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The official site of the Iowa High School Press Association

IHSPA

The official site of the Iowa High School Press Association

IHSPA

The official site of the Iowa High School Press Association

IHSPA

Spring Journalism Contest

Spring+Journalism+Contest

IHSPA’s Spring Journalism Contest seeks to recognize the best work of Iowa high school publications – both online and in print.

To view IHSPA 2023 Spring Contest Results, you can download the listing of more than 420 winners for Spring 2023. 

Please review the rules and forms.

IHSPA contests offer awards for:

  • Writing – reporting & opinion
  • Photos
  • Art/Illustration/Design
  • Online
  • General

Contest period: All work must have been published or posted between March 10, 2023 and March 10, 2024 by current students of IHSPA member schools.

Deadlines: Contest opens February 15, and the entries must be submitted online by April 1 at 11:00 pm CST. No hard copy will be accepted.

When you have submitted your last entry on the contest website, go to the Manage Entries portion and follow the links to tally your bill. You will then be directed to the IHSPA online store to pay your contest entry fees. Please choose Spring Journalism Contest at the IHSPA online store. Your entry will be considered complete when payment is made.

School size classification: The news contests are distinguished by three major size classifications – small, medium and large school ­– ­based on enrollment. To achieve similar-sized competition pools, IHSPA uses a system to classify enrollment therefore indicate your 9-12 official enrollment. When all the entries have arrived the size classes will be determined by dividing those entered into thirds.

There is not a separate contest for those papers publishing in a magazine, newspaper, or one-page insert. All schools are put in classes by size only.

Entry fees:

$2 per entry.
Schools are allowed to enter up to five entries in each category.

News Team of the Year

IHSPA member schools are automatically entered into this competition. Your publication is awarded points for first, second, third and honorable mention in the categories of Writing, Photography, General and Art/Illustration/Design and Web. Points are awarded in each of the school size classifications. Consider entering more to improve your chances.

Schools accumulating the top five points in each size class will be honored as IHSPA All-Iowa News Team Finalists. These awards will be given in the spring. (We will not be labeling these first, second, etc.)

The 15 schools achieving IHSPA All-Iowa News Teams Finalists designation are encouraged to submit three complete editions of the publication and the link to the publication website to compete for the five IHSPA All-Iowa News Teams awards.

This will provide the opportunity to submit work from the spring term. The schools will submit three complete editions (one from fall, one from spring and one editor’s choice). The submissions must be mailed and must arrive in the IHSPA office by June 1, 2024 to be considered.

This award will be revealed at the fall conference. There will be one winner from Class A, one from Class B, one from Class C and 2 judge’s choice.

The judging rubric will focus on quality over quantity.

Do not overlook the Designer of the Year, Photographer of the Year, Writer of the Year and Videographer of the Year competitions.

Here are the 30 categories.

