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

Illinois JEA

How This Contest Is Organized

 

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Thank you for your interest in IJEA’s Newspaper and Digital News Media Contest. The following information provides an overview of this year’s competition, including a look at the changes we’ve made in the submission process. Please note that this is a not a yearbook competition. For yearbook staffs, we hold a separate contest each November.


ELIGIBILITY WINDOW

To be eligible for this year’s contest, your students’ work must have been published between March 17, 2016, and March 17, 2017. The eligibility window includes work published on March 17 of either year.


DEADLINE
All submissions must be received via our online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (NOTE: This is an extended deadline.) No hard-copy submissions will be accepted.


NUMBER OF ENTRIES

Your publication may submit two entries per category, with the exception of the Best Website category, which calls for only one entry per online publication. Entries are explained in greater detail below in the section titled “ENTRIES AND ENTRY LIMITS.”


FEES

The amount you will owe depends on your IJEA membership status and whether your students competed in our 2016 Yearbook Contest, which was held in November. WE DO NOT CHARGE A FEE PER ENTRY, ONLY A ONE-TIME CONTEST FEE. This fee is WAIVED if your students did not compete in the 2016 Yearbook Contest. In summary:

  • You will owe nothing if you are already an IJEA member and your students did not compete in our 2016 Yearbook Contest. (We define “your students” as any students you are responsible for advising.) You will continue to owe nothing no matter how many entries your publication submits in this competition,
  • You will owe $10 if you are already an IJEA member but your students did compete in the 2016 Yearbook Contest. You will not owe anything beyond $10 no matter how many entries your publication submits in this competition.
  • You will owe $25 if you are not yet an IJEA member. This $25 is our membership fee, which will also cover your fee for this contest. You will not owe anything beyond $25, no matter how many entries your publication submits. The membership requirement is explained in greater detail below in the section titled “IJEA MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENT FOR ADVISERS.”


KEY FEATURES OF OUR CONTEST

1. Our contest submission process is entirely online.
You and your students do not have to mail in hard copies of your submissions. We made this change in 2016 to reduce the amount of time and work involved in preparing individual entries. No more cutting and pasting!

2. Print items will be submitted as PDFs and digital items as URLs.
This will allow us to create high-quality online galleries of award-winning entries, which in turn will enhance the educational value of our contest. You and your students will be able to gain inspiration and ideas from the best work of other IJEA publications.

3. The number of contest categories reflects the variety of journalism in the digital age.
Our contest features 30 categories in which your students may compete, a major increase from earlier years when we focused almost exclusively on print journalism. We made the change so we could recognize, reward and further encourage the greater variety of student journalism being produced in the age of digital media.

4. Contest categories are organized into three groups: “Core,” “Print” and “Digital.”
Core categories are open to entries from all media, both print and digital. Print categories are open to entries from print-only publications and print versions of hybrid publications (i.e., publications that appear in both print and online formats). Digital categories are open to entries from online-only publications and online versions of hybrid publications. These groupings allow different types of publications to zero in on the categories they are best suited to enter.

5. “Best Publication” honors have expanded.
Traditionally we awarded “Best Overall Newspaper” certificates to the top three point-scoring publications in each enrollment division. We have continued to do that under the revised title of “Best Overall Publication.” But we also recognize the top publications according to media format: Best Print Publication certificates for the top three print-only publications in each division; Best Digital Publication certificates for the top three online-only publications in each division; and Best Hybrid Publication certificates for the top three print/online hybrids in each division. These awards ensure that representatives of each type of publication will receive recognition for doing well in our contest.

 

CONTEST SUBMISSION PROCESS AT A GLANCE

To compete in the 2017 IJEA Newspaper and Digital News Media Contest, follow these two steps:

  • Step One: Complete an Adviser Information Form (available here). Submit this form only once, regardless of how many categories your students compete in.
  • Step Two: Use our online entry forms (available on this page) to submit your students’ work. Submit print items as PDFs and digital items as URLs.


IJEA MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENT FOR ADVISERS

You must be an IJEA member for your students’ work to be eligible for this contest. Membership becomes effective only when we receive payment of your membership fee. Simply filling out and submitting a membership form does not make you a member. If you are not a member at the time you submit your students’ entries, you will have a grace period in which to join. We must receive your membership form and your $25 membership fee by March 28, 2017, for your students to be eligible. To join IJEA, complete and submit our online membership form or our PDF membership form. In either case, mail your $25 membership fee to:

Kimberly Reese, IJEA Treasurer
36W785 Stonebridge Lane
St. Charles, IL 60175

All necessary payment instructions are included in both the online and PDF membership forms.


