Rules/Eligibility
Categories2020 Honorees
Rules & EligibilityCategories2020 Honorees

School Divisions

– Large: 10,000 or more students
– Small: 9,999 or fewer students

School divisions are based on total student enrollment, which includes both graduate and undergraduate enrollment. Work entered in the wrong division will be disqualified.

Categories

Jump to:
Newspapers
Magazine
Art/Graphics
Radio
Television
Online
Videography
Video Game Reporting
Immersion Journalism
Podcasts
All Platforms
Special Category: COVID-19


Newspapers

Breaking News Reporting

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit a story or stories written under a next-day deadline about a single breaking news event.

Entrants must submit a link to the online article or a PDF of the newspaper page on which the story appeared. The date of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the work will not be accepted.


General News Reporting

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit an article or series about a single news event or issue, not written on next-day deadline. Limit a series to no more than five stories.

Entrants must submit a link to the online article or a PDF of the newspaper page on which the story appeared. The date of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the work will not be accepted.


In-Depth Reporting

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit a single article or series. Entries must use multiple sources to explore the subject in significant depth. Limit a series to no more than five stories.

Entrants must submit a link to the online article or a PDF of the newspaper page on which the story appeared. The date of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the work will not be accepted.


Feature Writing

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit a single article or a series. Entries may be personality profiles, trend stories, human-interest stories or any other type of feature that is not general or breaking news. Limit a series to no more than five stories.

Entrants must submit a link to the online article or a PDF of the newspaper page on which the story appeared. The date of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the work will not be accepted.


Sports Writing

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit one sports news or feature story about sports or a sports figure. (Columns must be entered in the Sports Column Writing category).

Entrants must submit a link to the online article or a PDF of the newspaper page on which the story appeared. The date of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the work will not be accepted.


Editorial Writing

Submit three published editorials by one writer or one writing team.

Three editorials = one entry. Upload all three editorials as one entry. Do not submit editorials separately.

Entrants must submit links to the editorials online or PDFs of the newspaper page on which the editorials appeared. The dates of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the editorials will not be accepted.


General Column Writing

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit three published columns by one writer or writing team. Entries may include, but are not limited to, humor and news analysis.

Three columns = one entry. Upload all three columns as one entry. Do not submit columns separately.

Entrants must submit links to the columns online or PDFs of the newspaper page on which the columns appeared. The dates of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the columns will not be accepted.


Sports Column Writing

Submit three published columns by one writer or writing team.

Three columns = one entry. Upload all three columns as one entry. Do not submit columns separately.

Entrants must submit links to the columns online or PDFs of the newspaper page on which the columns appeared. The dates of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the columns will not be accepted.


Best All-Around Student Newspaper

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit three complete pdf issues or e-editions, even if those issues were not distributed in print. Links to websites will not be accepted in this category. (Note: This year, we are waiving the requirement that the three issues be from specific months.)

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Magazine

Non-Fiction Article

Entrants must submit a link to a single article or a PDF of the magazine page on which the story appeared. The date of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the work will not be accepted.


Best Student Magazine

Submit one complete issue published during the 2020 calendar year. Entries should include a cover letter explaining if design and layout was done primarily by students or professionals. Magazines submitted without this letter may be disqualified.

Award will be in the magazine’s name. Only one entry per magazine is permitted.

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Art/Graphics

Breaking News Photography

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit one photo of a breaking news event. For photographs published in a newspaper or magazine or on an online news site. Entrant must submit a PDF of the newspaper/magazine page on which the photo appeared, or a link to the photo published on an online news site. The date of publication must be visible.


General News Photography

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit one photo of a news event, not covered on deadline. For photographs published in a newspaper or magazine or on an online news site. Entrant must submit a PDF of the newspaper/magazine page on which the photo appeared, or a link to the photo published on an online news site. The date of publication must be visible.


Feature Photography

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit a photo or a series of up to five photos.

For photographs published in a newspaper or magazine or on an online news site.

Entrant must submit a PDF of the newspaper/magazine page on which the photo appeared, or a link to the photo published on an online news site. The date of publication must be visible.


Photo Illustration

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit a photo, or a short series, of photos that helps illustrate a news or feature story without necessarily being straight photography. Entries may be staged, composite or otherwise manipulated, but must disclose that to the reader. Limit a series to no more than five photos. For photo illustrations published in a newspaper or magazine or on an online news site.

Entrant must submit a PDF of the newspaper/magazine page on which the photo illustration appeared, or a link to the illustration published on an online news site. The date of publication must be visible.


Sports Photography

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Submit one photo of a sports event. For photographs published in a newspaper or magazine or on an online news site.

Entrant must submit a PDF of the newspaper/magazine page on which the photo appeared, or a link to the photo published on an online news site. The date of publication must be visible.


Data Visualization

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

This award recognizes a graphic artist or team for outstanding visual representation of data. Entries will be judged on their newsworthiness, technical merit, originality, overall design and ability to communicate insightful information.

The entry may be dynamic (i.e., interactive) or static (i.e. intended for print). Static entries must be submitted in any of these formats: JPG, GIF, PNG, SVG, PDF or TIFF. If the entry is dynamic (interactive) the entrant should provide a screenshot and hyperlink to the visualization. Max file size is 50 MB. Please be sure to include date of publication.


