Remember back in 2020 when we held our last in-person State Convention? Onsite competition was fierce. The Journalist of the Year was from Sparkman High School, the Spirit Award was also given to Sparkman High School and we packed ourselves like sardines into what was then named Ferguson Center – now the UA Student Center.


Record scratch. Then, pandemic. (Cue ominous music.)


But this year we are back! Back to the future.


Meeting in person is back. On site competitions are back. Carry-in competitions are back. Waking up early and long bus rides to Tuscaloosa are back.


It’s not the same future we started with but We. Are. Back.

This year's convention we will pull out all the stops. Get excited about what's waiting for us when we go back to the future. Register for convention today!

This year we also encourage all students and staff to dress up as their favorite decade represented in the Back to the Future movies! Dress up to show your spirit for the Spirit Award competition or just for fun! Wow us with those costumes.

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. 11 at The University of Alabama Student Center. Carry-in and onsite 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 Additionally, we will have an optional extra day of Convention on February 12 to workshop particular interests the students may have!

Onsite Competition Categories:


  • 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 Competition Categories are listed here

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 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, applications will be posted here in the near future. The process will include filling out the application and, if you have examples, send 1-3 examples of your best work to In the subject line, type Media Team Application or Social Media Team Application. The deadline is December 17, 2021.

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.

To apply for: Overall Contest and Critique, Individual Awards, Susie DeMent Adviser of the Year and Larry Haynes Administrator of the Year, and the Alex House Journalism Sustainability Award, please fill out the form at each link. The deadline to apply for these awards is January 7, 2022.



• Friday: $30, each student and teacher
• Saturday (intensive, hands-on labs and classes): $25, each student and teacher
• On-site competition: $10 per student (students can only enter one category)
• Carry-in competition: $10 per student (multiple entries are OK)
• ASPA membership (per publication if not already a member): $25
• Late fee after Jan. 31 is $25


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