Contests and Critiques
Contest and critiques, as well as Senior Award
winners, will be announced at the ASPA State
Convention in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Feb. 7, 2020.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org 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
by Feb. 9.
To 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 Dec. 13, 2019. If you experience problems (deadline, bookkeeping or otherwise) getting your materials in on time, please email Meredith Cummings at email@example.com.
Please send payments to or mail them to:
Meredith Cummings, Director
Alabama Scholastic Press Association
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172
We are sorry but we cannot accept credit card payments.
Missed the deadline for contests and critiques? Check out the carry-in guidelines and carry-in categories, which may be brought to the State Convention, Feb. 7, 2020. Carry-in and on-site contest registration (which are timed, on-the-spot competitions) are included as part of the State Convention registration process. For more information on any of these please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On-Site Competition Categories:
Yearbook copy and caption writing
Broadcast stand up/package
Literary magazine fiction writing
Literary magazine poetry writing
Literary magazine illustration
Literary magazine layout/design
Carry-in Competition Categories are listed here
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 Jan. 10, 2020.
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 Tuscaloosa, Feb. 7, 2020. (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, Parker Davis, St. Mark’s School of Dallas, Texas (Ray Westbrook, adviser)
Media Teams: ASPA will have a media team and social media team to cover State Convention. Convention fellowships, which cover registration fees, will be provided for students who will form the breaking news team. These teams, working under a faculty mentor and an experienced journalist, will produce content for a website and real-time social media coverage of the two-day convention. Students selected for the teams will have their registration fees waived and be provided lunch. If you would like to be part of the media team or social media team, please apply here and email 3-5 examples of your best work to email@example.com. In the subject line, type Media Team Application or Social Media Team Application.
The deadline is Dec. 13, 2019.
The deadline to apply for the following awards is Jan. 10, 2020:
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. 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.