Contests & Critiques

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Rebecca Griesbach (left) ASPA Journalist of the Year 2016, presents Brady Talbert his 2017 Journalist of the Year Award. Talbert swept the awards by winning not only the Journalist of the Year title, but also Broadcast Journalist of the Year and the J.B. Stephenson scholarship. His adviser is Brooke Dennis of Thompson High School.

2018 Contests and Critiques information

Contest and critiques, as well as Senior Award winners will be announced at the ASPA State Convention on the University of Alabama campus, Feb. 9-10 2018. Awards and critiques for schools not represented at State Convention will be mailed to the school after the event. Email aspa@ua.edu with questions.

ASPA Senior Awards are for Alabama high school seniors who work with scholastic media of any type. Seniors can apply here and compete to be named overall journalist of the year, the state’s top scholastic feature writer, the state’s top broadcast journalist and the state’s top editorial/opinion writer. Seniors can apply for multiple awards with a single portfolio. (Note: We do not accept applications by mail. Instead, please create an online portfolio that includes all necessary application materials and email the link to your portfolio to aspa@ua.edu by Jan. 31, 2018). Winners of the four competitions, in addition to receiving $250, will be considered for a $2,500 college scholarship to major in journalism, as well as Journalist of the Year. Award winners will be announced at the ASPA State Convention in Tuscaloosa, Feb. 9-10, 2018.

The Alabama Journalist of the Year goes on to compete for the JEA/NSPA Journalist of the Year. Please keep the national JEA/NSPA guidelines in mind when creating your portfolio. For more information, check out last year’s national Journalist of the Year, Meghan Bobrowsky, Davis (Calif.) Senior High School (Kelly Wilkerson, adviser).

Media Team: ASPA will have a media team to cover State Convention. Convention fellowships, which cover registration fees, will be provided for students who will form the breaking news team. This team, working under a faculty mentor and a professional journalist, will produce content for a website and real-time social media coverage of the two-day convention. Students selected for the team will have their registration fee waived and be provided lunch. If you would like to be part of the media team, please submit this application with 3-5 examples of your best work to aspa@ua.edu. In the subject line, type Media Team Application. The deadline is Jan. 10, 2018.

The deadline to apply for the following awards is Jan. 31, 2018: 

  • Journalist of the Year
  • Broadcast Journalist of the Year, given by the Alabama Broadcasters Association
  • Rick Bragg Award for Feature Writing, the state’s top scholastic feature writer: This award will be given to the senior who has demonstrated excellence in feature writing throughout his or her high-school career. To enter, a student must include at least three examples of feature writing. Rick Bragg is a professor in UA’s Department of Journalism and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his work at The New York Times. He is a recipient of the Clarence Cason Award, the Department of Journalism’s annual prize for nonfiction.
  • Bailey Thomson Editorial Writer Award, the state’s top editorial/opinion writer: The award will be given to the senior who has demonstrated excellence in editorial or opinion writing. To enter, the student’s portfolio must include at least three examples of editorial or opinion writing. The late Bailey Thomson was a prize-winning editorial writer for the Mobile Press-Register and a professor of journalism at UA. Thomson was a recipient of the Clarence Cason Award.
  • J.B. Stevenson Scholarship: The portfolios of the winners of the Thomson, Bragg and Journalist of the Year awards – in addition to winning $250 each – will be submitted to the Alabama Press Association for consideration for a $2,500 college scholarship. This year, however, the candidates should also include a personal summary sheet and a brief essay on why they should be chosen for the scholarship. The winner must plan to major in journalism. The Alabama Press Association honors the late J.B. Stevenson, the son of John Stevenson, publisher and editor of The Randolph Leader in Roanoke, Alabama. J.B. Stevenson made a lasting impression on the journalism community while in middle school and high school.
  • Susie DeMent Adviser of the Year AwardStudents may nominate their advisers for ASPA’s Susie DeMent Adviser of the Year Award. In addition to this nomination form, write a letter stating why the adviser deserves the award. Advisers may also nominate other advisers. Letters from other students, teachers, administrators and colleagues and a resume may be included.
  • Larry Haynes Administrator of the Year Award: ASPA members may recognize the contributions of their principals or administrators with the Larry Haynes Administrator of the Year Award. In addition to this nomination form, write a letter of nomination along with letters from students, other teachers and administrators, etc. You might want to include the school’s Freedom of Expression Policy and newspaper articles about the nominee.

2018 ASPA Contest and Critiques

Newspaper/newsmagazine critique instructions and entry form (overall and individual)

Yearbook critique instructions and entry form (overall and individual)

Online/multimedia critique instructions and entry form (overall and individual)

Literary magazine critique instructions and entry form (overall and individual)

Broadcast critique instructions and entry form (overall and individual)

The deadline for the ASPA office to receive contest and critique entries for all media is Dec. 16, 2017. If you experience problems (deadline, bookkeeping or otherwise) getting your materials in on time, please email Meredith Cummings at mccummings1@ua.edu.

Please send payments to aspa@ua.edu or mail them to:

Meredith Cummings, Director
Alabama Scholastic Press Association
The University of Alabama
Box 870172
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172

We are sorry but we cannot accept credit card payments.

Check out the carry-in-guidelines and carry-in-categories, which may be brought to the State Convention, Feb. 9-10, 2018. Carry-in and on-site contest registration are included as part of the State Convention registration process.

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