DisciplineCategoryDetails
Art & designEditorial Cartoon/comic stripStudent produced cartoons that work with a story or stand alone. It can be produced by hand or on a computer. All art must be original work by the artist.
Art & designIllustration or ArtStudent produced art or drawings that work with a story or stand alone. It can be produced by hand or on a computer. All art must be original work by the artist. Do not enter cartoons or comic strips in this category.
Art & designInfographicInformation presented in a graphic presentation that usually includes graphs, numbers, charts, and descriptions.
Art & designMagazine - Multiple Page DesignA multiple-page design from a magazine publication. Strong entries will use powerful graphics, images, and headlines to grab the audience’s attention.
Art & designMagazine – One Page DesignAny cover or single page design in a magazine publication. Strong entries will use powerful graphics, images, and headlines to grab the audience’s attention.
Art & designNewspaper – Multiple page DesignA multiple page design from a newspaper usually the double-truck or the two center pages. Strong entries will use powerful graphics, images, and headlines to grab the audience’s attention.
Art & designNewspaper – One Page DesignA single page design from a newspaper publication. Strong entries will use powerful graphics, images, and headlines to grab the audience’s attention.
GeneralAdsAny advertisement created by students to promote a business or event is eligible. Entries will be judged on creativity, professional and appropriate display or design and reader appeal. The advertisement must run in a student publication, and it may appear in broadcast, print or online.
GeneralEntertainmentVideo (url link) or print (pdf) entries that engage the audience creatively. Entries will be judged on production quality, originality, entertainment value, and audience engagement.
PhotoFeature PhotoA photo that is used with a feature story. These can be a variety of different shots, have Photoshop effects and possibly be staged environmental portraits. The story may appear in print or online.
PhotoNews PhotoA photo that is of a newsworthy event that captures the moment, emotion, or scene. The photo must not be staged or have any effects or alterations. The story may appear in print or online.
PhotoPhoto slide showJudges will be looking for slideshows where a photographer has used ten or fewer photos. Each photo needs to be captioned, and given photo credit. There should be a variety of close-up, medium, and wide angle shots. Photos are optimized for the web and the slideshow runs smoothly. Winning entries will have emotion, freeze action shots, and tell a powerful story in the slideshow. 
PhotoSports Feature PhotoA photo of a sporting event. Great photos capture decisive moments with clarity and usually contain strong emotions. The story may appear in print or online.
PhotoSports Action PhotoA photo of a sporting event. Great photos capture decisive moments with clarity and usually contain strong emotions. The story may appear in print or online.
PhotoEnvironmental PortraitPosed images of one or more individuals taken in their natural surroundings to provide insight into their work, interests or personality.
WebMultimedia story - FeatureThe feature story should use a variety of elements including written text, photos, videos, audio, infographics and interactive elements. A great multimedia story should be well designed, have a wide range of content that could fall into the category of feature, in-depth news or long form journalism. Opinion stories will not be considered in this category. Judges will reward stories that demonstrate a spirit of experimentation by taking risks and trying new things.
WebMultimedia story - NewsThe in-depth story should use a variety of elements including written text, photos, videos, audio, infographics and interactive elements. A great multimedia story should be well designed, have a wide range of content that could fall into the category of feature, in-depth news or long form journalism. Opinion stories will not be considered in this category. Judges will reward stories that demonstrate a spirit of experimentation by taking risks and trying new things.
WebMultimedia story - SportsThe sports story should use a variety of elements including written text, photos, videos, audio, infographics and interactive elements. A great multimedia story should be well designed, have a wide range of content that could fall into the category of feature, in-depth news or long form journalism. Opinion stories will not be considered in this category. Judges will reward stories that demonstrate a spirit of experimentation by taking risks and trying new things.
WebPodcastingSubmit links to audio podcasts or internet radio shows. Podcasts should be from 5 to 30 minutes in length, and may contain interviews, non-copyrighted music, and strong student voices. Top podcast entries will be judged on originality, organization, quality interviews, and show graphics or branding.
WebSocial Media PromotionThis category will be judged based on the quantity and creativity of social media postings. To enter, submit a link to each of your social media offerings.
WebSocial Media ReportingCoverage 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 IHSPA member school. Submission: Website URL link to portfolio or PDF portfolio. Do not submit both.
WebVideo News ShowFor this contest, digital entries only are accepted. Submit direct URLs to the online site or a video-sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo. The video news show includes a broadcast TV news show including anchors, a script and cuts to news, sports and/or feature package(s). Judges will focus on the following areas: scriptwriting and transitions, professional on-air presence, coverage and content, writing and reporting, leadership, editing and graphics.
WebVideo storyJudges will be looking for video stories that have high interest to high school students, contain more than two interviews where the audience can clearly hear the interviews, uses multiple camera angles, doesn’t have shaky camerawork, doesn’t use copyrighted material, uses natural sound, uses “b-roll” footage effectively, has good lighting, interesting backgrounds, uses narration by the reporter and effective editing that helps tell the story.
WebWeb DesignJudges will look for a clean design that has a unique image header, there is not any or little white space, images are sized to fit posts correctly, site has a customized favicon, images are original, and it is easy to navigate through the site. Top sites will be mobile friendly and try to reach the high school audience through interesting and effective design.
Web Interactive GraphicAllows 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.
WritingColumnAn opinion piece that represents one writer’s stand on a local issue that the school or community is facing. The story may appear in print or online.
WritingFeature StoryExploration of a topic, event or person. It focuses on human interest, and has a high level emotional interest. The story may appear in print or online.
WritingIn-Depth NewsStories that probe beyond the normal five Ws and H that are based on research and extensive interviewing. The story may appear in print or online.
WritingNews StoryA story that uses straight, objective news reporting, while containing a very high level of newsworthiness, factual information, and relevance to high school students. The story may appear in print or online.
WritingSchool News StoryEntries for this category should cover an event or issue that is having a strong impact on the school community. Entries should include multiple sources including students and professional sources. Writing should not include any of the writer's own opinion.
WritingPersonality ProfileA story that focuses on a single person and develops the story around their conflicts, successes and struggles. The story may appear in print or online.
WritingReviewsAn opinion piece that serves as a consumer guide for readers, addressing the question, “Is this thing worth my time and/or money?” in a creative and clear way. Reviews of books, movies, video games, restaurants, TV shows, music, etc. are eligible. Entries are judged on timeliness, evidence of topic knowledge, writing style, originality and reader interest. The piece may appear in print or online.
WritingSports StoryA story covering the news and events of a sports team, athlete or event. The story may appear in print or online.
WritingIn-depth Sports StoryStories that probe beyond the normal five Ws and H that are based on research and extensive interviewing. The story may appear in print or online. Winning entries in the past have investigated issues athletes are dealing with in their sport from recruiting to concussions.
Writing Health and ScienceStories that investigate and explore issues surrounding pandemic. Story packages in this special category are welcome from all media platforms (print, broadcast, online).
WritingSocial JusticeWith a focus on equity and inclusion (winning stories in the category can have a focus on racial or gender issues), story packages in this special category are welcome from all media platforms (print, broadcast, online).
WritingStaff EditorialAn opinion piece that represents the viewpoint of the staff on a current issue. Great pieces take a clear stand and provide solutions for change. The story may appear in print or online.

