What's the Story? The Art of Writing & Communication is one of dozens of Breakout Sessions on offer at Excellence in Journalism 2014, which takes place Sept. 4-6 in Nashville. See the complete list and register today to get the early bird rate.

Society of Professional Journalists
Improving and protecting journalism since 1909


— ADVERTISEMENT —
Advertise with SPJ
1


News and More
Click to Expand Instantly

SPJ News
Events and Deadlines
SPJ Blogs
Quill Online
SPJ on Tumblr
Journalist's Toolbox

Stay in Touch
Twitter Tumblr Facebook Google Plus
RSS Pinterest Pinterest Storify


High School
Essay Contest

Information/Rules
Entry Form [PDF]


Resources for Students
News/Articles
Internships
Training
Let SPJ help guide the way
Collegiate Institutional Memberships
Becoming a Journalist
Job Bank
Join SPJ
Mark of Excellence Awards
High School Essay Contest
Links/Resources


Awards
All Awards
Sigma Delta Chi
Mark of Excellence
New America Award
Foundation Awards

Questions?
Contact Awards Coordinator Chad Hosier via email or by phone 317/927-8000, ext. 210.

Home > Awards > High School Essay Contest

Awards
High School Essay Contest

Topic: “Why is it important that we have news media that are independent of the government?”

Postmark deadline: March 7, 2014

Nominations accepted beginning November 5, 2013

The Society of Professional Journalists wants to increase high school students' knowledge and understanding of the importance of independent media to our lives. National winners of this essay contest receive scholarship awards.

2014 Contest Winners

First Place National Essay Winner
($1,000 scholarship)

Tianyu Lin of Milton Academy in Milton, Mass.
Read essay [PDF]

— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Phoebe Fox of La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls in Honolulu, Hawaii
Read essay [PDF]
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Jacob Bloch of Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, N.Y.
Read essay [PDF]


Resources for scholastic journalists and educators

JEA Digital Media Resources
Multimedia Tools
Guide to Broadcast/Video
Guide to Moving Online


Previous honorees

2013 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Courtney Swafford of Write from the Heart in Wilmington, Del.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Anran Yu of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz.
Read essay [PDF]

— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Chuli Zeng of Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Calif.
Read essay [PDF]


2012 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Hwasung (Daniel) Yoo of Maggie L. Walker Governor's School for Government and International Studies in Richmond, Va.
Read essay [PDF]
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Niisackey Mills of South Plainfield High School in South Plainfield, N.J.
Read essay [PDF]

— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Dustin Chandler of East Burke High School in Connellys Springs, N.C.
Read essay [PDF]


2011 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Emerson Hardebeck of Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash.
Read essay [PDF, 139 KB]

— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Shaun Moran of St. Augustine Prep School in Richland, N.J.
Read essay [PDF, 78 KB]

— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Chris Papas of Oakton High School in Vienna, Va. Read essay [PDF, 74 KB]


2010 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Erin McDonough of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Shaj Mathew of Huntingtown High School in Huntingtown, Md.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Xiaonan “April” Hu of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va.


2009 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Alix Cohen of Cypress Bay High School, Weston, Fla.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Victor Hollenberg of Staples High School, Westport, Conn.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Alyssa Patrick of Eisenhower High School, Yakima, Wash.


2008 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Mark Brouch, Aurora Central Catholic High School, Aurora, Ill.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Evan Rich, Jericho High School, Jericho, N.Y.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Danna Seligman, Newbury Park High School, Newbury Park, Ca.


2007 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): David Kelly, Broomfield High School, Broomfield, Colo.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Dan Garon, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Plymouth, Minn.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Erin Gowdy, Bob Jones High School, Madison, Ala.


2006 Contest Winners
Read Press Release

— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship): Angelika Zych, Vanguard High School, in Ocala, Fla.
— Second Place, $500 Scholarship Winner: Jonathan Homrighausen of Sunnyside High School in Sunnyside, Wash.
— Third Place, $300 Scholarship Winner: Amy Brooks of Clayton High School in Clayton, Mo.


2005 Contest Winners
— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship winner) : Mindy Zhang, Robinson Secondary School, Fairfax, Va.
— Second Place ($500 scholarship winner): Zachory John Drisko, Green Hope High School, Cary, N.C.
— Third Place ($300 scholarship winner): Katie Roberts, Home schooled, Walnut Shade, Mo.


