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, Innovation, Literary Magazine, Online, Newspaper/Newsmagazine, Specialty Magazine 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.
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.
The first-place winners from each Story of the Year category (News, Feature Story, Editorial/Opinion Story, Sports Story), as well as the Social Justice Reporting category, compete for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.
Our new reporting competition will recognize coverage of systemic change — how local challenges are met with long-term solutions.
Contest rules, deadlines & entry submission
Story of the Year
Cartoon of the Year
Design of the Year
Story of the Year
Photo of the Year
Story of the Year
Social Justice Reporting
Local Climate Change Reporting
Portfolio of the Year
of Social Media
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.
Check the current convention website
for rules, categories and deadlines.
Publications inducted into the NSPA Hall of Fame have earned 10 All-American ratings from our publication critique service within an 11-year span.
Clips and Clicks is in its second year of honoring current work of student journalists.
Open to all NSPA members, Clips & Clicks offers multiple categories for student achievement, and each contest encompasses one semester of work. With a name that merges historic clips contests for print publications with current digital clicks, the competition culminates with a sweepstakes award announced in the spring.
The fall-semester component encompassed work produced Aug. 1-Dec. 17, 2021, with fall winners and the sweepstakes scorecard announced in January 2022. Yearbook/literary magazine submissions must be produced during this time, although publication after Dec. 17 is acceptable.
The spring-semester contest encompasses work from Dec. 18, 2021, to May 27, 2022.
The spring-semester contest deadline is May 27, 2022, and we’ll begin accepting spring entries in February.
The cost is $10 per entry, with no limit on entries. Any student on staff at an NSPA-member publication is eligible.
The contest categories feature broadcast, design, photojournalism and writing competitions.
For more information on the contest, its categories and submission instructions, go to the Clips & Clicks page.
The NSPA Honor Roll for Student Journalists transforms in 2022-23 into the new NSPA Leadership Award in Student Journalism.
The new leadership award honors journalistic contributions and leadership in student media, and it complements the academic recognition through the Quill and Scroll International Honor Society for Student Journalists, which is now part of NSPA.
To earn the NSPA Leadership Award in Student Journalism, a high school student must serve with distinction for at least two years on the staff of an NSPA-member broadcast, literary arts magazine, newspaper/newsmagazine, specialty magazine, website or yearbook by the end of the current school year.
Students are nominated by their advisers. A specific grade-point average is not required; however, students must be in good academic standing and demonstrate journalistic excellence and staff leadership while maintaining the high ethical standards outlined in the NSPA Model Code of Ethics.
Advisers must submit nomination forms by March 3, 2023. The form is located on the membership portal under the Contest tab.
Inductees receive a certificate of recognition and are eligible to wear the NSPA Leadership in Student Journalism teal honor cord at graduation, as well as being listed on the NSPA website and on the pages of the Best of the High School Press.
In early April, advisers will receive a PDF file with printable certificates for presenting to their inductees at year-end recognition ceremonies.
Seniors earning the NSPA Leadership Award in Student Journalism may apply for a $1,000 scholarship. Scholarship applications are also due March 31, 2023. The application is located on the membership portal under the Contest tab.
In recognition of his service to NSPA as its executive director in the 1970s, NSPA offers the Wally Wikoff Scholarship for Editorial Leadership.
The $1,000 award is presented to a high school senior on the staff of an NSPA member newspaper/newsmagazine or online site 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. Scholarship applications are due March 3, 2023. The form is located on the membership portal under the Contest tab.
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