To spotlight some of the exceptional journalism done by students across the globe, Youth Journalism International sponsors an annual contest. Our hope is that by calling attention to the best work in English by student reporters, cartoonists and photographers, we can further our mission of promoting a free youth press.
It is yet another way to showcase the voices of the next generation. This year’s student journalism contest will recognize outstanding work published between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.
DEADLINE: Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 at 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
Entries must be received via email or the postal service by 11 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. We strongly encourage emailing your entries.
No late entries will be accepted.
Any journalist age 19 or under in any country who was not working professionally at the time the entry was published is eligible.
Submissions become the property of YJI and will not be returned. Although entries must have been published online or in print, it is not required that they appeared in a school publication. Underground papers, blogs, online papers and other venues for journalism are all acceptable.
So, too, are audio and video entries. They are best entered by sending us a link if at all possible. Judges have the right to move an entry from one category to a more appropriate category and the right not to make an award in any particular category.
In each category, nominations may come from teachers, students or other third parties. Previous first place winners are not eligible to enter the category again, but previous finalists may enter. Self-nominations are acceptable, though letters of support are especially encouraged in the Student Journalist of the Year, Courage in Journalism and Journalism Educator of the Year categories. First place winners in each category will receive a beautiful crystal trophy. Judges may also name finalists.
STUDENT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
To honor the student journalist who shows exceptional work in one or more areas of journalism – news, feature and opinion writing, photography and art.
JOURNALISM EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
To honor a teacher who inspires students and brings out the very best in them.
COURAGE IN JOURNALISM AWARD
To honor an individual youth journalist, journalism educator or a student newspaper that showed particular courage in pursuing a story despite danger, official roadblocks or other unusual obstacles.
JACINTA MARIE BUNNELL AWARD FOR COMMENTARY
To honor an individual who gave voice to an important issue in a single opinion piece or a series of opinion pieces devoted to the same topic.
FRANK KEEGAN “TAKE NO PRISONERS” AWARD FOR NEWS
To honor an individual who shows tenacity in tackling one or more serious news stories.
NEWS – Individual reporting
NEWS – Team reporting (multiple byline)
ENTERPRISE – (individual or multiple byline)
PROFILE — Individual
FEATURES – Individual
FEATURES — Team (multiple byline)
EDITORIAL (unsigned; award goes to publication)
MULTIMEDIA (audio or video news – provide links or MP3s)
OPINION (bylined by one or more writers)
COLUMN WRITING (individual)
FIRST PERSON ESSAY (individual byline)
REVIEWS (Individual or double byline. Entry should note the sub-category)
General Reviews (Video games, restaurants, anything reviewed that isn’t music, theater or film)
Sports News (individual or multiple byline)
How to enter
Entries and fees will be accepted electronically and via postal delivery.
FEES (amounts are in U.S. dollars:)
Entry fees for the contest are $20 each for Student Journalist of the Year, Journalism Educator of the Year and Courage in Journalism Award, Jacinta Marie Bunnell Award for Commentary and the Frank Keegan “Take No Prisoners” Award for News (see details below).
In other categories, fees are $10 for each team entry and $5 for each individual entry. There is no limit to the number of entries one person or publication can submit. The work has to have been published, in print or online, between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.
We’ve tried to keep entry fees low to make the contest accessible, but we understand that even nominal fees may pose a hardship to some. We do not want fees to be a barrier, so if they are a hardship, please enter anyway and include an explanation of your circumstances. YJI will waive your fee and keep the financial information confidential. Fee waivers are intended for individuals, not schools, institutions or organizations. Only in rare circumstances will YJI waive the fee for entries other than those submitted by individuals.
We know of no other contest that offers the potential to waive fees. We feel strongly that it should be an option. But it’s intended for those with real hardships so if you can pay the entry fees, please do. In addition, those asking for waivers are limited to two entries.
If you wish to make an additional contribution to help defray the entry fees for those who cannot pay, your donation will be gratefully accepted. Donations to YJI are tax-deductible in the United States.
