Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards

NSPA launches national award
to honor reporting excellence
in diversity, equity & inclusion

Feb. 11, 2022

The University of Minnesota’s Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication has joined National Scholastic Press Association in launching NSPA’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Awards.

The new award will promote excellence in reporting on diversity, equity and inclusion in the nation’s student press. 


Elisia Cohen, professor and director of the Hubbard School, says connecting students to diverse organizations has always been a top priority through its partnership with NSPA.

“We are thrilled to be one of the universities and programs that support the best in student journalism, and to do so in a way that honors and supports inclusive reporting that represents the best of scholastic and collegiate journalism,” Cohen said.

Cohen is past president of the NSPA/ACP board of directors. The award embodies the school’s century of support as the associations celebrate their centennial.

“We have learned, especially in the last few years, that the more diverse a newsroom, the more diverse the stories told,” she said. “Our mission is to create that pipeline of diverse student journalists early — to train them and prepare them to head out into the profession and cover stories from all corners of our world.” 


Laura Widmer, NSPA executive director, thanked the Hubbard School for its long-standing commitment to student journalism through its support of NSPA, its members and its programs.

“Student journalists are leading the way in covering issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, and this award will only increase their efforts,” Widmer said. “We are very excited about this new recognition, and we thank the Hubbard School for supporting it.”

NSPA will begin accepting DEI entries as part of its annual awards program. Stories from all platforms are eligible, and NSPA membership is not required. 

Judges will review URLs for broadcast, web or digital content and PDFs for print. Eligible coverage will include but not be limited to race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability and other differences.

Finalists will be named prior to the winners, which will be announced at the Fall National High School Journalism Convention, which NSPA sponsors with Journalism Education Association. Winners receive a plaque and a $500 cash award presented by the Hubbard School.

Both NSPA and its partner, Associated Collegiate Press, will offer the new DEI awards.

“We want to celebrate students who show potential and drive when telling stories that are ethical, truthful and important,” Cohen said. 

“We also want to encourage students to report stories to account for a range of human experience, and a media/public information ecosystem that represents and includes varied groups and viewpoints in communities.”