ENROLLMENT DIVISIONS

To help ensure fair competition and meaningful results, our contest assigns publications to divisions based on school enrollment. Publications compete against other publications within the same enrollment division. The exact configuration of the divisions will change from year to year depending on the number of publications that enter the contest and the size of their respective school populations.


TYPES OF PUBLICATIONS

This contest invites submissions from three types of non-yearbook publications:

  1. Print-only publications (newspapers or newsmagazines).
  2. Digital-only publications (websites or online hosting platforms, such as YouTube or Vimeo channels).
  3. Hybrid publications (publications that appear in both print and digital versions).

Note to broadcast advisers: If you advise a school TV station, radio station or broadcast program that does not have its own website or does not partner with another student media site from your school, you may still enter your students’ work in the appropriate multimedia categories. You may do this as long as your students’ work is available online at a URL associated with your station or program. For example, you may enter your students’ work if it is available on a digital platform designated to host files from your station or program, such as a YouTube channel or a SoundCloud account. Your students’ multimedia work may also be entered if it is available on your school’s official website. But please note: We will not accept the uploading of actual video or audio files as part of your entries; only URLs will be accepted.


CATEGORIES AND CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

Our 2017 contest features 30 categories in which students may compete. These categories allow us to recognize and reward the great variety of student journalism being produced in the age of digital media. We also hope the categories will encourage further innovation and risk-taking by student journalists and their advisers.

The 30 categories are divided into three types:

  • Core categories
    These consist of 20 categories open to entries from all media, both print and digital. Category descriptions can be found here.
  • Print categories
    These consist of five categories open to entries from print-only publications and print versions of hybrid publications. Category descriptions can be found here.
  • Digital categories
    These consist of five categories open to entries from digital-only publications and online versions of hybrid publications. Category descriptions can be found here.


AWARDS AND POINTS

Each enrollment division offers all 30 categories, with first-, second- and third-place division winners chosen in each category. So, for example, if this year’s contest has four enrollment divisions, there will be four separate first-place winners in the Best News Story category, four separate second-place winners, etc. Honorable-mention awards are given at the judges’ discretion. All award winners will receive certificates.

For purposes of determining the top publications in each division, a first-place entry in any category will count as five points, a second-place entry as four points, a third-place entry as three points and an honorable-mention entry as one point.


BEST PUBLICATION HONORS

The top three point-scoring publications in each division will receive certificates indicating first, second or third place for Best Overall Publication within their respective divisions.

In addition, certificates will be awarded to each division’s top three print-only publications (Best Print Publication), top three digital-only publications (Best Digital Publication) and top three hybrids (Best Hybrid Publication).

To illustrate how this would work, consider a scenario in which the top three point-scoring publications in a division are a hybrid (with the highest score), a print-only newspaper (second highest) and a digital-only website (third highest). In that scenario, the hybrid would win first place in its division for Best Overall Publication and first place for Best Hybrid Publication. The print-only newspaper would win second place in its division for Best Overall Publication and first place for Best Print Publication. The digital-only website would win third place in its division for Best Overall Publication and first place for Best Digital Publication.

The scoring for the three types of publications will be done as follows:

  • Print-only publications may compete in all 20 core categories and all five print categories. A print-only publication’s combined score from all 25 of its categories will be used to determine its standing in the competitions for Best Overall Publication and Best Print Publication.
  • Digital-only publications may compete in all 20 core categories and all five digital categories. A digital-only publication’s combined score from all 25 of its categories will be used to determine its standing in the competitions for Best Overall Publication and Best Digital Publication.
  • Hybrid publications may compete in all 20 core categories. In addition, their print versions may compete in all five print categories, and their digital versions may compete in all five digital categories. A hybrid publication’s combined score from all 30 categories will be used to determine its standing in the competitions for Best Overall Publication and Best Hybrid Publication. For more information about hybrid entries, see “ENTRY LIMITS ON HYBRID PUBLICATIONS” below.


