Welcome to the 2017 KSPA Regional Contest!

The association is excited to host the hundreds of student journalists and their advisers from all over the state at six universities during these exciting days of competition. We are excited to see students apply their journalism knowledge and publications energy toward our contests.

With any contest of this scale, there are many details to address. Please read this page and documents as closely as possible. We hope that it will answer most of your questions.

However, please keep in touch with any questions you might have. You can reach KSPA assistant Kerry Navinskey and KSPA executive director Eric Thomas at (785) 864-0605 and [email protected].

Thanks so much. And good luck!

Results are here!

Congratulations to our winners! All students earning an award in the Regional Contest are eligible for the State Contest.

Digital submissions are closed.

Submissions closed at 10:59 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.

Important Dates

  • Dec. 1 :: All digital submission prompts published on KSPA website
  • Early January :: Advisers able to log in to new contest system
  • Early January :: Registration for Regional contests opens on KSPA website
  • Jan. 17 :: New contest system opens for submissions by students
  • Feb. 10 :: Regional contest registration deadline
  • Feb. 10 :: Please notify contest coordinators of special accommodations for any of your students
  • Feb. 17 at 10:59 p.m. CST :: All digital submissions must be uploaded to online submission site
  • Feb. 22 :: On-site Regional contest at Pittsburg State University (3A/4A) (Note this is a Wednesday.)
  • Feb. 23 :: On-site Regional contests at . . . (Note this is a Thursday.)
    • Fort Hays State University (3A/4A and 1A/2A)
    • Emporia State University (3A/4A)
    • Kansas State University (3A/4A and 1A/2A)
    • Wichita State University (1A/2A, 5A/6A Sunflower and 5A/6A Black)
  • Feb. 24 :: On-site Regional Contest at University of Kansas (3A/4A, 5A/6A Crimson and 5A/6A Blue)
  • March 10 :: The latest date for contest results to be posted (we will work for earlier results)

Three Contest Changes for 2017

NEW ONLINE SYSTEM: The 2017 Regional Contest will be the first contest to use our new digital submission system. Hosted by Better Newspaper Contests (BNC), the new system will allow for better feedback for students, more oversight from advisers and a better interface for our judges. BNC and KSPA are working on customizing the system to make it as intuitive and simple as possible. We will be in touch in early January to provide instructions and notify advisers that they can log into the online system. WHAT HASN’T CHANGED: Advisers will still use the KSPA website to register, pay by credit card or request an invoice for contest registration. 

EARLY RELEASE OF PROMPTS: We hope that the earlier release of the digital submission prompts allows your students more time to create excellent, award-winning work. However, the KSPA board would like to remind all teachers and advisers that students are to work independently on the prompts. Teachers should not provide critiques, coaching or feedback in advance of the student submitting the entry. Similarly, if teachers use the Regional contest prompts as assignments for classes, the teacher should not provide feedback on the students’ work. BOTTOM LINE: This is a student contest. Teachers are prohibited from helping their students.

ADVISERS AS JUDGES: KSPA invites advisers to help as judges for the on-site contests this year. The KSPA board approved this practice to speed the announcement of winners, improve feedback for students and fill the dwindling pool of judges available for on-site judging. As a perk, advisers who work as judges will have their school’s registration fee ($10) waived. On the day of the contest, advisers will gather after the first round of on-site contests has been completed. Advisers will be provided entries that are not in the same school classification to avoid awarding their students’ work and other conflicts of interest. For instance, an adviser at a 3A/4A school would judge 5A/6A entries or 1A/2A entries. Please see the upcoming registration form for the chance to step forward as a judge. (Because the Pittsburg and Emporia regionals have only one classification, advisers can volunteer for online judging to receive the waiver and help KSPA.)

Important Reminders

  • Once a school has registered for the contest, no refunds can be issued. Schools may register for additional entries but cannot reduce the number of entries. (Each additional submission of registration information will include an additional registration fee.) All payments are due to the KSPA office before certificates or judging feedback will be returned to the school.
  • Please note the schedule above with the on-site contests stretching over three days.

The Regional Locations



Schedule for contest days

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  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2016 :: Regionals at PSU
  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 2016 :: Regionals at FHSU, ESU, KSU and WSU
  • Friday, Feb. 24 :: Regionals at KU

The following schedule applies to all (including Wichita) regional locations and all dates:

  • 8:30 a.m. Regional contest desk opens for questions & assistance
  • 9 a.m. Opening remarks & instructions
  • 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Session One
    • Copyediting
    • Sports Writing
    • Editorial Cartoon
    • Yearbook Copy Writing
    • Feature Writing
  • 11:10 a.m. – 12:40 p.m. Session Two
    • News Writing
    • Cutline Writing
    • Editorial Writing
    • Yearbook Sports Writing

 Regional contacts

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Questions about registration, payment or substitutions?

