NSPA Contests

The contests sponsored by NSPA are the most-competitive, most-honored prizes in scholastic journalism.

The prestigious Pacemaker Award recognizes overall excellence and distinguishes the top student media produced during a particular school year.  

The Individual Awards recognize the outstanding achievements of individual students and small teams of journalists. 

The Best of Show contest ranks the best student media represented at the twice-yearly National High School Journalism Convention.

Participation in the Pacemaker and Individual Awards competition is a benefit of NSPA membership. Membership also provides a reduced fee for convention Best of Show entries.

Contest entries compete directly against each other. There are no written critiques or scoring rubrics. Student media staffs seeking a comprehensive evaluation including detailed feedback, a scoring rubric and an honor rating of Third Class to All American are encouraged to participate in the NSPA critique service.

NSPA Pacemaker

Each year since 1927, NSPA presents scholastic journalism’s preeminent award, the Pacemaker.

There is a contest for each media type — broadcast, newspaper/newsmagazine, magazine, online and yearbook. Details for each are outlined below.

High school and middle school/junior high student media are both eligible and compete in separate categories.

Participation in the Pacemaker contest is a benefit of NSPA membership.

Pacemaker entries compete directly against each other. There are no written critiques or scoring rubrics. Student media staffs seeking a comprehensive evaluation including detailed feedback, a scoring rubric and an honor rating of Third Class to All American are encouraged to participate in the NSPA critique service.

HOW TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contests tab.

2021 Broadcast Pacemaker

2021 entry deadline: June 25, 2021
TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contest tab.

Submit direct URL link to an online site or a video-sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo. The video-sharing site must be owned by your student media program rather than an individual. The following three full, student-produced news programs as they originally ran for their audience should be entered:

  • One broadcast news program that aired between Aug. 3 and Dec. 21, 2020.
  • One broadcast news program that aired between Jan. 1 and June 25, 2021.
  • One broadcast news program that aired between Aug. 3, 2020, and June 25, 2021.

Finalists will be announced by Oct. 15, 2021. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 11-14, 2021, in Philadelphia. 

2022 Innovation Pacemaker

NEW
2022 entry deadline: Jan. 22, 2022.
TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contest tab.

DOWNLOAD a PDF of this information on the Innovation Pacemaker.

The Innovation Pacemaker is designed to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and reward student media for the courage to take chances to improve service to their customers, readers and communities.

For complete information on preparing your application packet, download the PDF. Finalists will be announced in February 2022. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, April 7-9, 2022, in Los Angeles.

2021 Magazine Pacemaker / Literary Arts

2021 entry deadline: Nov. 1, 2021
TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contest tab.

A complete PDF file should be submitted for each issue. Single-page PDF files will not be accepted.

Magazines with special techniques such as short trims, foldouts, die cuts, lamination, specialty paper stocks and distinctive packaging are encouraged to submit a print publication rather than a PDF file.

The following should be entered:

  • One issue published between Aug. 3, 2020, and June 25, 2021.
  • Because of the publishing challenges posed by COVID-19, a magazine published on a digital flipbook platform like Issuu, rather than printed, will be acceptable. In this case, a complete PDF file should still be entered rather than a URL link.

Finalists will be announced in February 2022. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, April 7-9, 2022, in Los Angeles.

2021 Magazine Pacemaker / Specialty

2021 entry deadline: June 25, 2021
TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contest tab.

Specialty magazines provide in-depth, long-form stories focused on timely topics/issues relevant to your audience.

All the content of the specialty magazine should focus on the topic/issue. A specialty magazine has its own identity and name and it not a special edition of a newspaper/newsmagazine. Topical magazines such as sports, science, business or entertainment also compete in this category.

Literary arts and newsmagazines do not compete in this category. Judges reserve the right to move your entry to the Newsmagazine contest if appropriate.

