The contest

The KSPA Middle School Contest has been a way for students in Kansas to get feedback and recognition for their outstanding student journalism for years. Students earn certificates for top work and all students receive feedback.

We are excited to use a new submission process this year that will allow quicker submission with fewer files and documents cluttering up your computer.

Who may enter

Students must be in 6th through 9th grades and be enrolled at a Kansas middle school, junior high, or K-8 building. Advisers of entering students must be members of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association.

All Entries are electronically submitted.  Each school may have up to 10 entries divided among the 4 contests as they see fit. Cost to enter ALL contests is $15 per school, payable by check to the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. Entries must be submitted electronically by April 18, 2024. All entries and awards will be judged and returned by mail starting May 7 and in your hands by or before May 15. (If you need them sooner, let us know.) The $15 pays for return postage of certificates.

To register

Please register at this website. Following your registration, you can use a credit card to pay online or you can mail a check to KSPA. 

If you don’t pay online, send checks to (made out to “KSPA”)

Please mail to KSPA, 1000 Sunnyside Ave, Dole Human Development Center 2067, Lawrence KS 66045

Entries may be submitted electronically in the following categories:

PHOTOGRAPHY with caption

Entries may be either black and white or color. Students who enter this category should submit photos that have appeared in either the newspaper or yearbook within the last year. Photo submissions are digital through the submission form.

Images need to be named as: [Student First Name Student Last Name_School Name]. (Example: Gina Miller_Mill Creek)   A caption needs to be added to the application form.  The image need not be cropped for competition in the same manner as it appeared in the publication.

CRITERIA: Judges will look for imaginative subject matter, technical quality, composition, visual impact, story told by photograph, simplicity, cropping, and lighting. 


The feature should be approximately maximum of 350 words. It should be one that is appearing in a current yearbook, literary magazine, or newspaper or published within the last year.

Feature entries need to be submitted as PDF files using the submission form.

CRITERIA: Judges will look for attention-grabbing leads, feature style as opposed to news style, colorful details, use of direct quotes and anecdotes, reader appeal, accuracy, and completeness.


Entries must be student-designed and can be for yearbook, newspaper, or literary magazine. The layout should be from the current year’s publication and from inside the publication as a double-page spread. Layouts should include headlines, subheads, photos, captions and copy to be fully considered for the contest. (Try to avoid title pages, opening pages, closing pages, tables of contents, portrait spreads, division pages and index pages.)

Entries need to be emailed as PDF files using the submission form.

CRITERIA: Judges will look for clean layout, effective positioning of elements, evidence of consideration for readers, creative graphic approaches and a sense of personality or style. Judging will be for the layout only.  


Broadcast may be video or audio on any topic uploaded to YouTube.  Include a note on the entry form indicating the section to be judged if there is more than one. Accurately copy a publicity viewable YouTube URL in the entry form. Segments judged should not exceed 3 minutes.

CRITERIA: Judges will look for audio and visual clarity, use of colorful, clear details, reader appeal, accuracy, and completeness.

How to enter

  1. Register for the contest here. 
  2. If you did not pay for the contest online with a credit card, please mail to KSPA, 1000 Sunnyside Ave, Dole Human Development Center 2067, Lawrence KS 66045
  3. Save the entry file in the format noted above for each category
  4. Submit the entry to the online submission form
  5. Entries MUST BE received by April 18.
  6. You will receive back the following: all entries with positive, instructive, helpful critiques, certificates for those judged Honorable Mention, Excellent, and Superior
  7. If you have any questions, please contact Haylee Hedge at [email protected]