  • Kerry Navinskey, KSPA Offices, 1435 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence KS 66045, (785) 864-0605, [email protected]

Questions about special student accommodations, parking, location, etc.?

  • Emporia State University: Kristy Dekat, Emporia State University, [email protected]
  • Fort Hays State University: Latisha Haag, Fort Hays State University, 785-624-6356, [email protected]
  • Kansas State University: Kelly Glasscock, Kansas State University, (785) 370-6353
    [email protected]
  • Pittsburg State University: Josh Letner, Pittsburg State University, 620-235-4809, [email protected]
  • University of Kansas: Kerry Navinskey, KSPA Offices, (785) 864-0605, [email protected]
  • Wichita State University: Amy DeVault, Wichita State University, (316) 978-6052, [email protected] 

Contest Divisions and Regional Assignments

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KSPA competitions are divided into three classifications for competition:

  • 1A and 2A schools
  • 3A and 4A schools
  • 5A and 6A schools

A minimum of four schools must compete in each division at each regional to have a valid contest. The executive director is authorized by KSPA’s board to assign schools as necessary to equalize competition and to ensure that at least four schools compete in each division at each site. 

You can find the list of Regional Contest assignments and school codes here.

On-site contests

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On-site contests are proctored at one of the six state universities that host our contests. Those host institutions will provide KSPA-written prompts asking students to write or edit according to directions and within the time provided. Each of the on-site contests is judged according to a rubric. Nine on-site contests will be offered:

  • Contest A: Copyediting
  • Contest B: Sports Writing
  • Contest C: Editorial Cartoon
  • Contest D: Yearbook Copy Writing
  • Contest E: Feature Writing
  • Contest F: News Writing
  • Contest G: Cutline Writing
  • Contest H: Editorial Writing
  • Contest J: Yearbook Sports Writing

Digital Submission Contests

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Ten digital submission contests will be offered. Please click on the links below for the 2017 prompts, including the submission link for each contest.

Two contests (Multimedia Storytelling and Online Photo Gallery) will be at the state level only.

Digital Submission contests must be uploaded using the Better Newspaper Contests online submission process that KSPA has customized for our schools. This system will allow upload of jpg (JPEG) files for photography contests and pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files for design categories. Almost every photography or design software should be capable of creating files for submission. In the event that you don’t have the software, KSPA has included instructions of how to use an online service to prepare jpg image files.

Please note: To make administration of the contest run more smoothly and efficiently, the KSPA contest committee has a school and student coding system used for on-site contests. Instructions are below.


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Each school may enter two entries in each contest.

Each individual student . . .

  • may enter up to five Regional contests
  • is limited to no more than two on-site contests (please be sure that the contest are proctored at different times on site)

In the Yearbook Theme and Graphics competition, schools may register

  • two teams of two individuals per team, or
  • two individuals, or
  • one team and one individual.


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The fee for each entry remains $10. An administrative fee of $10 will be added to each registration instance. Each time that a school completes the registration form, this fee must be included.

Once a school has registered for the contest, no refunds can be issued. Schools may register for additional entries but cannot reduce the number of entries. (Each additional submission of registration information will include an additional registration fee.) All payments are due to the KSPA office before certificates or judging feedback will be returned to the school.

Students will be expected to pay for their own lunch and lodging if they elect to remain overnight. Affordable lunch options may be purchased in the Market in the Kansas Union.

  • Payment may be made online by credit card at the time of registration.
  • For payment by check, please make checks payable to KSPA and send the check to KSPA, 1435 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 318, Lawrence, KS 66045.
  • No refunds will be granted once registrations are filed. 
  • Student certificates and judging feedback will not be returned until payment in full is received to the KSPA office.

Student Supervision

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Students must remain on the contest premises where they are competing throughout the day. Advisers must accompany students to the contest site. At the regional level, KSPA will not provide any scheduled activities for digital submission entrants. As a result, unless these students are also competing on site, they need not attend the contest.


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Each student will be responsible for his/her lunch. Food service is available on each campus.

Check In

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Once registration closes on Friday, Feb. 10, the director of each contest site will send advisers additional information on parking, food facilities, location of registration and contests.


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The director of each regional contest is authorized to enforce the rules approved by the KSPA executive committee. If any adviser violates the rules, his/her students will be disqualified and the principal of the school involved will be notified. Advisers are prohibited from entering the rooms where entries are being judged.

Advisers are not to give advice or suggestions on digital submission contests. Student questions should be directed to the KSPA assistant and executive director through [email protected]

Awards and Judging

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Certificates will be awarded in regional contests to the first-place, second-place and third-place winners as well as to three honorable mentions. Award winners are then eligible to compete in the state competition Saturday, May 6, 2017 at the University of Kansas.