A complete PDF file should be submitted for each issue. Single-page PDF files will not be accepted. The following issues should be entered:

  • Four issues published between Aug. 3, 2020, and June 25, 2021.
  • If fewer than four issues are published, submit all the issues published during the 2020-21 school year. The judges will determine what effect, if any, publishing fewer than four issues will have on your entry. 
  • Because of the publishing challenges posed by COVID-19, issues published on a digital flipbook platform like Issuu, rather than printed, will be acceptable. In this case, a complete PDF file should still be entered rather than a URL link.

Finalists will be announced by Oct. 15, 2021. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 11-14, 2021, in Philadelphia. 

2021 Newspaper/Newsmagazine Pacemaker

2021 entry deadline: June 25, 2021
TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contest tab.

A complete PDF file should be submitted for each issue. Single-page PDF files will not be accepted. The following issues should be entered:

  • Four issues published between Aug. 3, 2020 and June 25, 2021.
  • A special edition can be included in the four issues submitted. A special edition should provide a comprehensive look into a relevant, timely and often complex topic. A special edition should be a showcase for robust, in-depth reporting. Judges do not relax their high journalistic standards for April Fools or Senior issues.
  • If fewer than four issues are published, submit all the issues published during the 2020-21 school year. The judges will determine what effect, if any, publishing fewer than four issues will have on your entry. 
  • Because of the publishing challenges posed by COVID-19, issues published on a digital flipbook platform like Issuu, rather than printed, will be acceptable. In this case, a complete PDF file of the issue should still be entered rather than a URL link.

Finalists will be announced by Oct. 15, 2021. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 11-14, 2021, in Philadelphia.

2022 Online Pacemaker

2022 entry deadline: Oct. 15, 2021
TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contest tab.

Submit the direct URL link. On Nov. 1, 2021, judging teams will begin reviewing the online sites on a regular basis. 

Finalists will be announced in February 2022. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, April 7-9, 2022, in Los Angeles.

2021 Yearbook Pacemaker

2021 entry deadline: Nov. 1, 2021
TO ENTER: Visit the membership portal under the Contest tab.

A print yearbook should be entered and arrive at NSPA by the Nov. 1, 2021, deadline date.

If participating in the NSPA Critique Service, NSPA requires a second copy of the yearbook for Pacemaker competition and suggests you ship both yearbooks at the same time.

NSPA recommends shipping both copies of the yearbook together using Priority Mail from the U.S.  Postal Service. Take two copies of the yearbook to the U.S. Post Office where you will use a Medium Flat Rate Box-2 (side-loading) provided free. It will cost approximately $15.05 to ship.

Media Mail from the U.S. Postal Service does NOT allow the shipment of yearbooks. The U.S. Post Office serving the NSPA offices will not deliver the Media Mail package. In about four weeks, it will be returned.

Ship yearbooks to
NSPA Yearbook Pacemaker
2829 University Ave. SE / Suite 720
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Finalists will be announced by Dec. 22, 2021. Winners will be announced at the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, April 7-9, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Individual Awards

High School Individual Awards

2021 entry deadline: June 25, 2021

NSPA Individual Awards honor the nation’s best scholastic journalism — in a wide range of categories.

The awards are presented to individuals and small teams. A new award-management website offers an improved submission experience.

For high schools, there are 49 contests in 11 categories outlined in detail below. Individual Awards for junior high/middle school follow this section.

HOW TO ENTER: Visit the new BetterBNC award platform to submit, track and manage Individual Award entries. Creating an Open Call account is required and takes only a few minutes for one-time set-up.

ELIGIBILITY: Entries must have been published between June 27, 2020, and June 25, 2021. The contest is open only to student media with a current NSPA membership as of the contest deadline. Any student on the staff of an NSPA-member media outlet is eligible to enter. The entry must be published in the NSPA-member student media.

