Kansas Scholastic Press Association

Monthly Contests

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). To purchase contest entries — whether in bulk or individually — visit here.



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 files. Raw 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.


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. Categories include:

  • 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.


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. Categories include:

  • 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.


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

  • 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.


Judges from the University of Kansas School of Journalism, current out-of-state advisers and retired advisers will pick first, second and third place in each category for every contest month.


Our contest platform allows judges to choose from a menu of pre-written comments. What are these comments? Can you use them in your classroom too for grading? You bet! Click here. 


To see the deadlines, view the KSPA calendar.


  • Every entry must have been produced, written or designed since the deadline for the previous monthly contest and intended for publication in a school publication.
  • Limit 12 entries per school per month: maximum of two in Multimedia of the Month, two in Design of the Month, four in Story of the Month, and four in Photo of the Month.
  • Fee is $5 per entry.
  • Schools may pre-pay for two entries each month for the year at $70 each for Design and Multimedia, or four entries each month for the year at $140 each for Story and Photo.
  • You may combine pre-payment for all four monthly contests (Multimedia and Design of the Month at $70, Story and Photo of the Month at $140 each) for a total of $420.
  • Only electronic submissions will be accepted.
  • Links to the online entry forms will be disseminated by the KSPA at the beginning of each month (starting in September) and must be completed by the contest deadline.



Providing support and leadership in scholastic journalism
Monthly Contests