Judges will be . . . 

  • journalism faculty
  • former high school advisers
  • graduate students
  • journalism students
  • professional journalists
  • and current advisers (advisers will judge entries from a different enrollment classification to avoid conflicts of interest). Current KSPA advisers with students entered into the Regional contest can waive $10 of their school’s registration fee by volunteering to judge as an on-site judge. 

Critique forms will be provided with each entry. Judges are encouraged to make comments on all entries. Please keep in mind that judges volunteer their services to KSPA without pay.

Students with Special Needs

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Please be advised that people with special needs will be given an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all contests sponsored by KSPA and the cooperating institutions that act as hosts. If you or any of your students need to be so accommodated, please let the appropriate contest director know what these accommodations are before Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.

On-site Contest Rules & Tips

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Two entries per category per school are allowed.

  • Copyediting:  Contestants will receive 25 multiple-choice questions and a passage to review. First, contestants will review sentences for use of grammar, Associated Press style, proper news writing, attribution, spelling and redundancy. Students will chose the best correction, if correction is needed. If the sentence is best as originally written, students will indicate “No correction needed.” For the second portion, the contestant will be asked to give initial feedback on the first draft of a story. Students will not use copyediting marks to correct grammar or make notes in the margins to annotate the passage. Instead, contestants will compose a note to the writer about the qualities and shortcomings of the writing. Contestants should especially consider especially, structure, tone, research, ethics and readability. Use of a dictionary, thesaurus or AP Stylebook is approved. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest. 
  • Cutline Writing: Students will write cutlines for five photos provided at the contest site. Students may write in pen or pencil. Paper will be provided at the contest site. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest.
  • Writing Contests: (Yearbook copy, yearbook sports, feature, news, sports and editorial writing contests). Students will write a story based on information provided on a fact sheet. Students may write in pen or pencil. Paper will be provided. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest.
  • Editorial Cartoon Contest: Students will design a cartoon relevant to the topic provided on the fact sheet. The final entry should be submitted in black ink. Do not place your signature anywhere on the entry. Paper will be provided. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest.

Inclement Weather Policy

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Under this policy, schools must make every attempt to attend the regional contest to which they are assigned. However, if a district official prohibits travel to a contest site because of snow and/or ice on the roads, the policy outlines a procedure by which students may compete at their school under strict guidelines. This policy covers only the on-site contests. 

If bad weather prevents a school from travel to its regional contest, the deadline for digital submission contests will stand. Please read the full policy for specific details.

Delayed Judging Necessary

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From the Inclement Weather Policy:

“Because contest coordinators at KU, KSU, PSU, WSU, ESU and FHSU can no longer guarantee that all schools will compete on the day of the contest, they will have to delay judging to accommodate any schools that can’t make it to their site. Often, the most difficult part of contest coordination is finding enough judges to meet all at once, in one space. Further, coordinators have to arrange for the space and judges weeks, if not months, in advance. Thus, all judging will be done within two weeks of the end of the contests and not on the day of the contest. Results will not be posted until Friday, March 10, on the KSPA website.”

Past Regional & State Prompts

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Want a preview of what the state prompts will be like? Want a classroom activity for your students? Need an emergency lesson plan?

KSPA has a page of prompts from previous state and regional contests for you. We will continue to add to the collection as we search through our archives. ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: please notice that some of the rules and formats for the contests have changed (most notably for the Copyediting On-Site Contest. Be sure to read all directions for this year’s contest for guidance.

Simply Better

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To review the winning entries in every contest held at the 2015 KSPA State Contest in May 2015, click here.

To review the winning entries in every contest held at the 2014 KSPA State Contest in May 2014, choose from the files below:

  • Largest file size :: (NO PREVIEW available, must download) best for printing and reading clarity, but slower download (115 MB)
  • Smaller file size :: better for fast download, but graphics may not print well (4.1 MB)

Our apologies that we are still processing entries from the 2016 State Contest due to technical difficulties from our online submission system.

Contest Results

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All results from the 2017 regional contests will be posted on the KSPA website.

All first-, second- and third-place entries, as well as all three honorable mentions in each category, advance to the state competition, set for Saturday, May 6, 2017 at the Kansas Union on the campus of the University of Kansas. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with a general session at 9 a.m. and contests at 9:30 a.m. Return to our website for more details about the State Contest (including the digital submission contest prompts) as they become available. Digital submission prompts will be available in April.

KSPA and its affiliated universities would like to thank all members and judges for their patience during this time. 


Registration closed Feb. 10, 2017.


KSPA sincerely appreciates your support of the organization and our activities. Please stay in touch and let us know how we can make the contest even better in the future.


Thomas Sig





Eric Thomas, KSPA Executive Director