2021 ENTRY DEADLINE: 5 p.m. CDT June 25, 2021.

PLANNING GUIDE: Download the planning guide to help you prepare your Individual Award entries.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Finalists will be announced by Oct. 16, 2021. Winners will be announced during the JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention, Nov. 11-14, 2021, in Philadelphia. 

NSPA recognizes finalists and winners in its publication and on its websites and social media sites. NSPA recognizes the right to publish the entrants’ work in its print and online publications as well as on social media.

RECOGNITION: The first-place winner in each category will receive a plaque for the student media outlet and a certificate for up to five students. Second through 10th place winners receive certificates. If the entry is the work of more than one student, up to five names will be listed in alphabetical order. If more than five students are responsible, the award will be presented to “Staff.” Some contests have cash prizes as noted provided by co-sponsoring organizations. 

NUMBER OF ENTRIES: In most cases, one or two entries per student media outlet are allowed and indicated below. Staffs are encouraged to work together to select their highest quality work. Entries may not be submitted to more than one category. For example, the same story can’t be entered to both the News Story and Social Justice Reporting contests. 

SUBMISSION: The format required for each contest is indicated. In most categories, a URL link to a website or a PDF file of the printed page is required. Not both. For PDF files, the folio line with the publication date should be included. For Photo of the Year contests, actual image files (JPG, TIF, PNG) are required. Word documents and links to Google drives and FTP sites will be rejected.

1. Broadcast Story of the Year

1A. Broadcast News Story

Reporting on breaking news or an issue of importance to your audience that demonstrates strong news-gathering skills while delivering concise information.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

1B. Broadcast Feature Story

Personality profiles or human-interest general features.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

1C. Broadcast Sports Story

Coverage of past or present games or a seasonal summary, may also include profiles of sports personalities or human-interest sports features.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

1D. Broadcast Commentary

An editorial segment designed to inform and persuade an audience.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

2. Cartoon of the Year

2A. Comics Journalism

A form of journalism that covers news or non-fiction events in comic form — a combination of words and drawn images.

Although visual narrative storytelling has existed for thousands of years, the use of the comics medium to cover real-life events is currently at an all-time peak. Entries might include picto-essay or graphic nonfiction, word balloons, gifs or multimedia editorial art.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page. Do not submit both. 

2B. Comic Strip/Panel

Usually but not always humorous or light-hearted in its message, with a recurring theme or cast of characters. Comics are fictional and for entertainment. Each installment of the comic strip counts as a separate entry.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page. Do not submit both.

2C. Editorial Cartoon

Typically printed on the editorial page or other opinion pages and often communicates an opinion on a subject presented in an accompanying editorial or other timely topic in the news. GIFs or multimedia editorial cartoons are allowed in this category.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page. Do not submit both. 

3. Design of the Year

3A. Newspaper Front Page

First page featuring dynamic nameplate and compelling verbal and visual content.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of printed page.

3B. Newspaper Page/Spread

Single-page or spread entries including news, sports, opinion, feature, photo or entertainment that are intended to be viewed without facing pages or two facing pages that together display a single verbal/visual story or a package of related content.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of printed page(s).

3C. Newsmagazine Cover

First page featuring dynamic nameplate and compelling verbal and visual content.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of cover.

3D. Newsmagazine Page/Spread

Single-page or spread entries including news, sports, opinion, feature, photo or entertainment that are intended to be viewed without facing pages or two facing pages that together display a single verbal/visual story or a package of related content.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of printed page(s).

3E. Literary/Specialty Magazine Cover

First page featuring dynamic nameplate and compelling verbal and visual content.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of cover.

3F. Literary/Specialty Magazine Page/Spread

Single-page or spread entries that display verbal/visual content intended to be viewed without the facing page or two facing pages that together display a single verbal/visual story or a package of related content. 

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of printed page(s).

3G. Yearbook Spread

Facing pages, that together display a single verbal/visual story or a collection of related content.

In the case of chronological coverage, the content is from a clearly labeled period of time. Spreads such as opening, closing and dividers must be entered in contest.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of printed page(s).

