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New weather policy has best interests of student journalists in mind

By Jill Chittum, KSPA President

After years of kicking around the idea, and multiple meetings where member concerns dealing with the regional contest weather policy were addressed, the KSPA executive board passed a new inclement weather policy following its December meeting in Wichita.

The goal of the new policy (which you can find on the regional contest page of this site) is to make it possible for students to compete in regionals even if inclement weather forces cancellation of school or travel plans. While many schools may see this as great news (namely those who have been forced to sit out of regional and state contests because of this very issue), some of you will look at the policy and see the “bad news” in the fact that the policy will necessitate delayed judging of all regionals entries.

For years, we’ve all been fortunate enough (generally, at most contest sites) to have results in hand by late afternoon on the date of contest. In the past, the speed of results is what kept schools out of competition if they could not travel. There simply wasn’t the time or technology to easily get entries to the contest site to be judged all at once.

Taking into account the concerns of our membership, the board decided that trying a new policy that would allow all students to compete, even if we had to wait a little while for results would be worth it for the general membership.

The biggest question that we bounced around throughout the process is whether or not judging would be delayed even if there was no bad weather. Unfortunately, this is the case. It’s just not feasible or fair to ask the contest site coordinators to try to schedule judges for two different days, on a weather-contingent basis. Other than when the judging occurs, there will not be any other changes to the judging process. Board members felt it was important to continue our system of teams of judges looking at each entry and declaring winners and placers. We are committed to that.

Please take a few minutes to look over the new policy, and let the board know if you have questions or comments. We are here for you, and my goal, as president of the organization, is that we work for you.

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