WHAT ARE THE REGIONAL CONTESTS?

VISUAL CATEGORIES

Sixteen categories allow students to work on creating photographs, videos, multimedia, illustrations and designs in advance of the February submission deadline. Using a prompt provided below by KSPA, the students create their journalism and then submit it online. Comments from judges are returned to advisers via email after the contest results are final.

WRITING CONTESTS

Nine additional contests of writing include categories like feature writing, copyediting and cutline writing. Using notes or prompts provided by KSPA in February, students have a couple of days to craft stories, editorials and cutlines that are judged by local professionals. Students receive feedback through rubrics and notes on their writing.

CONTINUING TRADITIONS FROM LAST YEAR . . .

NO IN-PERSON CONTESTS FOR 2022 REGIONALS

The KSPA board recommended all Regional Contest categories to move online  for 2022. This allows for in-person conferences at our Regional locations, greater student and teacher safety and many students the chance to participate.

“WILD CARD” ENTRIES

In 2021, we piloted “Wild Card” entries. Each school now gets three “wild cards,” which allow the school to register an additional student or team into a contest category for the Regional contest (except for Social Media).

With “Wild Card” entries, schools are now limited to three entries in any category. “Wild Card” entries are eligible to advance to State. For the State Contest, there will be no additional “Wild Card” entries available. All entries must qualify through the Regional Contest.

NEW CATEGORIES

Here are the categories that we added in 2021:

VISUAL CATEGORIES

Social Media (previously offered only in the State Contest)

Multimedia Storytelling (previously offered only in the State Contest)

Video News

Video PSA

Video Sports Promo

WRITING CATEGORIES

Review Writing (previously offered only in the State Contest)

You can find descriptions for all of these contests below, including the prompts for the Visual Categories

WORD COUNT INCREASES

Many advisers have requested that KSPA increase the word count for the Writing Categories. So, we have increased the allowable number of word in an entry — in some cases by doubling the allowable number of words.

For all writing categories except Feature Writing, we are now allowing 400 words per entry. For the Feature Writing category, we are now allowing 500 words. We hope this gives students a more authentic writing experience and provides our judges with a solid sample of each student’s writing.

IN-PERSON CONFERENCES

IN-PERSON CONFERENCES

The Regional Contests are being held in February 2022, the same month when KSPA will offer in-person conferences around the state.

These regional conferences will be modeled after our traditional fall conferences with break-out sessions & keynote sessions. On-site critiques would also be offered. We will offer conferences at any campuses that have sufficient participation from member schools.

Registration for the conferences will be due the same day as contest registration: Jan. 18.

Why add the conferences?

During the past few academic years, many student journalism groups cancelled in-person student programming, and we believe that students now deserve the chance to gather. And KSPA wants to stay connected with you, our students and teachers!

PRICING

By registering your students for the contest, you are also securing that many conference registrations. Each contest participant can attend the conference without additional payment. Plus, additional student registrations can be purchased as well.

Upon arrival to the conference, each attendee will receive a lanyard and nametake showing registration. Schools can purchase additional lanyards and nametags in excess of the number of contest regisrations they purchased. Team contests (like Multimedia Storytelling and Video PSA) receive the maximum number of complimentary registrations (for instance, 4).

CONFERENCE DATES

The conferences will be on the days previously scheduled:

FEB. 14 (MONDAY)

University of Kansas

Fort Hays State University

Pittsburg State University

FEB. 16 (WEDNESDAY)

Kansas State University

Wichita State University

NOTE: Emporia State University has been cancelled as a location at the request of the local hosts.

DEADLINES

Deadline for contest registration: Jan. 18, 2021

Submissions of Visual category entries begin: Feb. 1, 2022

Writing prompts available: 6 a.m. on Feb. 6.

Writing entries due: Feb. 8 at 11 p.m.

Visual entries due: Feb. 17 at 11 p.m.

Results of Regional Contest posted: March 5 or earlier

VISUAL CATEGORIES

Contest V01

Academics Photography

prompt available now

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V02

Advertising Design

prompt available now

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V03

Digital Illustration

prompt available now

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V04

Editorial Cartoon

Prompt available now

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V05

Headline Writing & Design

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V06

Infographic Design

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V07

Multimedia Storytelling

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors or in a group of up to four
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V08

News Page Design

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V09

Social Media

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors, in a group of up to four or as an entire staff
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V10

Sports Photography

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V11

Student Life Photography

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V12

Video News

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors or in a group of up to four
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V13

Video PSA

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors or in a group of up to four
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V14

Video Sports Promo

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors or in a group of up to four
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V15

Yearbook Design

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

Contest V16

Yearbook Theme & Graphics

prompt now available

Who:

  • individual competitors or in a group of two
  • two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)

COMMON CONTEST QUESTIONS

Number of awards

KSPA urges all judges in all categories and classifications to award 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th place.

However, some judges will decide to award fewer than six places. In the past, some judges have cited these reasons for not awarding three honorable mentions:

  • a small number of entries in a specific category
  • entries that did not follow instructions
  • lack of quality from entries

This circumstance — with fewer than six award winners — is more common in Regional Contests than the State Contest. Advisers should be aware of this possibility. The KSPA staff will follow up with judges to request they submit six award winners unless one of bullet points above applies.