3H. Yearbook Theme Package

This package includes cover, endsheets, title page, opening, closing, divider and final/parting page presented together as a portfolio and compiled into a single file.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member publication.

Submission: PDF file of the portfolio.

3I. Informational graphic

Combines illustration and information in an easy-to-read presentation.

Popular formats include factoids, lists, quizzes, bar charts, line charts, pie charts, tables, ratings, timelines, step-by-step guides, diagrams and maps.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page. Do not submit both. 

3J. Illustration

Art or photography used to illustrate a story.

All elements must be the original work of the photographer/artists. If appropriate for accuracy, must be labeled as an illustration when published.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page. Do not submit both. 

4. Digital Story of the Year

4A. Multimedia News Story

Reporting on breaking news or an issue of importance to your audience that demonstrates strong news-gathering skills and delivers concise information.

In addition to text and images, entry must include audio, video, slideshows, interactive content (maps, timelines, etc.) or animation.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

4B. Multimedia Feature Story

Personality profiles, trend stories or human-interest stories; not news or sports. In addition to text and images, entry must include audio, video, slideshows, interactive content (maps, timelines, etc.) or animation.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

4C. Multimedia Sports Story

Coverage of games or seasonal summary, may also include profiles of sports personalities or human-interest sports features. In addition to text and images, entry must include audio, video, slideshows, interactive content (maps, timelines, etc.) or animation.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

4D. Photo Slideshow

A photo story on a single subject with each photo communicating a different angle. Captions must be included for every image.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

4E. Interactive Graphic

Allows reader to navigate through an informational graphic to engage with the information.

Popular formats include factoids, lists, quizzes, bar charts, line charts, pie charts, tables, ratings, timelines, step-by-step guides, diagrams and maps.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

4F. Podcast

Delivers relevant content through engaging audio storytelling and should appear on your media outlet’s NSPA-member website.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

4G. Blog

Must reflect journalistic standards in topics, coverage and writing and should appear on your media outlet’s NSPA-member website.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link.

5. Photo of the Year

5A. News Photo

Captures a timely visual story and displays news value and evidence of on-the-spot coverage.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: An image file (JPG, TIF, PNG) is required along with a caption. Do not submit URL link or PDF file.

5B. Feature Photo

Delivers a human-interest story with the emphasis on people in their environment.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: An image file (JPG, TIF, PNG) is required along with a caption. Do not submit URL link or PDF file.

5C. Sports Game/Action Photo

Captures the competitive action and emotion of athletes on school teams competing in games, matches and meets or in personal, non-team sports.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: An image file (JPG, TIF, PNG) is required along with a caption. Do not submit URL link or PDF file.

5D. Sports Feature Photo

Images communicate a story other than direct action on the playing field including human-interest sports stories such as profiles of sports figures.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: An image file (JPG, TIF, PNG) is required along with a caption. Do not submit URL link or PDF file.

5E. Environmental Portrait

Posed images of one or more individuals taken in their natural surroundings to provide insight into their work, interests or personality.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: An image file (JPG, TIF, PNG) is required along with a caption. Do not submit URL link or PDF file.

6. Story of the Year

6A. News Story

Reporting on breaking news or an issue of importance to your audience that demonstrates strong news-gathering skills and delivers concise information. The first-place winner in this category competes for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both.

6B. Feature Story

Personality profiles or human-interest general features. The first-place winner in this category competes for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both.

6C. Sports Story

Coverage of past or present games or a seasonal summary, may also include profiles of sports personalities or human-interest sports features. The first-place winner in this category competes for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both.

6D. Editorial

The statement of the publication’s opinion supported by fact. Editorials generally do not have bylines. The first-place winner in this category competes for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both.

6E. Opinion

Columns or bylined opinion pieces providing research and personal insights and anecdotes. The first-place winner in this category competes for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both.

