About State Convention 2021

Cancel State Convention for a pandemic? Not on our watch!


We will break boundaries this year with a virtual convention. The University of Alabama’s Department of Journalism & Creative Media will host ASPA’s annual state high school journalism convention virtually Feb. 12. (For an idea of what to expect, see last year's program here.) Join hundreds of other middle and high school students from around the state to learn more about journalism and creative media in all of its forms. The deadline to register is Friday Feb. 3.

Our convention will offer advanced and basic skills tracks for media students in literary magazine, newspaper, yearbook, broadcast, podcast, creative media and multimedia sessions. 

Register for the 2021 state convention here!


If your administrator is on the fence about ASPA field trips, check out our guide for administrators, parents and teachers: Why Conventions Matter (will download automatically). As always, email ASPA if you have any questions.

With careful thought and planning by the ASPA Board Officers, we will forge ahead with our 2021 convention, virtually. This year’s convention will be different. We know it’s not ideal because we all love to be together. But we are working overtime to bring you the best convention experience ever! The theme, Breaking Boundaries, refers not only to this virtual time in which we live, but also reflects breaking boundaries in high school media programs around the state, which have become more converged than ever.


Will it be fun? Yes! Will you learn stuff? Yes!


To make sure you do, we will offer double the sessions than we had during the State Convention last year. Let us repeat that:


Double the sessions!


This will also be the first year there is not individual pricing because we want schools to see what they are missing! We offer scaled pricing, per school this year. A virtual convention also allows us the unique opportunity to offer the experience to new students and schools who may not usually be able to join us due to travel and financial constraints. 


So many silver linings!


We will also offer our usual carry-in and onsite competitions, now called Timed Competitions (since we will have no physical site). Timed competition materials will be emailed to each participant Thursday Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. Entries will be due Thursday Feb. 11 by 3 p.m., the day before convention. This will allow our small ASPA staff to run the convention Friday, and also make sure judging is done in time for the Friday awards ceremonies.


We’ve got spirit, yes we do!

Will there still be a Spirit Award? YES! 🎉 🎉🎉 


Don't miss it!

State Convention Pricing

Because our convention is virtual this year, our pricing is a little different than usual. Below are the prices for the 20201 ASPA State Convention:

Staff/Class size and price:

ASPA membership (must be paid to register for the convention): $25 per publication or media staff.


  • 1-9 students $50

  • 10-14 students $100

  • 15-19 students $150

  • 20-24 students $200

  • 25-29 students $250

  • 30-39 students $300

  • 40-49 students $400

  • 50-59 students $500

  • 60+ students $600

  • Individual student not affiliated with a participating school: $10

  • Teacher without a journalism/media class or club: $50

  • Timed competition (formerly on-site competitions): $10 per student (students can only enter one category)

Timed Competition categories (formerly on-site competitions):

Because we are virtual this year, timed competition materials will be emailed to each participant Thursday Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. Entries will be due Thursday Feb. 11 by 3 p.m. The ASPA Board wanted to give schools ample time to juggle student needs, social distancing and equipment challenges. This year – for the first time – students will be able to enter multiple timed competitions if they so choose.

  • Sports writing

  • Yearbook copy and caption writing

  • News writing

  • Feature writing

  • Editorial writing

  • Editorial cartooning

  • Broadcast stand up/package

  • Newscast (anchor)

  • Sportscast (anchor)

  • Yearbook layout

  • Newspaper layout

  • Photography

  • Literary magazine fiction writing

  • Literary magazine poetry writing

  • Literary magazine illustration

  • Literary magazine layout/design

Carry-in Categories:


Carry-in Competition participants: Entries are $10 each. Entries must follow the guidelines listed here.


Since overall and individual critiques category entries are due in December, we want to give you a chance to enter more recent items you have created (or items you forgot to enter) for competition. See carry-in categories below.


When you register for State Convention you will let us know how many carry-in entries you will have in each category. This helps us make sure we have enough judges. Carry-in winners will be announced (virtually) at State Convention the night of Feb. 12. The categories are:


  • Editorial cartoon

  • Illustration

  • Public Service Announcement

  • Broadcast anchor

  • Broadcast human interest/feature story

  • Broadcast news story

  • Broadcast sports story

  • Videography

  • Editing

  • Directing

  • Literary magazine cover

  • Newspaper front page

  • Newspaper center spread

  • Newspaper entertainment page

  • Newspaper feature page

  • Newspaper sports page

  • Newspaper op-ed page

  • Newspaper headline writing

  • Photography portfolio No more than 7 photos, please

  • Yearbook academic spread

  • Yearbook club spread

  • Yearbook people spread

  • Yearbook sports spread

  • Yearbook student life spread

Each person who registers will receive an email with a link to access State Convention.
9 a.m.: Convention kicks off and sessions begin. Sessions are 30 minutes each (a few are an hour each).
Noon: Senior awards, mail-in awards and new ASPA officers are announced.
1 p.m.: Sessions resume
4 p.m.: Administrator of the Year, Teacher of the Year, carry-in and timed competition awards announced.