Authentic Captions

Regarding all photography, video and online categories: when writing captions for the images or completing coverage, there is no need to change the name of the school or the people in the photo or video to make the entry anonymous. Jerseys, t-shirts and signs in the photos often make it obvious to the judge what school is entering the contest. Students: please write the coverage and caption as you would for your publication.

However, students and advisers should know that complete and well-researched captions are part of the judging criteria in Academic Photography, Sports Photography and Student Life Photography.

Regional Contest contact information

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Questions about the contests or conferences?

Please mail checks to:

  • KSPA, 1435 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence KS 66045

And you can reach executive director Eric Thomas and administrative assistant Kerry Navinskey by phone at (785) 864-0605 or via email at [email protected].

How are regional groupings created?

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For the 2019 Regional Contest, KSPA researched how to improve our the Regional contests for you. That year, we introduced a way to make the Regional Contests both more fair and more convenient. And it was a huge success! We know the changes encouraged long-time members to keep competing. And of course, we loved seeing new schools join the fun.

     The KSPA staff will create Regionals with a more balanced number of schools in each Regional Grouping. Rather than guessing at how many schools will attend a regional, KSPA will make regional groupings after we know how many schools are competing.

     Advisers simply complete registration by the deadline. Using those registrations, KSPA will create regional groupings based on the number of schools that register. For about every seven schools, KSPA will create a regional. So, in 2019, 43 schools competed in 5A/6A Regionals. That created 6 regionals.

     We will be sure to publish regional groupings soon after that initial registration deadline. Plus, our digital submission system will automatically slot entries from your school into the correct regional grouping.

     Nearby schools will likely be in the same regional. However, we will avoid — as much as possible — clustering high schools from the same school district into the same regional. For instance, schools in the AnyTown School District might be distributed into a few different regional groupings, even though they are geographically close to one another.

Getting organized

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This sheet is not a required step in the registration process, but should help advisers in gathering — whether on paper or digitally — the information needed to organize for the KSPA Regional contests. Advisers do not need to communicate the names and email addresses of their students upon registration. Students will provide their names upon submission of their entry. Gathering email addresses will be helpful if advisers want to add students as authorized entrants to the digital submission contest system at BetterBNC.com.

Writing Categories

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Nine writing Categories will be offered. Submission of entries will occur through an online form.

  • Category W1: Copyediting
  • Category W2: Sports Writing
  • Category W3: Yearbook Copy
  • Category W4: Feature Writing
  • Category W5: News Writing
  • Category W6: Cutline Writing
  • Category W7: Editorial Writing
  • Category W8: Yearbook Sports Writing
  • Category W9: Review Writing

Visual Categories

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Sixteen Visual Categories, previously called “digital submission” contests, will be offered. The prompts for all Visual Categories were published Dec. 3. All entries are due — through submission to the BNC contest system — by 11 p.m. Feb. 17.

  • Category V01: Academics Photography
  • Category V02: Advertising Design
  • Category V03: Digital Illustration (previously, Photo Illustration)
  • Category V04: Editorial Cartoon
  • Category V05: Headline Writing & Design
  • Category V06: Infographic Design
  • Category V07: Multimedia Storytelling
  • Category V08: News Page Design
  • Category V09: Social Media (only one entry per school; can be a team of up to four, or an entire staff)
  • Category V10: Sports Photography
  • Category V11: Student Life Photography
  • Category V12: Video News (can be a team of up to four)
  • Category V13: Video PSA (can be a team of up to four)
  • Category V14: Video Sports Promo (can be a team of up to four)
  • Category V15: Yearbook Design
  • Category V16: Yearbook Theme & Graphics (can be team of up to two)

Entries to Visual Categories are submitted using BetterBNC Media Awards Platform. The system will allow for secure submissions, quick judging and high-quality feedback. This document provides in-depth instructions, including video tutorials.

Judging Criteria

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During a normal State Contest, judges use paper copies of rubrics to provide feedback to students about their writing, cartooning and editing. That will not be possible this year. However, you can reference the rubrics to see the qualities that judges usually seek. Here are rubrics and some comments that judges often make. (Please note that some rubrics are still being developed for newly added categories.)

Entry limit

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A particular student may only participate in five total categories, whether individually or as a team.

Fees & Costs

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The fee for each entry is $12.

  • 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.

Writing Categories: Rules & Tips

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  • Cutline Writing: Students will write cutlines for five photos provided. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks. .
  • Copyediting Contest: Students will complete two different tasks in this contest (a previous example can be found here). First, students will respond to 25 different multiple choice questions with possible errors in AP style, accuracy, libel, attribution, grammar, spelling and redundancy. Students will respond with the best answer, which could be “no change” to the existing sentence. Students will also read a sample story. In response to the sample story, the student will provide feedback, coaching, notes of caution and encouragement to the writer. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP style manuals.
  • Other 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 use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks.

Past Regional & State Prompts

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Want a preview of what the Writing Category 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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Check out our “Simply Better” pages, a showcase of the award-winning entries from previous Regional and State competitions. These examples can be used as classroom examples for students who will compete in State.

Thanks

The KSPA staff and board look forward to gathering together like “normal” in upcoming years. And we commend the students and advisers participating in the contest for their energy and strength during the pandemic.

Sincerely,

Your KSPA Staff!