Contests and Critiques

Overall and Individual Contest and Critiques, as

well as Senior Award winners, will be announced

at the virtual ASPA State Convention

February 12. Email with questions.


Note: You can still submit nominations for

awards and have your publications critiqued 

if you do not plan to attend State Convention. 

Awards and critiques for schools not represented

at State Convention will be mailed to the school

after the event and awards will be posted online.

To send in your contest materials, see a complete

list of categories and access these award forms, click here or visit the "Forms" tab. 


The deadline for the ASPA office to receive contest and critique entries for all media is December 18. If you experience problems (deadline, bookkeeping or otherwise) getting your materials in on time, please email Meredith Cummings at

Please send payments to or mail them to:
Meredith Cummings, Director
Alabama Scholastic Press Association
Box 870172
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172

We are sorry but we cannot accept credit card payments.

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 Alabama 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 by January 8, 2021.

Winners of the four competitions, in addition to receiving $250 for each competition won, will
be considered for a $2,500 college scholarship to major in journalism from the Alabama Press Foundation, as well as Alabama Journalist of the Year to compete at the national level. Award winners will be announced at the ASPA State Convention in February. (More details below.)

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, Emily Hood of Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri.

The deadline to apply for the following awards is January 8, 2021: 

  • 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 Creative Media 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 for each award won – will
    be submitted to the Alabama Press Association for consideration for a $2,500 college 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.

  • Alex House Journalism Sustainability Award: The Sustainability Award goes to an individual, staff or school who have gone above and beyond to preserve journalism in a democratic society. This awards a student or staff who has recognized the importance and advocated for the presence of their journalism program and the students’ rights for a free press. Students can be nominated by others, or nominate themselves. The last two winners have started or saved journalism at their school, although that is not the only type of winner acceptable. Judges keep an open mind for this award. 

  • Susie DeMent Adviser of the Year Award: Students may nominate their advisers for ASPA’s Susie DeMent Adviser of the Year Award. Advisers may also nominate other advisers. Letters from other students, teachers, administrators and colleagues and a resume may be included in the application. 

  • 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. You might want to include the school’s Freedom of Expression Policy and newspaper articles about the nominee. Letters from other students, teachers, administrators and colleagues and a resume may be included in the application. 

Alabama Journalist of the Year 2016 winner Rebecca Griesbach awards Brady Talbert the 2017 Alabama Journalist of the Year Award.

© 2020 by ASPA  |  Proudly created with