Illinois JEA

Core Categories


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DESCRIPTIONS OF CORE CATEGORIES
(OPEN TO ENTRIES FROM ALL MEDIA, PRINT AND DIGITAL)


NEWS

Best News Story
An article that provides timely information about an event, action, issue or subject of importance to the school community.
The story relies on authoritative sources and is written in a serious, objective manner. The article may focus on the past (a wrap-up or follow-up story), present (breaking news) or future (a preview or advance story). No matter which angle it takes, the article answers the five Ws and H (who, what, when, where, why, how) clearly and concisely.

Best In-Depth News Story
A news story that goes beyond surface facts to provide context and background about a subject of importance to the school community.
This should be longer and more heavily researched than a standard news article. The emphasis is on understanding “why” and “how.” Note: Some in-depth articles are a hybrid of news and features. Such articles may be entered in this category or in a Features category, but not in both.

PLEASE NOTE: The same article may not be entered in both the Best News Story and Best In-Depth News Story categories. Nor may the same article be entered in both a News category and a Features category, even though some stories combine elements of both news and features.

 

FEATURES

Best Feature Story
A thoroughly reported article meant to entertain or move as well as to inform.
The emphasis is on human interest. Generally less time sensitive than news, the subject matter may be serious or light so long as the writer uses well-observed details, evocative quotes and a distinctive style to bring the material to life. A first-person article that conveys a writer’s experience is acceptable.

Best Personality Profile
A feature story that focuses on an individual.
The emphasis is on capturing a person’s unique traits and qualities through anecdotes, details and quotes. The article should also include comments from those who know the profile subject.

PLEASE NOTE: The same article may not be entered in both the Best Feature Story and Best Personality Profile categories. Nor may the same article be entered in both a Features category and a News category, even though some stories combine elements of both features and news.

 

SPORTS

Best Sports News Story
An article that provides information in a timely manner about the performance of a school-sponsored team, athlete or coach.
The article may focus on a single game or match, a series of games or matches, or an entire season (preview or wrap-up). A story that covers a newsworthy sports-related development off the field of play, such as the hiring or departure of a coach, is also acceptable.

Best Sports Feature Story
An article that takes a human-interest angle on a team, athlete or coach.
The story does not have to concern a school-sponsored team or sport. For example, a feature story about a student who plays for an independent traveling team or who participates in a sport not offered at the school would be acceptable. The subject matter may be serious or light so long as the writer uses well-observed details, evocative quotes and a distinctive style to bring the material to life. A first-person article that conveys a writer’s own sports experience is acceptable.

Best Sports Commentary
A statement of opinion that expresses the writer’s viewpoint on a sports-related topic.
The subject matter does not have to concern high school sports, but the topic should be of more than private interest. The tone may be serious or humorous.

PLEASE NOTE: The same article may not be entered in both a Sports category and a News, Features or Opinion category.

 

OPINION

Best Staff Editorial
An unsigned statement of opinion that represents a publication’s stance on an issue of importance to the school community.
The opinion must be logically argued and supported by attributed facts. The article should not contain a byline, and it must be clearly labeled as a staff editorial.

Best Serious Commentary
A statement of opinion that expresses the writer’s viewpoint on a topic other than sports.
The subject matter does not have to concern the writer’s school, but the writer should make clear why the topic is relevant to the publication’s audience. The opinion should be logically argued and supported by attributed facts. Tone and voice should be thoughtful but not overbearing.

Best Humorous Commentary
A lighthearted and playful statement of opinion that expresses the writer’s viewpoint on a topic other than sports.
The subject matter does not have to concern the writer’s school, but the topic should be of more than private interest. The writer has wide latitude for comic inventiveness.

Best Review
A statement of opinion that expresses the writer’s evaluation of any performance, creative work, service or product offered for public consumption.
This includes but is not limited to concerts, plays, movies, television shows, musical recordings, video games and restaurants. Any kind of consumer product or business open to the public may be the subject of a review. The tone may be serious or humorous, but the review must provide specific examples and reasons to justify the writer’s conclusions.

 

PHOTOS

Best News or Feature Photo
A photo that captures a newsworthy event or a subject of human interest other than sports.
The photo may be serious or playful so long as it is unposed. It may stand alone or be part of a story. A cutline must accompany the photo.

Best Sports Photo
A photo that captures any aspect of a sporting event.
This includes photos of practices and workouts that lead up to the event. A photo that captures crowd or sideline reactions is also eligible. The sport need not be school sponsored. The photo may stand alone or be part of a story. A cutline must accompany the photo.

PLEASE NOTE: The same photo may not be entered in both the Best Sports Photo and Best News or Feature Photo categories.

 

ART & GRAPHICS

Best Editorial Cartoon
A cartoon that appears on the publication’s editorial page.
The tone may be serious or light. The cartoon may reinforce the point made in the staff editorial, or it may stand alone and express an opinion concerning a different topic. Regardless of its relation to the editorial, the cartoon must articulate a viewpoint about a subject of relevance to the publication’s audience.

Best Illustration
A piece of artwork or a photo illustration that accompanies an article other than a staff editorial.
The illustration should serve as the article’s dominant visual element. The artwork may be hand drawn, computer generated or computer enhanced. A photo qualifies as an illustration if it has been altered beyond basic Photoshop adjustments.

Best Infographic
Information presented visually in the form of a computer-generated or computer-enhanced chart, table, diagram, map, timeline or other graphic device.
The infographic should accompany a story rather than stand alone. An infographic that tells a story on its own and does not accompany an article should be entered in the “Best Alternative Storytelling” category.

PLEASE NOTE: The same infographic may not be entered in both the Best Infographic and Best Alternative Storytelling categories.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

Best Alternative Storytelling
A story told in a way that differs from a traditional article.
The subject matter may be news, features or sports. Examples of alternative storytelling formats include stand-alone Q&As, lists, quizzes, “roving reporter” polls, large-scale opinion surveys, bio boxes, and infographics such as timelines, charts or maps. They also include “social stories” in which social media posts are aggregated into a cohesive narrative by using a tool such as Storify. Whatever the format, the alternative item should tell a story on its own without depending on another article to provide essential context.

Best Use of Social Media
A publication’s use of social media (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat) to cover school life and engage with the school community.
To enter this category, a publication must submit the URL or username of a social media platform that the publication’s staff uses during the school year. (A single entry would consist of one URL or username.) Emphasis is on how well the publication employs the platform to cover events in real time, post updates, share content, interact with the school community and promote the parent publication. Because a publication does not need a full-scale website to have a social media presence, both print and digital publications are eligible for this category. Note: If a publication has two accounts for the same platform (for example, a general Twitter account and a sports-only Twitter account), each account would be considered a separate entry.

Best Headline
A headline that draws in the reader through clever wordplay, vigorous use of language and memorable imagery.
The headline does not have to conform to a specific format. For example, it may consist of a single line or a combination of a main headline and a deck headline — to mention just a few options. Whatever its format, the headline must accurately convey the substance of the accompanying story.

Best Advertisement
A single advertisement created by students.
The advertiser may supply a professionally designed logo, but students should produce all other elements of the ad, including photos, illustrations, copy and layout.

Official site of the Illinois Journalism Education Association, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
Core Categories