KSPA’s Monthly Contests offer students a chance to get feedback and earn awards for their work during the school year, whether for their school’s newspaper, news website, yearbook or broadcast program. We currently offer four categories:

  • Writing of the Month
  • Photo of the Month
  • Design of the Month
  • Multimedia of the Month


Schools who have already joined KSPA may have already paid for all Monthly Contests on their membership form. If your school hasn’t already paid for the contests, they are $5 per individual entry. Maximum cost will be $420 for the year (10 entries per month for seven months).



New (and FREE) political monthly contests available!

KSPA’s Monthly Contests offer students a chance to get free feedback and earn awards for their work during the school year, whether for their school’s newspaper, news website, yearbook or broadcast program.

With our new project, KSPA Election Force, we will be adding several new monthly contest categories that will be FREE for students to participate in. These new contests will give the same great critiques that you get in other monthly contest categories, but with none of the cost.

The KSPA Election Force, in partnership with the American Citizenship Project and Kansas Press Association, hopes to encourage and help student journalists to cover politics and the election season in their publications with journalistic integrity.

These new categories, which are detailed below, are free to enter for all KSPA members and will be available from September through December.

Political Cartoon

Students may submit a cartoon or drawing that accompanies a news article, an editorial or a column in their publication. The cartoon should depict or convey a message regarding politics or the 2020 election season.

Political News Writing

Students should submit a news article that deals with political issues (on a local, state or national level) or the 2020 election. This article should be free of bias or student opinion, and should be of consequence to the publication’s audience.

Political Opinion Writing

Students may submit either editorials (unsigned writing that expresses a consensus leadership perspective from the staff) or columns (signed personal writings that reflect on personal beliefs and/or experiences) that cover local, state or national politics or the 2020 election.

Political Social Media Coverage

Students (or a group of students) may submit up to four links to their publication’s social media profiles and posts that present political/election coverage to their audience. Students should be able to show content variety across various social media platforms that present general excellence in social media political coverage.

Political Video News Coverage

Students (or a group of students) should submit link(s) to video or broadcast coverage of local/state/national politics and the 2020 election season

Follow our Election Force Instagram (@kspaonline) for more political journalism tips for your students.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns! 

An award-winning news story from Connor Schmaus from Lawrence High School


Each school may submit up to four pieces of writing every month of the contest. Entries can be submitted as links to stories posted on publication websites. Or, writing may be uploaded as PDF filesRaw InDesign files and word documents cannot be judged. No more than two pieces of writing can be entered into the same category.The categories are below:


  • Opinion: entries might be . . .
    1. Editorials (unsigned writing that expresses a consensus leadership perspective from the staff) For instance, the staff might advocate for the school to adopt a new grading scale.
    2. Columns (signed personal writings that reflect on personal beliefs and/or experiences) For instance, a student might write about his experience of being cut from the basketball team.
    3. Reviews (writing that provides criticism and reflection on a product, service or experience) For instance, a student might explain how a concert was a refreshing retreat from pop music.
  • Features: Writing that primarily focuses on issues, trends, personalities and topics. Feature writing utilizes emotional appeal (human interest) and novelty (unusual news). For instance, a student might research how dating can be complicated by having a twin.
  • Yearbook Copy: Writing that appears in a yearbook but not (1) sports and (2) not within infographics.
  • News: Writing the focuses on timely news that has consequence on the audience. For instance, a student might report a story on how students were suspended and expelled after searches of student lockers by a local police team. Or, a student might write a story detailing the results of the recent student council election.
  • Sports (News Publication or Yearbook): Writing that covers sports, whether in school or out of school. The writing might be — at either extreme — a timely game story or a more broad story about and issue in the sport.

An award-winning photo illustration from Anika Kreegar of Blue Valley High School


Each school may submit up to four photos every month. No more than two photos can be entered into the same category. All images must be jpgs of less than 2 MB in file size. See here for instructions on limiting image file size.


  • Sports: Any photographs of sports, whether in practice, preparation or games. Images might be action or reaction, images from on the field or from the sidelines. (Should not be photo illustrations.)
  • Student Life: Any photographs documenting the days of the people who attend your school, except for academics. These images might come during school-sponsored non-academic activities. Or, they might come from the lives of students when away from school. (Should not be photo illustrations.)
  • Academics: Any photographs from academic activities of your students. Images might come from outside of the classroom however: from field trips, academic competitions, etc. (Should not be photo illustrations.)
  • Photo Illustration: Any image that uses symbols, typography and/or combined images to illustrate a topic in an obviously manipulated way.
  • Portrait: Any image that documents the appearance of a person along with other visual clues or techniques to emphasize the subject’s biography and personality.

On captions: The KSPA judges for sports, student life, academics and portrait photography will look for AP style, photojournalistic captions. Here are some general expectations:

  • Captions need to — at the least — provide basic factual information: 1) What are the names of the people in the photo? 2) What are they doing?, 3) Where are they?, 4) When? The information should communicated in a concise, active sentence written in AP style. This information is communicated in the first sentence.
  • Further sentences might address the “how” and “why” of the situation. Consider gathering quotations from the people in the photo.

An award-winning design by Madeline Paradis of Salina Central High School


Each school may enter up to two designs every month of the contest. No more than two designs can be entered. See here for instructions on submitting the correct file type.


  • News publication design: A page or spread in a newspaper, tabloid or news magazine designed by a student or group of students.
  • Yearbook spread design: A page or spread in a yearbook designed by a student or group of students.
  • Infographic: The combination of words, visuals, photographs, statistics and/or graphics to inform the reader about a topic or point of view.

An award-winning video entry from Lawder DeSantis from Shawnee Mission East High School


Each school may enter up to two multimedia packages/stories every month of the contest. No more than two multimedia entries can be submitted.


  • Video News: Students can submit coverage of a news event, feature story or sports story using video. The video must be posted online, whether through a school website or another hosting service (for example, Youtube or Vimeo).
  • Multimedia Storytelling: Students will cover a story — whether sports, news or feature — with any of the media available to them as a staff. For example students might choose a written story. They might choose visual coverage such as an infographic, video or photographic coverage. Or, the students might use slideshows, social media, interactive infographics or other “alternative coverage” of their choice.