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NSPA Contests

You'll always find the latest information and forms for NSPA's contests by visiting this page. Downloadable PDF forms will be available from this page as soon as the forms are created and printed. If you have difficulty downloading the PDF files, please email us to request a copy by mail or fax.

The following contests are free of charge, but open only to NSPA member publications. To find out if your publication is a current member, check our database. Non-members who enter will be billed for membership.

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Pacemaker Awards – San Diego, April 2014

Video made for NSPA by Ken Stone.

Newspaper Pacemakers

Contest Details

Entry form:
Download

Deadline:
June 12, 2015

Finalists announced:
Sept. 2015

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, Orlando, Fla., Nov. 12-15, 2015

View 2014 winners

NSPA began the Pacemaker Awards in 1927. Judges select Pacemakers based on the following: coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics.

Finalists will be notified about one month before the fall convention.

View size categories for the 2015 Newspaper Pacemaker contest.

Past Winners: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993

Online Pacemakers

Contest Details

Entry form:
Available Nov. 2015

Deadline:
Jan. 15, 2016

Finalists announced:
March 2016

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, Los Angeles, April 14-17, 2016

View 2015 winners

NSPA ​offers its highest honor, the Pacemaker award, to ​student-directed ​online ​news organizations​. Member websites are not automatically entered in the Pacemaker competition - staffs must submit a Pacemaker entry form.

Online Pacemaker entries are judged during the months of February and March, based on: design, navigation, writing/editing, graphics and interactivity.

Past Winners: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001

Yearbook/Magazine Pacemakers

Contest Details

Entry form:
Magazine: Not yet available
Yearbook: Download

Deadline:
Jan. 15, 2016

Finalists announced:
Yearbook: Feb. 2016
Magazine: March 2016

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, Los Angeles, April 14-15, 2016

2014 Winners:
Yearbook Pacemaker
Magazine Pacemaker

Since 1927, NSPA's Pacemaker competition has been considered by many to be student journalism's highest honor. All NSPA yearbook and magazine members are eligible to compete in their respective national Pacemaker competitions.

Yearbook/Magazine Pacemakers are judged based upon the following criteria: writing/editing, design, content, concept, photography, art and graphics.

Past Winners:
Yearbook Pacemaker: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993
Digital YB Pacemaker: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 1998-2002
Magazine Pacemaker: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 |1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993

Individual Awards

Contest Details

Entry form:
Go to

Deadline:
June 12, 2015

Finalists announced:
Sept. 2015

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, Orlando, Fla., Nov. 12-15, 2015

2014 Winners:
Picture of the Year
Design of the Year
Cartooning Awards
Story of the Year
Multimedia Story of the Year

The Story of the Year competition​ ​​recognizes initiative and original reporting of a situation, problem or issue affecting students. Judges look for entries which show leadership, quality writing, sensitivity and fairness. Categories include News Story, Feature Story, Editorial/Commentary, Sports Story, Diversity Story and Multimedia Package. The first place winners from each category, with the exception of Multimedia Package, will compete for the $1,000 Brasler Prize.

NSPA's Picture of the Year competition honors student photographers in six categories, including News, Feature, Sports Action, Sports Reaction, Environmental Portrait and Jr. High/Middle School. ​

NSPA sponsor ​the​ Design of the Year competition. Categories include Newspaper Page One, Newspaper Page/Spread, Yearbook Page/Spread, Magazine Page/Spread, Infographic and Illustration.

The NSPA Cartooning Awards, co-sponsored by Universal Uclick, are open to students at NSPA member newspapers in two categories: Editorial Cartoon and Comic Strip/Panel.

Past Winners:
Story of the Year: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996
Brasler Prize: 1996-2012
Multimedia Story of the Year: 2013 | 2012
Picture of the Year: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996
Design of the Year: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000
Cartooning Awards: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

Broadcast Awards

Contest Details

Entry form:
Go to

Deadline:
June 17, 2015

Finalists announced:
Sept. 2015

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, Orlando, Fla., Nov. 12-15, 2015

2014 Winners:
Broadcast Pacemaker
Broadcast Story of the Year

The National Scholastic Press Association presents the Broadcast Pacemaker and Broadcast Story of the Year contests for high school student-produced television news programs.

