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- 2014 High School Communications Contest -

Your Contest Requirements and Categories

Back to Communications Contest | IWPA Printable PDF- 2014 High School Contest Easy Steps

February 22, 2014

General Requirements for Entries

  • Entries must be the work of students enrolled in grades 9-12 during the current school year or the last semester of the senior year for students’ work published after the current deadline.
  • Students may submit only one entry per category (except for the Columns category, which requires two (2) samples of work per entry); students are welcome to enter as many categories as they wish. Students should decide which category best fits their work, as each piece may only be entered in one category.
  • Entries published in a high school or community newspaper, printed and/or electronic (online) are eligible. Entries published in a yearbook are eligible for submission in the Yearbook category.

CONTEST CATEGORIES AND CRITERIA CONSIDERED BY JUDGES

1.  Editorial – An editorial appears on the editorial page of the paper and is the voice of the paper. It is not a bylined personal column, but may be signed on behalf of an editorial board. Judges will consider clarity of point, relevance of subject matter to its audience, and soundness and persuasiveness of argument.

2.  Opinion – An opinion article is always bylined. It is the voice of a single writer, not to be confused with an editorial. It can focus on items of a personal nature, social issues or the happenings of the world. It can be insightful and/or critical, but not libelous. Judges will evaluate clarity of style, sound reasoning, and the effort to influence a reader’s opinion in what the writer believes is the right direction.

3.  News Story – The writer should show initiative in obtaining a story that presents new information or that provides a different angle on published information or past events. Judges will consider general organization, clarity of lead, writing style, readability and impact.

4.  Feature Story – The material may be a personality profile or a human interest piece. The story should focus on an in-depth topic of interest to readers. Judges will consider interest and unusual aspects of the feature material itself and/or the handling of it, writing style, richness of detail, use of quotes, readability and thoroughness of coverage.

5.  Sports Story – The story should demonstrate imagination and good application of sports-writing style in advance, follow-up, summary or feature coverage of sports events or sports participants. Avoid play-by-play rehash. Judges will consider same criteria as for news or feature stories, as well as author’s ability to write knowledgeably on subject.

6.  Columns – Each entry must consist of two (2) columns. (They do not have to have been published consecutively.) The columns should entertain and/or educate, and the writer may use in-depth knowledge, research, study or expertise. They can be analytical scrutiny, satire or personal comment on general or special subjects. Judges will consider interest, organization and ideas, as well as clarity, readability, style, and author’s ability to write knowledgeably on the subject.

7.  Feature Photo – The photo must spark an emotional response in the viewer, and have eye-catching ssubject matter and storytelling qualities. No posed shots. Original prints are not required. Images must not be digitally enhanced or retouched; cropping, toning, contrast and red-eye removal are the only electronic adjustments that are allowed. Judging will be based on the photo’s quality as published.

8.  Sports Photo – The photo should be easy to “read” and cropped for impact. It should show the peak of the action, or capture an exciting moment or a storytelling facial expression. No posed shots. Images must not be digitally enhanced or retouched; cropping, toning, contrast and red-eye removal are the only electronic adjustments that are allowed. Judging will be based on the quality of the photo as published.

9.  Cartooning – Copy may be freehand or generated by computer graphics and may be a comic strip or cartoon. Subject matter is unrestricted: any political, economic, human relations or social issue, as well as other topics, may be covered. Judges will consider the text or caption and the use of concept and artistic style.

10.  Review – The entry – on any subject – should be of interest to the publication’s readers. In addition to the writer’s opinion, the article should include some critical analysis and show the writer’s knowledge of the subject. Judges will consider interest of subject matter, creativity, and richness of style.

11.  Graphics/Photo Illustration – The entry may be created freehand or electronically. Judges will consider creativity, uniqueness, clarity of relationship to an article or publication, and how the graphic contributes to the visual enhancement of the subject matter. Note: Unsigned work requires adviser’s verification.

12.  Single-Page Layout – The entry may be from a desktop publishing project or from traditional printing production methods. (A double-truck is not a single page.) Judges will consider creative and effective use of graphic elements, typography, photos, illustrations and color in drawing reader interest and supporting the content of the article(s). Note: Unsigned work requires adviser’s verification.

13. Double-Truck Layout – The entry is a two-page layout (centerfold) incorporating an odd number of pictures made up as a single unit, with the usual margin between the two facing pages eliminated. Judges will consider creative and effective use of graphic elements, typography, photos, illustrations and color in drawing reader interest and supporting the content of the article(s). Note: Unsigned work requires adviser’s verification.
14. Environment – Judges will consider how the article, layout, graphic or photograph “educates the public about environmental issues or concerns.” This award is given in conjunction with the San Francisco Press Club Environment Award Fund.

15. Video Web News Story – The entry, produced for airing on television or via the Web, can be submitted either in DVD format or as an electronic link to a file. If the DVD format is chosen, the DVD must be playable on a consumer DVD player or PC, and the entry should indicate the file format and the Mac or PC program in which the file was created. Judges will consider how well the student has used video and narration/reporting to obtain a news story that presents new information or a new angle, the quality of picture and sound, and overall editing.

16. Video Feature Story – The entry, produced for airing on television or via the Web, can be submitted either in DVD format or as an electronic link to a file. If the DVD format is chosen, the DVD must be playable on a consumer DVD player or PC, and the entry should indicate the file format and the Mac or PC program in which the file was created. Judges will consider how well the student has used video and narration/reporting to give an in-depth or unusual look at a topic or person of interest, the quality of picture and sound, and overall editing.

17. Video Sports Story – The entry, produced for airing on television or via the Web, can be submitted either in DVD format or as an electronic link to a file. If the DVD format is chosen, the DVD must be playable on a consumer DVD player or PC, and the entry should indicate the file format and the Mac or PC program in which the file was created. Judges will consider how well the student has used video and narration/reporting to cover a sports event or participant, the quality of picture and sound, and overall editing.

18. Yearbook Layout – The entry may be a single-page or double-truck layout. Judges will consider creative and effective use of graphic elements, typography, photos, illustrations and color, with a focus on how they attract reader interest or illustrate article content. In the case of a double-truck layout, judging also will consider how the elements of two facing pages work together.

19. Yearbook Photo – The entry may be a single photo or a multiple-photo spread from any section of the yearbook. Judges will consider the quality of the photo(s), with emphasis on the activity portrayed, the news value, and the composition and cropping. Entry may not be a posed photograph or photographs. Original prints are not required. Images must not be digitally enhanced or retouched; cropping, toning, contrast and redeye removal are the only electronic adjustments that are allowed.

20. Yearbook Copywriting – The entry will consist of text from a section of the yearbook. Photo captions are not permitted. Judges will consider creativity, effectiveness, impact and clarity

Printable PDF -  2014 High School Contest Guidelines

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The Illinois Woman's Press Association, IWPA (since 1885) is an organization of communications professionals whose objective is to maintain and improve the professional standards of members in mass communications in Illinois, to promote their interest, and to provide for the sharing of ideas and information. Having celebrated 125 years in 2010, IWPA continues to hold a firm place in the history of women communicators in Illinois. Today, IWPA embraces members of all gender and generations. IWPA is an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women.

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