Welcome to the 2020 Digital KSPA State Contest!

Our board and staff have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and discussing how KSPA can provide support for student journalism while keeping you and your students safe. For the safety and well-being of you and our students, we have decided to cancel our on-site state contest at the University of Kansas. In place, we will provide all of our contests (including the on-site contests) in a revised, digital format. Despite the circumstances, we are excited to offer students the opportunity to compete and show off their work.

What is the contest?

Each year, hundreds of students gain recognition for their journalism through the KSPA Regional Contests. Students who place at Regionals (placing 1st, 2nd, 3rd or honorable mention) qualify for the State Contest in May where they can earn a state championship or other awards.

This year, students can compete in these ways:

IMPORTANT

Student safety is KSPA’s first concern. Please do not put yourself or others in jeopardy of being infected with COVID-19 through your reporting for this contest. The prompts for the contest have been designed to allow contestants to continue with social distancing. Also, they have been designed so that students can complete any of the contests with minimal technology: really, just a cell phone. Please keep yourselves safe and know that judges will not expect students to take risks in their work here. Online reporting and writing is the skill that we are encouraging you to practice here.

How to compete

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DIGITAL SUBMISSION CONTESTS: During February, our digital submission contests awarded students in ten categories. For the State Contest we will advance those same entries to the statewide competition.

So, as an example, if your student submitted a student life photo and earned honorable mention during the Regional Contest, we will advance that same file to the State Contest for judging by a new judge creating new feedback. Because judges do not have access to names and schools during the review process, they won’t know what place each entry received during Regionals. As a result, any advancing entry is eligible to win a state championship in its category.

CATEGORY

PREVIOUS ON-SITE CATEGORIES: Because we cannot compete in person, KSPA will organize a way for students to compete remotely in all of the categories that would normally be in-person. Students will be given a 24-hour window to compete in response to prompts that will be posted online at the beginning of that window.

Students will submit their responses online and our judges will choose the winners. We also hope to design a system that allows for individual feedback for each entry, but we cannot promise that. We will continue to offer the Film Review category this year in the same manner as described above for all other previous on-site categories.

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STATE-ONLY CONTESTS: Didn’t compete in Regionals? Want to enter a different contest for State? We have four contests that are only provided at State: Multimedia Storytelling, Social Media, Film Review and Online Photo Gallery. Our Social Media category is brand new this year and allows your staff to show off how you have continued covering the news in your community during these extraordinary times. All schools may enter two contestants for Online Photo Gallery, one team of up to four contestants in Multimedia Storytelling, one student for Film Review and one team entry for Social media.

Contest A:

Deadlines

  • T-Shirt orders for State due: CANCELLED
  • Release of State-Only digital submission prompts: March 20
  • Contest Registration: April 15 at 11 p.m.
  • Release of prompts for “previously on-site” contests: April 17 at 11 p.m.
  • Upload of STATE-ONLY digital submission contests: April 18 at 11 p.m.
  • Upload of “previously on-site” contests: April 18 at 11 p.m.
  • Judging of all entries: April 22 through April 26
  • Announcement of results: May 2

PREVIOUS ON-SITE CONTESTS

Contest A:

Copyediting

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest B:

Sports Writing

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest C:

Editorial Cartoon

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest D:

YB Copy Writing

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest E:

Feature Writing

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest F:

News Writing

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest G:

Cutline Writing

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest H:

Editorial Writing

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest J:

YB Sport Writing

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest Z:

Film Review

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • 3 pm April 17: contest materials available
  • 11 pm April 18: contest submission due

Who:

  • any student from a KSPA member school

What:

  • students will watch a film, posted online, and write a review
  • the review will be submitted through our online submission system

DIGITAL SUBMISSION CONTESTS

Contest K:

Academic Photo

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest M:

Advertising

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest N:

Headline Writing & Design

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest P:

Infographics

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest Q:

News Page Design

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest R:

Photo Illustration

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest S:

Sports Photo

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest T:

Student Life Photo

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest U:

YB Layout

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest V:

YB Theme & Graphics

To Do:

  • 11 pm April 15: register for contest
  • That’s it! Your submission to the Regional Contest will roll over to the State Contest judging

Who:

  • students who qualified through Regionals

Contest W:

Multimedia Storytelling

To Do:

Who:

  • One team of up to four students from any KSPA member school. No need to have qualified through Regionals

Contest X:

Online Photo Gallery

To Do:

Who:

  • Two individual students from any KSPA member school. No need to have qualified through Regionals

Contest Y:

Social Media

To Do:

Who:

  • One team of up to four students from any KSPA member school. No need to have qualified through Regionals

Common State Contest Questions

Number of awards

This year KSPA will urge judges in all contests 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. However, advisers should be aware that it is possible.

No honorable mentions will be awarded this year.

Payment concerns with school closures

KSPA understands that statewide school closures mean that finances and contest payments will be unpredictable. During these extraordinary times, KSPA is dedicated to encouraging journalists through the State Contest. Schools will receive their awards and feedback even if payment is pending. We simply ask that you request payment when you and your school district are able.

Authentic Captions

Regarding all photography and multimedia contests: when writing captions for the images or completing the multimedia coverage, there is no need to change the name of the school or the people in the photo 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. Also, students and advisers should know that captions are part of the judging criteria.

State-Only Digital Contests

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Three contests — Multimedia Storytelling, Social Media and Online Photo Gallery — are not included in the Regional Contests. For this reason, any student(s) from any KSPA member school may compete in these contests, regardless of whether they placed or even participated in the February round of regional contests. The prompts for these contests can be found below.