NSPA accepts entries via online submission (Pacemaker/Story of the Year). The entry form includes instructions on ​where to upload video.

Past Winners:
Broadcast Pacemaker: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996
Broadcast Story of the Year: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

Convention Best of Show

The Best of Show competition is held at all national and state conventions sponsored by the National Scholastic Press Association. The number of entries and places awarded may change from year to year, usually corresponding with overall attendance. Only publications and broadcast teams with students in attendance at the convention are eligible to enter the contest. Competitiveness varies depending on time of year and the convention location. The competing pool is typically much smaller and distinct from our national contests, such as the Pacemaker. The Best of Show award does not signify a ranking of national excellence, but rather overall excellence among the attendees and entries.

Because it is an onsite contest, the judging process is accelerated. NSPA makes every effort to obtain judges of the highest caliber. Customarily, one judge makes the selections for each category. There is no panel and no discussion is allowed. This also makes the judging process for Best of Show very different from our national contests, where a panel may have time for deliberation and debate. Best of Show judges do not provide NSPA with comments on winners or other entries. NSPA retains the winning entries for future use.

Contest forms are sent with convention registration confirmations or are available at the convention registration desk. Best of Show entries for print publications consist of one issue of a newspaper or a single broadcast program from the current school year or one copy of a magazine or yearbook from the previous school year.

Journalism Honor Roll

Contest Details

Entry form:
Available Dec. 2015

Deadline:
Feb. 28, 2016

Finalists announced:
March 2016

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, Los Angeles, April 14-17, 2016

View 2015 Honor Roll

The NSPA Journalism Honor Roll honors student journalists who have achieved a 3.75 or higher grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) and have worked in student media for two or more years. Additionally, seniors who qualify for the Honor Roll and submit additional information requested on the entry form are entered 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.

Past Winners: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997

Wikoff Scholarship for Editorial Leadership

Contest Details

Entry form:
Available Dec. 2015

Deadline:
Feb. 28, 2016

Finalists announced:
March 2016

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, Los Angeles, April 14-17, 2016

View past winners

In recognition of his service to the National Scholastic Press Association 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 paper's adviser.

Past Winners: 1998-2013

Courage in Student Journalism Award

Contest Details

Entry form: Via email

Deadline:
June 8, 2015

Winners announced:
JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention, Orlando, Fla., Nov. 12-15, 2015

View 2014 winners

Sponsored by NSPA with the Student Press Law Center

The Student Press Law Center and the National Scholastic Press Association co-sponsor the Courage in Student Journalism Award.

Two awards will be presented. The first 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 award 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 student media. (The student journalist and administrator need not be from the same school.)

Additional information (including a list of past winners of this award) is available at this SPLC web page.

Past Winners: SPLC Award Winners

Pioneer Award

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 and displays it at all JEA/NSPA fall national conventions. Candidates are nominated by previous Pioneer winners and NSPA board members.

Those who are to be 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.

We want to remain in touch with past Pioneer Award recipients. If you've not heard from us lately, please send your current mailing address, email and phone number to Diana Mitsu Klos at diana@studentpress.org.

View the list of Pioneer Award winners

Other Awards

These awards have either been discontinued or have been replaced by another award.

Previous winners of these awards are linked below.

Best of the Net (replaced by Online Pacemaker):
1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996

Multicultural Award (now part of Story of the Year): 1997 | 1996

H.L. Hall/Melinda Foys Adviser Fellowships: 2000-2006

RFK Memorial Journalism Awards (co-sponsored by NSPA 2002-2009)

Form Central

The latest forms and brochures in PDF format:

Contest Deadlines

Journalism Honor Roll - Feb. 28, 2015

Wikoff Scholarship for Editorial Leadership - Feb. 28, 2015

NSPA Contests/Critiques...

Upcoming Conventions

JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, Denver - April 16–20, 2015

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