FAQ:

  • Can there more than one author be listed for a story?
    Yes
  • How many entries per category are allowed?
    Five with the exception of the Social Media category where the effectiveness of your social is being judged as group. Submit all social media sites that you utilize.

IHSPA is using the Better Newspaper Contest platform. Use this link to access the website. Select the 2024 IHSPA Spring Journalism Contests.

Here are instructions for first time users of the Better BNC platform for entries.

Photographer, Writer, Videographer

and Designer of the year awards

  • Writer of the Year
  • Designer of the Year
  • Videographer of the Year
  • Hawkeye Photographer of the Year

To enter this IHSPA contest, the student must have created their work for a school newspaper, magazine, website or yearbook between March 10, 2023 and March 10, 2024.

To submit your work – create an online portfolio that includes five work samples of a single student. Include the date of publication and name of the publication where the work appeared or will appear for yearbook contestants.

Contestant’s school must be an IHSPA member.

Judging Criteria: Judges will evaluate the effectiveness of the student’s coverage of an event or people in a school or community.

Writer of the year, Designer of the year, Videographer of the year and Photographer of the year competitions are open to all grades.

We will honor first, second, and third place in these competitions. There are no school size classes in these contests.

Instructions
Photographer of the YearCreate an online portfolio that includes five photos including caption and date of publication and name of the publication in which the photo appeared.
Writer of the yearCreate an online portfolio that includes five writing samples, indicate date of publication and name of the publication in which the article appeared. Only student publications are allowed.
Videographer of the yearCreate an online portfolio that includes five news video samples, indicate date of publication and name of the publication in which the article appeared. Only student publications are allowed.
Designer of the yearCreate an online portfolio that includes five design samples, indicate date of publication and name of the publication in which the article appeared. Only student publications are allowed. Works for yearbooks are eligible.

How to enter

The applicant must create a website that hosts the portfolio. Most questions can be answered by viewing the JEA website. This is similar to the Journalist of the Year entry. Specific instructions about how to do this can be found at this link.

While this is not a JEA contest, we are following their entry strategy.

Review these instructions on how to create a journalism website.

Once the website has been built use the Better Newspaper Contest platform to enter. The website will begin accepting entries on February 15, 2024.

Deadline: April 1, 2024  at 11:00 pm CST.

Entry fees:

$2 per entry.

Once you have completed all your entries, you will pay the bill online. Entries aren’t considered complete until payment is completed. To pay online, please choose Spring Journalism Contest at the IHSPA online store.

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