2004 Contest Winners
— First Place National Essay Winner ($1,000 scholarship winner): Heather Hamilton, Sentinel High School, Missoula, Mont.
— Second Place ($500 scholarship winner): Logan Oyler, Hickory High School, Chesapeake, Va.
— Third Place ($300 scholarship winner): Joey Muffler, Bishop Ireton High School Alexandria, VA


2002 National First Place Winner
Jonathan Ross Kaplan, Nova High School, Davie, Fla.

2000 National First Place Winner
Katie Pennock, West Henderson High School, Hendersonville, NC

1999 National First Place Winner
Darcy Colson Baxter, Lansing Central High School (near Ithaca, N.Y.)

1998 National First Place Winner
Michael Anthony Fedele III, Northwestern High School, Rock Hill, S.C.

Who is eligible?

All students enrolled in grades 9-12 in U.S. public, private and home schools within the United States. Students must submit original work and have a sponsoring teacher sign the contest entry form.

Format

The essay should be 300-500 words and must include an entry form. Entries may be typed or handwritten but must be double-spaced.

Entry Fee

Each submission to the High School Essay contest must be accompanied by a $5 entry fee. Entrants may pay by check or credit card and should indicate the preferred payment option on the entry form. Checks should be made out to the Society of Professional Journalists. Entries submitted without the required entry fee will be disqualified.

Entering

Send all entries to:

High School Essay Contest
Society of Professional Journalists
3909 N. Meridian St. Indianapolis, IN 46208

National Awards

First Place: $1,000 scholarship
Second Place: $500 scholarship
Third Place: $300 scholarship

Entry Deadline

All entries should be postmarked by March 7, 2014.

Download the entry form [PDF] here.


Complete Official Rules

Section I - General Rules

1. The Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of the Press High School Essay Contest is divided into two levels of competition: Chapter and National. All first place winners selected at the chapter level are forwarded to the national competition.
2. Contestants must enter through SPJ National Headquarters.
3. All entries received at SPJ National Headquarters will be forwarded on to the appropriate participating chapter.
4. Contestants must compose an original essay with limited guidance from others.
5. The Society of Professional Journalists will have the right to edit, publish or otherwise duplicate any essay entered into the contest without payment to the author.
6. Due to the volume of entries received, only national winners will be contacted with the results.
7. The entry fee for this contest is $5.00 per essay.

Section II - Qualifications for Contestants

1. The contest is open to all students in grades 9-12 in public, private and home schools within the United States.
2. Contestants may submit only one essay entry during any given contest year.
3. No individual having previously won a national SPJ Essay Scholarship will be eligible to compete at any level of the competition again.

Section III - Contest Rules

1. Each contestant should read a copy of the rules and must complete the entry and payment form. The rules contain information about the contest, judging and awards.
2. Participants must write on the official topic.
3. Each entry must include the Contest Entry Title Page (entry form) or submit a cover page containing the same information found on the Entry Form.
4. Essays may be typewritten or legibly handwritten but must be double-spaced.
5. Essays must contain at least 300 words but no more than 500 words. Every word of the essay is counted. This does not include the title, bibliography or footnotes.
6. Any quotations or copyrighted material used in the essay must be identified properly. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification.
7. Essays must be written in English.
8. The entry must be stapled together in the upper left-hand comer.
9. Any protest in the conduct of the contest must be made immediately. The Local Essay Contest Chair and the national SPJ Awards Chair will decide all protests in conformity with the contest rules. The decision of the contest National Awards Chair is final, and no higher appeals will be recognized.

Section IV - Judging and Timing

1. Judging will be completed by a panel of qualified judges.
2. In an effort to conceal the identity of each contestant, each entry will be assigned a number by the Essay Contest Chair. The assigned number will be placed on the title page and first page of the essay. The title page will then be detached and retained by the Essay Contest Chair. The judges will be given the essay bearing only the assigned number.
3. Judges will not discuss or compare essays being judged until all essays have been judged.
4. Only judges can assign a penalty or award points.

Section V - Scoring of Contest

Scoring procedures at all levels of the contest will be identical.
1. Material Organization (Logical interpretation of the subject, adherence to topic): 40 points
2. Vocabulary and Style (Phrasing and continuity): 30 points
3. Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling: 20 points
4. Neatness: 5 points
5. Adherence to contest rules (prepared in the proper format): 5 points

Section VI - Awards

National level:
First-place: $1,000 Scholarship
Second-place: $500 Scholarship
Third-place: $300 Scholarship

Scholarships are funded by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

Questions?

For further information contact SPJ at 317/927-8000 or e-mail us.

Copyright © 1996-2014 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