7. Social Justice Reporting

7A. Social Justice Reporting

With a focus on equity and inclusion, news stories in this special category are welcome from all media platforms (print, broadcast, online).

A statement explaining why this coverage was included in the publication and any outcomes or effect the coverage had within the school community is required.

The first-place winner in this category competes for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.

Number of Entries: Two entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both.

8. Local Climate Change Reporting

8A. Local Climate Change Reporting

Climate change is one of the most important stories of our generation. This contest, in partnership with the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, encourages local climate change reporting by student media.

Long-form news stories, published in print or online, should be accompanied by sidebars, graphics and data. Broadcast news stories may also be entered.

All student journalists who are interested in reporting on climate change as a local story are encouraged to use the Climate Matters reporting resources, science-based reporting materials that are funded, in part, by the National Science Foundation. These materials can be used in award submissions.

The first-place winner earns $500 and the second- and third- place winners $300 and $200 respectively. Team reporting is permitted, and the cash prize will be divided among the names on the entry form.

Number of Entries: Unlimited entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both. 

9. Portfolio of the Year

9A. Artist of the Year

Each member media outlet may nominate one person. Portfolio includes a one-page statement from the nominee explaining contributions and what was learned.

Portfolio features five original pieces of print, digital or multi-media art including editorial cartoons and comic strips featuring the nominee’s talents published this year along with one to three sentences describing each piece.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of portfolio. Do not submit both.

9B. Broadcast Journalist of the Year

Each member media outlet may nominate one person. Portfolio includes a one-page statement from the nominee explaining contributions and what was learned.

Portfolio features five original broadcast stories featuring the nominee’s talents published this year along with one to three sentences describing each piece.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of portfolio. Do not submit both.

9C. Designer of the Year

Each member media outline may nominate one person. Portfolio includes a one-page statement from the nominee explaining contributions and what was learned. Portfolio features five original designs featuring the nominee’s talents published this school year along with one to three sentences describing each piece. Entries may include complete spreads, pages, advertisements, covers, informational graphics, sidebars, etc. from print, web or video.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of portfolio. Do not submit both.

9D. Marketer of the Year

Each member media outlet may nominate one person. Portfolio includes a one-page statement from the nominee explaining contributions and what was learned.

Portfolio features a detailed marketing plan that was implemented this year with results documented.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of portfolio. Do not submit both.

9E. Multimedia Journalist of the Year

Each member media outlet may nominate one person. Portfolio includes a one-page statement from the nominee explaining contributions and what was learned.

Portfolio features five stories featuring the nominee’s talents published this school year along with one to three sentences describing each piece. In addition to text and images, multimedia entries must include audio, video, slideshows, interactive content (maps, timelines, etc.) and animation as part of each robust story package.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of portfolio. Do not submit both.

9F. Photojournalist of the Year

Each member media outlet may nominate one person. Portfolio includes a one-page statement from the nominee explaining contributions and what was learned.

Portfolio features five images featuring the nominee’s talents published this school year along with one to three sentences describing each piece. Captions must be published with the images and included as part of the entry.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of portfolio. Do not submit both.

9G. Writer of the Year

Each member media outlet may nominate one person. Portfolio includes a one-page statement from the nominee explaining contributions and what was learned.

Portfolio features five pieces of journalistic writing featuring the nominee’s talents published this school year.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of portfolio. Do not submit both.

10. Best Use of Social Media

10A. Social Media Reporting

Coverage using social media platforms for reporting, updating and engaging with the school community.

Collect social-media examples using an online content curation tool or by capturing screen shots with links to create a portfolio.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link to portfolio or PDF portfolio. Do not submit both.

10B. Social Media Promotion

Use of social media platforms for promoting traffic to an online site, broadcast or print news publication or to promote the sale of the yearbook.

Collect social media examples using an online content curation tool or by capturing screen shots with links to create a portfolio.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link to portfolio or PDF portfolio. Do not submit both.