Contest W: MULTIMEDIA STORYTELLING: (one team of up to four students per KSPA member school)

Students may enter as an individual or as a team of no more than four students to create a multimedia story package based on the prompt. All entries will be submitted by creating a publicly accessible web page and submitting the URL. Students will produce original work and will use only lawfully acquired copyrighted material. See prompt here.

Contest X: ONLINE PHOTO GALLERY: (up to two entries by two individual students per school)

Each student will submit 5-8 original photos based on the prompt provided below. Each photo should include a complete caption and the entire gallery should be submitted via URL. This contest will challenge photographers to tell the details of the topic with their photos involving people and their environment. This contest is about quality, not quantity. See prompt here.

Contest Y: ONLINE PHOTO GALLERY: (one entry per school)

Students will submit the URLs for up to three different social media accounts that show their staff remaining active as journalists during the Kansas school closures. See prompt here.

 State Contest contact information

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Questions about registration, payment or substitutions?

Please understand that the University of Kansas has closed Stauffer-Flint Hall to faculty and staff as a work location during the COVID-19 outbreak. For this reason, email and phone messages may take longer than normal to return.

  • Kerry Navinskey, KSPA assistant, 1435 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence KS 66045, (785) 864-0605, [email protected]
  • Eric Thomas, KSPA executive director, 1435 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence KS 66045, (785) 864-0605, [email protected]

Contest Divisions & Sweepstakes

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KSPA competitions are divided into three classifications for room assignments and judging:

  • 1A and 2A schools
  • 3A and 4A schools
  • 5A and 6A schools

KSPA awards a Sweepstakes prize for the school earning the most points with their entries at the State Contest. First place earns 6 points. Second place earns 5 points. Third place earns 4 points. Fourth place earns 3 points. Fifth place earns 2 points. And sixth place earns 1 point. A Sweepstakes winner is named for 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A each. The Sweepstakes-winning schools earn trophies that are presented at the KSPA fall conferences in 2020. A certificate in each division will be awarded to the Sweepstakes’ runners-up. Announcement of the schools earning Sweepstakes will be made on the day of the State Contest via Twitter at @kspaonline.

“Previously on-site” contests

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Nine on-site contests — the same as those in the Regional Contest — will be offered, plus one state-only “on-site” contest: Film Review. Prompts will be published at 3 pm on Friday, April 17 and remain available for submission until 11 p.m. Saturday, April 18.

  • Contest A: Copyediting
  • Contest B: Sports Writing
  • Contest C: Editorial Cartoon
  • Contest D: Yearbook Copy
  • Contest E: Feature Writing
  • Contest F: News Writing
  • Contest G: Cutline Writing
  • Contest H: Editorial Writing
  • Contest J: Yearbook Sports Writing
  • Contest Z: Film Review (state only)

Digital Submission Contests

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Twelve digital submission contests will be offered. The following contests will advance Regional award winners to the State Contest. No new design or photography is needed or permitted. We will advance the entries on behalf of the adviser and student. The only action needed is registration, which is due April 15.

  • Contest K: Academics Photography
  • Contest M: Advertising
  • Contest N: Headline Writing & Design
  • Contest P: Infographics
  • Contest Q: News Page Design
  • Contest R: Photo Illustration
  • Contest S: Sports Photography
  • Contest T: Student Life Photography
  • Contest U: Yearbook Layout
  • Contest V: Yearbook Theme & Graphics (can be team of up to two)

The following three digital submission contests are State-Only contests. For that reason, students must create entries and advisers must submit them to the State Contest submission site by April 18 at 11 p.m. Advisers must register for these contests by April 15.

Digital Submission for Contests A, B, D, E, F, G, H & J

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Entries in most of the “previously on-site” categories for the KSPA State Contests are submitted using this form. The form will open at 3 p.m. on April 17 and close at 11 p.m. April 18.

Digital Submission for Contests C, W, X & Y

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Entries to the KSPA State Contests 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. Please remember that Contests K through V do not need to be created or submitted for the State Contest this year. KSPA is advancing award-winning entries to State, provided that registration is completed.

Judging Rubrics

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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.

Entries

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Entries in Contests “A” through “V” must have qualified for State through the Regional Contest with an award of 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place or Honorable Mention in the Regional Contests. The State-Only contests W, X, Y and Z are open to all students at KSPA member schools, regardless of awards or participation in Regionals.

A particular student may only participate in five contest categories.

Fees & Costs

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The fee for each entry is $12.

KSPA understands that statewide school closures mean that finances and contest payments will be unpredictable. During these extraordinary times, KSPA is dedicated to encouraging journalists through the State Contest. Schools will receive their awards and feedback even if payment is pending. We simply ask that you request payment when you and your school district are able.

  • 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.

T-shirts sales postposed

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T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST VOTING

  • Due to school closures, the t-shirt contest and sale is cancelled for this year’s contest.

On-site Contest Rules & Tips

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  • Cutline Writing: Students will write cutlines for five photos provided at the contest site. Students may write in pen or pencil. Paper will be provided at the contest site. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest.
  • 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 write in pen or pencil. Paper will be provided. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest.
  • Editorial Cartoon Contest: Students will design a cartoon relevant to the topic provided on the fact sheet. The final entry should be submitted in black ink. Do not place your signature anywhere on the entry. Paper will be provided. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest. This year: Students will create their cartoon, capture a digital photo of their cartoon and submit it to our BNC submission site.
  • 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. Personal listening devices, recording devices and personal computers are prohibited during the contest.

Past Regional & State Prompts

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Want a preview of what the state 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

KSPA sincerely appreciates your support of the organization and our activities, especially given these circumstances. Please stay in touch and let us know how we can make the contest even better in the future. Thank you for helping us reprogram the contest in these uncertain times.

Sincerely,

Thomas Sig

 

 

 

 

Eric Thomas, KSPA Executive Director