WHAT ARE THE REGIONAL CONTESTS?
Seventeen 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.
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.
Deadline for contest registration: Jan. 18, 2023
Submissions of Visual category entries begin: Feb. 1, 2023
Writing prompts available: 6 a.m. on Jan. 29.
Writing entries due: 11 p.m. on Jan. 31.
Visual entries due: Feb. 9 at 11 p.m.
Results of Regional Contest posted: March 5 or earlier
NO IN-PERSON CONTESTS FOR 2023 REGIONALS OR STATE
Based on surveys of our KSPA members, the KSPA board recommended all Regional and State Contest categories to move online. This allows for winter workshops at most of our previous Regional locations and increases how many students can participate in the contests.
“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 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.
CHANGES FOR 2023
Here are the changes that KSPA made for 2023:
Sports Feature Photo:
This category was added, along with Sports Action Photo, for this year’s Regional Contest. Previously, there was only one contest: Sports Photo.
Sports Action Photo:
This category was added, along with Sports Feature Photo, for this year’s Regional Contest. Previously, there was only one contest: Sports Photo.
News Page Design:
The format for this contest changed slightly for this year’s Regional Contest. Rather than designing a front page of a larger format newspaper, students will design an inside page of a news magazine.
You can find full descriptions for all of these contests below, including the prompts for the Visual Categories
The Regional Contests are being held in February 2022, the same month when KSPA will offer five Winter Workshops around the state.
The KSPA Winter Workshops will provide students with an on-campus and in-person experience to learn a single specialized skill in media or journalism. The events replace the Regional Contests traditionally held during February on university campuses. In response to successful on-campus events in February 2021, KSPA is again offering a day of learning to members.
Registration for the workshops will be due the same day as contest registration: Jan. 18.
WINTER WORKSHOP PRICING
At a minimum, schools will need to provide funds for student lunches. The pricing for these lunches will be built into registration fees for the event.
Some university locations might also charge an attendance fee per student. More information will be provided by the end of November.
Otherwise, all schools participating in the Regional Contest can register students for the Winter Workshops at no cost. Schools not participating in the Regional Contest will pay a registration fee plus lunch costs to attend the Winter Workshops.
WINTER WORKSHOP DATES
FEB. 13 (MONDAY): University of Kansas
FEB. 14 (TUESDAY): Kansas State University
FEB. 15 (WEDNESDAY): Wichita State University
FEB. 16 (THURSDAY): Fort Hays State University
FEB. 17 (FRIDAY): Pittsburg State University
NOTE: Emporia State University has been cancelled.
- individual competitors
- two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)
Headline Writing & Design
News Page Design
Sports Action Photography
Sports Feature Photography
Yearbook Theme & Graphics
- individual competitors or in a group of two
- two entries per school (or three, with a “Wild Card” entry)
The video below shows students how to find the materials for their writing category entries and how to submit those entries using the Google Classrooms that KSPA has created.
Having trouble with Google Classrooms?
- First, try logging out of any Google/Gmail account associated with a school district. Some districts may have blocked student accounts from joining Google Classrooms. The alternative is a personal Google/Gmail account — OR — a Google/Gmail account shared by staff members.
- Second, some districts may have blocked Google Classrooms on district devices. There are two solutions here: 1) ask your IT department to unblock Google Classrooms either for your students or until our deadline Tuesday — OR — 2) ask students to access the prompts and submit using personal devices. (They could still do the actual writing on a district device.)
COMMON CONTEST QUESTIONS
NEW! Policy on contests entries from school districts with academies
Some Kansas school districts allow students to enroll at their high school and a school district academy, often to learn specialized skills. In those circumstances, for the purposes of state and regional contests KSPA will require:
- Each institution that submits entries must have a KSPA member adviser as a teacher at the school. It is not sufficient to have a membership for only the high school but not the academy – or vice versa.
- If a student participates in a publication, club or curricular class at one institution, the student should enter KSPA contests as a student at that same institution. (For instance, if Pat is editor of the high school yearbook, Pat should enter the contest on behalf of the high school – not the academy.)
- If a student participates in a publication(s), club(s) or curricular class(es) at both institutions, that student may choose which institution to compete for. (For instance, if Sam is a newspaper photographer at the high school, but runs social media at the academy, Sam can choose to submit entries for either the high school or the academy.)
- The KSHSAA classification of the school district academy will be determined by the combined enrollment of all high schools that send students to the academy.
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.
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.
Additionally, students and advisers should know that complete and well-researched captions are part of the judging criteria in Academic Photography, Sports Feature Photograph, Sports Action Photography and Student Life Photography.
Regional Contest contact informationclick on arrow for more info
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?click on arrow for more info
Starting 2019, 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 or less — 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 organizedclick on arrow for more info
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 Contest. 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 Categoriesclick on arrow for more info
Nine writing Categories will be offered. Submission of entries will occur through Google Classrooms. Please be sure that your school district allows for Google Classroom access — or that your students can access Google Classrooms through another device.
- 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
click on arrow for more info
Seventeen Visual categories will be offered.
- 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 Action Photography
- Category V11: Sports Feature Photography
- Category V12: Student Life Photography
- Category V13: Video News (can be a team of up to four)
- Category V14: Video PSA (can be a team of up to four)
- Category V15: Video Sports Promo (can be a team of up to four)
- Category V16: Yearbook Design
- Category V17: 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 Criteriaclick on arrow for more info
Students 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.)
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A particular student may only participate in five total categories, whether individually or as a team.
A school can submit up to two entries in each category, unless the school is using “Wild Card” entries in that category.
Fees & Costs
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- 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 partial refunds can be issued for unused registrations.
Past Regional & State Promptsclick on arrow for more info
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 News Page Design Contest). Be sure to read all directions for this year’s contest for guidance.
Simply Betterclick on arrow for more info
Check out our “Simply Better” page, 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 for participating in the 2023 KSPA Regional Contest!
Your KSPA Staff!