Each year, the National Scholastic Press Association presents scholastic journalism’s preeminent award, the Pacemaker. There is a category for each type of publication – online, newspaper, yearbook, magazine and broadcast. 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.
2017 entry deadline: June 23
Entry form available in April.
Each year, the National Scholastic Press Association presents the Individual Awards, honoring the best individuals in scholastic journalism. There are six categories (see below). 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 2016-17 academic year.
The Best of Show competition is held at all national conventions sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association. The number of entries and places awarded may change from year to year, depending on overall convention attendance. The competing pool is typically smaller and distinct from national contests like the Pacemaker. The Best of Show award does not signify a ranking of national excellence, but rather overall excellence among the attendees and entries.
Only publications and broadcast teams with students in attendance at the convention are eligible to enter the on-site contest.
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. 24, 2017
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. 24, 2017
Courage in Student Journalism Award
The Student Press Law Center and the National Scholastic Press Association co-sponsor this award.
One award is presented to a deserving middle or high school journalist who has shown determination, despite difficulty and resistance, in lawfully exercising his or her 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 his or her school’s media.
Entry deadline: June 8, 2017
Additional information: splc.org
The Pioneer Award is the highest award NSPA offers to journalism educators. Pioneers are individuals who make substantial contributions to high school publications and journalism programs outside of their primary employment. NSPA maintains a composite plaque of Pioneers on display at its headquarters. Candidates are nominated by previous Pioneer winners and NSPA board members.
Those who are inducted will be notified in September and invited to be recognized and receive a plaque during an adviser luncheon at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention.
In 1987, the National Scholastic Press Association established a Hall of Fame for member student publications – newspapers, yearbooks and magazines – which have earned 10 All-American ratings from our publication critique service within an 11-year span. Hall of Fame inductees receive a special honor plaque to mark the induction and are added to the NSPA Hall of Fame plaques, which are displayed at our JEA/NSPA high school journalism conventions.
New Hall of Fame inductions are made twice a year and are honored at our JEA/NSPA High School Journalism Conventions.
Advisers who believe their publication has achieved Hall of Fame status may apply for the Hall of Fame by writing a letter indicating the name of the publication, the years the publication received All-American ratings and publication/adviser contact information.
These awards have either been discontinued or have been replaced by another award.