ENTRIES AND ENTRY LIMITS

Each publication may submit two entries per category, with the exception of the Best Website category, which calls for only one entry per site. A publication may submit the same item as an entry in multiple categories, with the following exceptions:

  1. The same article may not be entered in both the Best News Story and Best In-Depth News Story categories.
  2. The same article may not be entered in both the Best Feature Story and Best Personality Profile categories.
  3. The same article may not be entered in both a News category and a Features category.
  4. The same article may not be entered in both a Sports category and a News, Features or Opinion category.
  5. The same photo may not be entered in both the Best Sports Photo and Best News or Feature Photo categories.
  6. The same infographic may not be entered in both the Best Infographic and Best Alternative Storytelling categories.

These exceptions are intended to encourage a greater variety of submissions. Beyond these exceptions and the restrictions on hybrids noted below, publications are free to submit the same item in as many categories as they believe are appropriate. Judges have the discretion to exclude an entry if they determine it does not fit the category in which it is entered. To avoid any doubt about whether an entry is appropriate for a particular category, be sure to read the category descriptions. Core categories are described here, print categories here and digital categories here. If you still have questions, contact our executive director, Dr. Sally Renaud, at [email protected].


ENTRY LIMITS ON HYBRID PUBLICATIONS

If you advise a hybrid publication, keep in mind the following restrictions:

  • When competing in a CORE category, a hybrid may submit a print version or a digital version of the same item, but it may not submit both versions in the same category. For example, if a hybrid publication has published both an online version and a print version of the same news story, it may submit either version for Best News Story but not both.
  • When competing in a CORE category, a hybrid publication as a whole may submit only two items per category. That is, it may submit two print items or two digital items or one of each per CORE category, but it may not submit more than two items overall in a single category. In other words, a hybrid publication’s print version and digital version may not compete as separate entities in CORE categories, and they may not submit two entries each per CORE category.

These exceptions are intended to encourage a greater variety of submissions and to prevent hybrids from gaining an additional advantage from their dual platforms. Beyond these exceptions and the restrictions noted above in “ENTRIES AND ENTRY LIMITS,” hybrids are free to submit the print and digital versions of the same item in as many different categories as they believe are appropriate. For example, a hybrid may submit the print version of a news story as an entry in a core category (such as “Best News Story”) and as an entry in a print category (such as “Best Single-Page Story Package”), and it may also submit the digital version of that same story as an entry in a digital category (such as “Best Multimedia Story Package”).

As always, judges have the discretion to exclude an entry if they determine it does not fit the category in which it was submitted. To avoid any doubt about whether an entry is appropriate for a particular category, be sure to read the category descriptions. Core categories are described here, print categories here and digital categories here. If you still have questions, contact our executive director, Dr. Sally Renaud, at [email protected].


SUBMISSION OF ENTRIES

All entries must be submitted online. Submit print items as PDFs and digital items as URLs. (For detailed instructions, see “How to Submit Entries.”)

As mentioned above in “CHANGES,” this new submission process is another difference from past contests. Previously, all entries were mailed as hard copies to our office at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. We made this change to reduce the amount of time and work involved in preparing individual entries.

In addition, the submission of PDFs will allow us to create high-quality online galleries of the award-winning entries, which in turn will enhance the educational value of our contest. (For directions concerning PDFs, see “How to Create PDFs,” “How to Reduce the Size of PDFs” and “How to Upload PDFs.”)


DEADLINE REMINDER

All submissions must be received online by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, 2017. To avoid last-minute problems, we recommend that you try a test submission well before the deadline. You are welcome to submit a test entry so long as it is clearly labeled as such and is limited to one submission.


ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS

The results of this year’s contest will be announced at the IHSA state journalism final on Friday, April 28, 2017, at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. All advisers of publications that enter our contest will be notified of the results by email later that day. The results will also be posted on IJEA’s website, Twitter account and Facebook page. Award certificates will be available for pickup in person at the IHSA state final. Any certificates remaining after the final will be mailed to the advisers of winning students.


DISPLAY OF WINNING ENTRIES

The winning entries will be displayed in an online gallery on the IJEA website. Submission of an entry represents permission to display the entry if it wins first, second or third place or honorable mention.


QUESTIONS

If you have questions about the contest, please contact IJEA’s executive director, Dr. Sally Renaud of Eastern Illinois University, at [email protected]. Technical questions about the online submission process should be directed to IJEA’s website manager, Dave Porreca, CJE, at [email protected].

Official site of the Illinois Journalism Education Association, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston
How This Contest Is Organized