Awards

National Scholastic Press Association presents scholastic journalism’s preeminent award, the Pacemaker Award, each year.

There is a category for each type of publication — Broadcast, Magazine, Online, Newspaper/newsmagazine and Yearbook. 

Entries are judged by teams of professionals based on the following criteria: coverage and content; quality of writing and reporting; leadership; design; photography; and graphics.

The contests are open to any NSPA member publication. Entries must have been published or broadcast during the dates specified on each entry form.

Winners are announced at JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Conventions.

Broadcast Pacemaker

Presented each fall

2021 deadline:
June 25, 2021

Literary Magazine Pacemaker

Presented each spring
2020 deadline:
Nov. 30, 2020

Specialty Magazine Pacemaker

Presented each fall
2021 deadline:
June 25, 2021

Online Pacemaker

Presented each spring

2021 deadline:
Nov. 6, 2020

Newspaper/
Newsmagazine Pacemaker

Presented each fall

2021 deadline:
June 25, 2021

Yearbook Pacemaker

Presented each spring

2020 deadline:
Nov. 30, 2020

NSPA presents its Individual Awards honoring the best individual work in scholastic journalism each year.

There are 11 categories, plus a 12th category for junior high/middle school, with a number of subcategories in each. Entries are judged by teams of professionals with experience and expertise in the area of each particular contest.

The contests are open to any student on staff of an NSPA-member publication. Entries must have been published or broadcast during the academic year.

Entries are submitted in June, and Individual Awards are presented at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention.

2021 Deadline: June 25, 2021

Broadcast
Story of the Year

Cartoon of the Year

Design of the Year

Digital
Story of the Year

Photo of the Year

Story of the Year

Social Justice Reporting

Local Climate Change Reporting

Portfolio of the Year

Best Use
of Social Media

COVID-19 Coverage

Middle School Awards

The Best of Show competition is presented at both national conventions sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association.

Contest categories, plus the deadline and submission instructions, are posted to the fall-convention site in September and the spring convention site in January.

The number of entries and places awarded may change from year to year, depending on overall convention attendance.

Only publications and broadcast teams registered for the convention are eligible to enter the contest, and thus the competition is typically smaller and distinct from national contests like the Pacemaker Awards.

The Best of Show award does not signify a ranking of national excellence but rather overall excellence among the attendees and their entries.

KEY LINKS

Check the current convention website
for rules, categories and deadlines.

Best of Show /
Fall National High School Journalism Convention

Archive of past winners

Publications inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame have earned 10 All-American ratings from our publication critique service within an 11-year span.

NSPA Hall of Fame, including 2020 inductees

NSPA’s new student competition, Clips & Clicks, launches in fall 2020 and honors current work.

Open to all NSPA members, Clips & Clicks offers multiple categories for student and publication achievement, and each contest segment encompasses one semester of work. 

The fall-semester competition opens in September and closes in December, with winners announced by mid-January.

The spring-semester contest opens in mid-December and closes in mid-May, with winners announced in early June.

The cost is $10 per entry, with no limit on entries. Any student on staff at an NSPA-member publication is eligible.

For more information on the contest, its categories and submission instructions, go to the Clips & Clicks page.

Journalism
Honor Roll

The NSPA Journalism Honor Roll honors students who have achieved a 3.5 or higher grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and have completed at least two years on staff by the end of this school year.

Students in their second year on staff are eligible. Seniors who qualify for the Honor Roll can enter into a competition for one or more $1,000 scholarships.

All Honor Roll inductees will receive a certificate of recognition, and a listing of all inductees into the Honor Roll will be published in NSPA’s Best of the High School Press.

Entry deadline: Feb. 12, 2021

Log in to enter.

Wikoff Scholarship
for Editorial Leadership

In recognition of his service to NSPA as its executive director in the 1970s, NSPA has offered the Wally Wikoff Scholarship for Editorial Leadership since 1998.

The $1,000 award will be given to a high school senior on the staff of an NSPA member newspaper with a minimum 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale or equivalent.

In addition to the entry form, applicants must submit three published editorials and a brief recommendation from the adviser.

Entry deadline: Feb. 12, 2021

Log in to enter.

Courage in Student Journalism Award

NSPA joins the Student Press Law Center and the Center for Scholastic Journalism at Kent State University as sponsors for the Courage in Student Journalism Award.

One award is presented to a deserving high school or middle school journalist who has shown determination, despite difficulty and resistance, in lawfully exercising First Amendment press rights.

A second is presented to a school administrator who has demonstrated support, under difficult circumstances, for the First Amendment press rights of the administrator’s school media.

Additional information: splc.org