel.
ACP's Advertising Awards honor ad staffs' work at member publications in five categories including Display Ad, House Ad, Ad Campaign, Ad/Editorial Supplement and Rate Card.
Since 1927, ACP's Pacemaker competition has been considered by many to be student journalism's highest honor. All ACP magazine members are eligible to compete for a Pacemaker, but must submit an entry.
Magazines will be judged by professional non-ACP staff persons knowledgeable about magazine production.
Since 1927, ACP's Pacemaker competition has been considered by many to be student journalism's highest honor. All ACP yearbook members are eligible to compete for a Pacemaker, but must submit an entry.
Yearbooks will be judged by professional non-ACP staff persons knowledgeable about design, journalism and yearbooks. Each judge will work independently, and the scores will be added to decide the final winners.
College Press Freedom Award
Deadline: Aug. 1, 2012
Winners Announced: Fall National College Media Convention
Sponsored by ACP with the Student Press Law Center
Along with ACP, the Student Press Law Center co-sponsors the College Press Freedom Award to recognize the college student or student news medium that has demonstrated outstanding support for college press freedom.
Additional information (including a list of past winners of this award) is available at this SPLC web page.
The Best of Show competition is held at all conventions and workshops sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press. The number of entries and places awarded may change from year to year, usually corresponding with overall attendance. Only publications and broadcast teams with students in attendance at the convention are eligible to enter the contest. Nonmembers may also enter the competition, in some cases, for an additional fee. Competitiveness varies depending on time of year and the convention location. The competing pool is typically much smaller and distinct from our national contests, such as the Pacemaker. The Best of Show award does not signify a ranking of national excellence, but rather overall excellence among the attendees and entries.
Because it is an onsite contest, the judging process is accelerated. ACP makes every effort to obtain judges of the highest caliber. Customarily, one judge makes the selections for each category. There is no panel and no discussion is allowed. This also makes the judging process for Best of Show very different from our national contests, where a panel may have time for deliberation and debate. Best of Show judges do not provide ACP with comments on winners or other entries. ACP retains the winning entries for future use.
Contest forms are sent with convention registration confirmations or are available at the convention registration desk. Best of Show entries for print publications consist of one issue of a newspaper from the current school year or one copy of a magazine or yearbook from the previous school year.
These awards have either been discontinued or have been replaced by another award.
Previous winners of these awards are linked below.