Sixteen categories allow students to work on creating photographs, videos, multimedia, illustrations and designs. Using a prompts provided below by KSPA, 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.



The KSPA board voted to move all State Contest categories to online competition for 2022. Because the 2022 Regional Contest was online, 2022 State was forced online as well. One reason: if students qualified for State in more than two writing contests, they could not be able to compete in that many contests at an in-person State Contest. We are excited to offer all students the chance to compete online, just like Regionals. 


Each of our contest divisions — Visual and Writing — have their own submission platforms.

THE VISUAL DIVISION will use BNC (Better Newspaper Contests) for contest submission. When that system is open for submission, we will email all participating schools with login details. This is the same contest software that we have used for years at KSPA for Regionals and State digital submissions.

THE WRITING DIVISION will be hosted using Google Classroom. Just like the 2022 Regional Contest, students will find the materials for their prompts on Google Classrooms and submit them on the same platform.


The Regional Contest allowed for “Wild Card” entries again this year. All “Wild Card” entries that placed at Regionals have advanced to State. However, for the State Contest, there will be no additional “Wild Card” entries. All entries for the State Contest must have qualified through the Regional Contest.


The KSPA State Celebration returns as an in-person event at the University of Kansas on May 7. Our keynote speaker? National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson! His presentation of photographs and personal stories will kick off a day of celebration, recognition and learning at the Kansas Union. We hope you will join us!

How will we learn together?

Sessions for students and teachers, plus showcases of the winners from the contest, so students can learn from the best work of fellow students.

For You As Advisers? 

We are hosting a luncheon at the Union to honor all of the great work that you have done. Plus, we want you to have time to reconnect with fellow teachers.


Because of the online format for Regionals, we were locked into digital submission for State too. The KSPA board will re-evaluate for next year.


Please note that the number of days between the writing prompts opening and the writing entry deadline. We are providing one extra day because Easter Sunday is the first day that prompts are available. 

  • March 11: Release of State Contest Visual Category prompts
  • March 11: State Contest registration opens
  • April 14: State Contest registration deadline
  • April 14: Deadline for State T-shirt orders
  • April 17: Writing prompts open
  • April 20: Writing entries due
  • April 25: All State VISUAL entries due
  • May 6: Board Meeting at the University of Kansas
  • May 7: In-person State Event, including adviser brunch at the University of Kansas


Contest W1


Contest W2

Sports Writing

Contest W3

Yearbook Copy Writing

Contest W4

Feature Writing

Contest W5

News Writing

Contest W6

Cutline Writing

Contest W7

Editorial Writing

Contest W8

Yearbook Sports Writing

Contest W9

Review Writing


Contest V01

Academic Photography

Contest V02

Advertising Design

Contest V03

Digital Illustration

Contest V04

Editorial Cartoon

Contest V05

Headline Writing & Design

Contest V06

Infographic Design

Contest V07

Multimedia Storytelling

Contest V08

News Page Design

Contest V09

Social Media

Contest V10

Sports Photography

Contest V11

Student Life Photography

Contest V12

Video News

Contest V13

Video PSA

Contest V14

Video Sports Promo

Contest V15

Yearbook Design

Contest V16

Yearbook Theme & Graphics


Number of awards

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 all six places:

  • a small number of entries in a specific category and division
  • 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 that it is possible and that we will follow up with judges to request they submit six award winners unless one of bullet points above applies to the category they are judging.

Authentic Coverage

Regarding all photography, video and multimedia contests: you are permitted to mention the name of your school in your coverage. For instance, when writing captions for images or completing the multimedia coverage, there is no need to change the name of the school or people to make the entry anonymous. Jerseys, t-shirts and signs in footage and photos often make it obvious to the judge what school is entering the contest. Students: please write the coverage and captions as you would for your publication. Also, students and advisers should know that captions are part of the judging criteria.

Regional Contest contact information

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Questions about registration, payment or substitutions?

Please continue mailing any checks to our mailing address below:

  • 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].

Getting organized

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Please refer to the 2022 Regional Contest Results to find students who qualified for the State Contest. Only entries that qualified through Regionals can participate in the State Contest.

Writing Categories

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Nine Writing Categories will be offered. Prompts will be published at 6 a.m. on April 17 and remain available for submission until 11 p.m. Wednesday, April 20. (We are allowing one additional day for submission because the first day is Easter Sunday.) All writing categories materials and submissions will happen through Google Classrooms. All contestants must have qualified through Regionals: no substitutions.

  • 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

Visual Categories

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Sixteen Visual Categories will be offered. The prompts for all Visual Categories were published March 11. All entries are due — through submission to the BNC contest system — by 11 p.m. April 25. All contestants must have qualified through Regionals: no substitutions.

  • Category V01: Academics Photography
  • Category V02: Advertising Design
  • Category V03: Digital 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 (can be a team of up to four, or an entire staff)
  • Category V10: Sports Photography
  • Category V11: Student Life Photography
  • Category V12: Video News (can be a team of up to four)
  • Category V13: Video PSA (can be a team of up to four)
  • Category V14: Video Sports Promo (can be a team of up to four)
  • Category V15: Yearbook Design (previously, “Yearbook Layout”)
  • Category V16: 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 Rubrics

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For the Writing categories, the rubrics will be visible through each category’s Google Classroom. Or, you can reference the links to the 2022 Regional Contest Google Classrooms on this page.

For the Visual categories, you can reference our pre-written judging comments. These comments are used by judges to provide feedback to students on their entries through the BNC submission website. You can use the tabs at the bottom of the document to choose the Visual category that you would like to learn about.

Entry limit

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A particular student may only participate in five total categories, whether individually or as a team.

Fees & Costs

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The fee for each entry is $12.

Awards (including certificates, medals and trophies) will be withheld until payment is received.

  • 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.

Writing Categories: Rules & Tips

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  • Cutline Writing: Students will write cutlines for five photos provided. Students may use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks.
  • 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.
  • Other 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 use dictionary, thesaurus and AP Stylebooks.

Past Regional & State Prompts

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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 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” 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.


Good luck to all of the student contestants and thanks to all of the teachers for helping organize the competition details for their students!


Thomas Sig





Eric Thomas

KSPA Executive Director