Entering electronically (this is preferred, if possible):
Fill in one online entry form for each submission at www.youthjournalism.org. [The link to the entry form is below the rules on this page.] Pay fees online or send a check made out to: Youth Journalism International, 33 Griswold Dr., West Hartford, CT 06119, U.S.A.
Then, send an email with your entry attached in a Word document or PDF of the article or page from the publication or, best of all, a hyperlink to the published work to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do send a hyperlink, please make sure it takes our judges to a public page.
For photos or cartoons, send a hyperlink to the image, a jpeg file or scan the image and send a PDF or Word document that clearly shows the picture, drawing or illustration as published.
In the subject line of the email, put the word “ENTRY” followed by the category, followed by the name of the entry. Example: ENTRY, news individual, Students Protest Fee Hikes.
In the body of the email, please note the category, the name of the entry and the name of the student or students who did the work. In the case of an entry in the Journalism Educator of the Year category, be sure to put the teacher’s name. Please note in the email how the fee was paid and attach a copy of the receipt if it was paid electronically. If it was paid by check, please write that.
Please send one email for each entry.
Schools or individuals making multiple entries may make a single payment and attach a single receipt to one entry, but please make note of how the fee was paid in each of the other entries to avoid confusion or disqualification.
Entering via postal delivery:
Fill in one online entry form for each submission online atwww.youthjournalism.org. [The form is below.]
Then, get two paper copies of the article, photo or cartoon, fill in an entry blank for each submission and attach it to the paper copies with a paper clip or staple.
On a separate piece of paper attached to the entry, list the category, the name of the entry and the name of the student(s) who did the work. In the case of an entry in the Journalism Educator of the Year category, write the teacher’s name.
Include a check made out to Youth Journalism International for the fees or attach a copy of the receipt if fees were paid electronically to avoid confusion or disqualification.
More information on Journalism Educator of the Year
Please send an essay about why the teacher or adviser is the best in the world (300 to 800 words is best). It should be heartfelt. Think of it as writing a letter to us about the educator, so an informal tone is fine.
Since your goal should be to persuade us, it is best to provide specific examples. Supporting materials, such as a copy of a newspaper, articles written about the educator or photos, are also fine and helpful. Multiple letters are encouraged, but each letter must be signed. We will give the most weight to what students have to say, but are more than willing to look at any other items that bolster the case.
More information on Student Journalist of the Year
Please send a half dozen or so clips that show the student’s work. A letter explaining the impact of the work or the circumstances surrounding a student’s journalism is encouraged. Tell us why this student journalist is the world’s best. Other supporting material is also welcome. Don’t hesitate to enter this category – someone has to win it, and it could be you.
More information on the Courage in Journalism Award
This award is intended to honor an individual youth journalist, journalism educator, youth publication or group reporting the news by, about or important to young people that has shown extraordinary courage in reporting a story.
It doesn’t mean someone had to brave bullets in a war zone, though it could, but to showcase courage of all types. Standing up to a principal, a school board or some other authority may fit the bill. Tell us what makes the nominee deserving. This award is generally not aimed at professionals working in the field of journalism, though it may be given under the right circumstances.
More information on the Frank Keegan “Take No Prisoners” Award for News:
This award honors an individual who showed the nose for news exemplified by longtime newsman Frank Keegan, whose love of journalism and determination that it has a future helped give birth to Youth Journalism International. Submit one or more news stories that show a commitment to news. Supporting material is not expected, but if included, it will be considered.
More information on the Jacinta Marie Bunnell Award for Commentary:
Jacinta Bunnell, who was severely disabled, died in 2009 at the age of 26. Among her legacies is a commitment by those whose lives she touched to focus on that most crucial question: “What do you think?” It is a fitting tribute to this extraordinary young woman to honor one of the many young people who have tried to answer that question during the past year. Submit one or more opinion or first person pieces on the same topic. Supporting material is not expected, but if included, it will be considered.
Use the PayPal button below to pay for your entries. Just donate the amount necessary to cover the cost of your contest entries.
If you want to make an additional tax-deductible donation to Youth Journalism International, a 501(c)(3) public educational charity, that would be greatly appreciated. It would be easiest to make it as a separate payment, however, so there is no confusion.
Please be sure to include a copy of your receipt with the email submitting your entries.