11. COVID-19 Coverage

11A. Broadcast: News or Features

Broadcast news or features reporting on the effect of COVID-19 on your student audience.

The student press has a distinct perspective and role in covering the broad effects upon schools while confronting the challenge of school closures and remote interviewing.

Please do not put yourself or others in jeopardy of being infected with COVID-19 through your reporting.

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link. 

11B. Online: News or Features

Online news or features reporting on the effect of COVID-19 on your student audience/readership.

The student press has a distinct perspective and role in covering the broad effects upon schools while confronting the challenge of school closures and remote interviewing.

Please do not put yourself or others in jeopardy of being infected with COVID-19 through your reporting.  Images must be properly sourced and credited, and possible copyright violations will be disqualified. 

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link. 

11C. Print: News or Features

Print news or features reporting on the effect of COVID-19 on your student readership.

The student press has a distinct perspective and role in covering the broad effects upon schools while confronting the challenge of school closures and remote interviewing.

Please do not put yourself or others in jeopardy of being infected with COVID-19 through your reporting.  Images must be properly sourced and credited, and possible copyright violations will be disqualified. 

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: PDF file of printed page(s).

11D. Yearbook: Spread

A yearbook spread reporting on the effect of COVID-19 on your student readership.

The student press has a distinct perspective and role in covering the broad effects upon schools while confronting the challenge of school closures and remote interviewing.

Please do not put yourself or others in jeopardy of being infected with COVID-19 through your reporting.  Images must be properly sourced and credited, and possible copyright violations will be disqualified. 

Number of Entries: One entry per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: PDF file of printed page(s).

14. MHSPA Gold Medallion Awards

This category is available only for members of the Minnesota High School Press Association. All Minnesota high school media in NSPA are automatically members of MHSPA. Entries submitted for the Gold Medallion Awards may also be entered in the NSPA Individual Awards.

The MHSPA Gold Medallion Awards feature 24 contests for broadcast, literary magazine, newspaper/newsmagazine, online, photojournalism, social media and yearbook.

Junior High/Middle School Individual Awards

2021 entry deadline: June 25, 2021

NSPA Individual Awards honor the nation’s best scholastic journalism — in a wide range of categories. The awards are presented to individuals and small teams.

This year, a new award management website offers an improved submission experience. For middle schools and junior high schools, there are three contests outlined below that follow the same rules and guidelines as the high school category.

HOW TO ENTER: Visit the new BetterBNC award platform to submit, track and manage Individual Award entries. Creating an Open Call account is required and takes only a few minutes for one-time set-up.

12A. Design of the Year

A single page or spread from literary magazine, newspaper/newsmagazine or yearbook.

Number of Entries: Five entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: PDF file of printed page(s).

12B. Story of the Year

A news story, feature story or broadcast story appearing in a broadcast, literary magazine, newspaper/newsmagazine, website or yearbook.

Number of Entries: Five entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: Website URL link or PDF file of printed page(s). Do not submit both.

12C. Photo of the Year

News, feature or sports photo appearing in a literary magazine, newspaper/newsmagazine, website or yearbook. A caption is required.

Number of Entries: Five entries per NSPA-member media outlet.

Submission: An image file (JPG, TIF, PNG) is required along with a caption; do not submit URL link or PDF file.

Best of Show

OPENS PRIOR TO NSPA CONVENTIONS

The Best of Show contest ranks the best student media represented at the twice-yearly National High School Journalism Convention.

This competition, which invites submissions from convention registrants, offers categories, deadlines and submission instructions announced on the convention site. Winners are announced during the convention.

The Best of Show award does not signify a national ranking, but rather excellence among the entries represented at the convention. 

Past Best of Show awards are available in the NSPA awards archive.

Enter NSPA’s newest contest — Clips & Clicks.

Competition is by semester, and the spring 2021 entry deadline is May 28.

NSPA awards archive of past winners

Download the planning guide to help prepare your entries for Individual Awards.