Editorial Cartooning

Submit three different published cartoons commenting on issues of significance to the newspaper’s readers. All three cartoons must be by the same cartoonist.

Three cartoons = one entry. Upload all three cartoons as one entry. Do not submit cartoons separately.

For cartoons published in a newspaper or magazine or on an online news site.

Entrant must submit a PDF of the newspaper/magazine page on which the cartoon appeared, or a link to the illustration published on an online news site. The dates of publication must be visible.

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Radio

News Reporting

Submit a story or series about a newsworthy event or development. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been aired by a campus, public or commercial radio station. Work aired on an online radio station is also eligible. Entrant must submit a link to the work online or upload an audio file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All audio files must be .mp3 (preferred), .wav or .aiff format. Audio in other formats will not be accepted.


Feature

Submit a story or series about a feature topic. Subjects may include, but are not limited to, personality profiles, sidebars, consumer information, historical perspectives, trend stories or reviews of cultural events. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been aired by a campus, public or commercial radio station. Work aired on an online radio station is also eligible. Entrant must submit a link to the work online or upload an audio file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All audio files must be .mp3 (preferred), .wav or .aiff format. Audio in other formats will not be accepted.


In-Depth Reporting

Submit a story or series about a topic explored in significant depth with multiple sources. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been aired by a campus, public or commercial radio station. Work aired on an online radio station is also eligible. Entrant must submit a link to the work online or upload an audio file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All audio files must be .mp3 (preferred), .wav or .aiff format. Audio in other formats will not be accepted.


Sports Reporting

Entries may be either a story or series about a sports topic. Subjects may include, but are not limited to, breaking news or features. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes. Play-by-play of a sporting event is not eligible.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been aired by a campus, public or commercial radio station. Work aired on an online radio station is also eligible. Entrant must submit a link to the work online or upload an audio file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All audio files must be .mp3 (preferred), .wav or .aiff format. Audio in other formats will not be accepted.


Best All-Around Newscast

Submit ONE newscast. The entry may not exceed 30 minutes. The newscast may be edited for length. Award will be made in the radio station’s name.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been aired by a campus, public or commercial radio station. Work aired on an online radio station is also eligible. Entrant must submit a link to the work online or upload an audio file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All audio files must be .mp3 (preferred), .wav or .aiff format. Audio in other formats will not be accepted.

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Television

Breaking News Reporting

Submit a story or series about a breaking news event, aired within 24 hours of the event. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station is also eligible. Given the circumstances of the preceding year, work streamed on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live also is eligible, provided an archive of the stream remains accessible until September 30, 2021. All entries must have a transcript included with the entry.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


General News Reporting

Submit a story or series about a news event or issue, not prepared on daily deadline. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station is also eligible. Given the circumstances of the preceding year, work streamed on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live also is eligible, provided an archive of the stream remains accessible until September 30, 2021. All entries must have a transcript included with the entry.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Feature

Submit a story or series about a feature topic. Subjects may include, but are not limited to, personality profiles, sidebars, consumer information, historical perspectives or reviews of cultural events. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station is also eligible. Given the circumstances of the preceding year, work streamed on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live also is eligible, provided an archive of the stream remains accessible until September 30, 2021. All entries must have a transcript included with the entry.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


In-Depth Reporting

Submit a story or series about a topic or issue of public importance that is explored in significant depth with multiple sources. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station is also eligible. Given the circumstances of the preceding year, work streamed on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live also is eligible, provided an archive of the stream remains accessible until September 30, 2021. All entries must have a transcript included with the entry.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Sports Reporting

Submit a story or series about a sports topic. Subjects may include, but are not limited to, breaking news or features. Entry may not exceed a total of 10 minutes. Play-by-play of a sporting event is not eligible.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station is also eligible. Given the circumstances of the preceding year, work streamed on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live also is eligible, provided an archive of the stream remains accessible until September 30, 2021. All entries must have a transcript included with the entry.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Best All-Around Newscast

Submit ONE newscast. The entry may be longer than 30 minutes, but please indicate which 30 minutes the judges will review. A newscast must be produced and aired at least once a week, with no postproduction editing. Award will be made in the organization or television station’s name.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Given the circumstances of the preceding year, work streamed on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live also is eligible, provided an archive of the stream remains accessible until September 30, 2021.

Transcripts are NOT required to be submitted with each entry, but a rundown of the newscast may be submitted (optional).

Uploading the entry: entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL or upload a video file to the awards site [50 MB file limit]. All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Best All-Around News Magazine

Submit ONE segment. It can be longer than 30 minutes, but please indicate which 30 minutes the judges will review. Postproduction editing is allowed. Award will be made in the television station or organization’s name.

Entries may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Given the circumstances of the preceding year, work streamed on platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Live also is eligible, provided an archive of the stream remains accessible until September 30, 2021.

Transcripts are NOT required to be submitted with each entry, but a rundown of the newscast may be submitted (optional).

Uploading the entry: Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL, or upload a video file to the awards site [50 MB file limit]. All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.

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Online

News Reporting

Submit a story or package about a newsworthy event, development or single issue of significance to the public. Judges will consider ingenuity, interactivity and use of multimedia tools. Entries from print news sources may only be submitted to online categories if there is no print version of the newspaper or magazine.

Entries must consist of one main URL and up to three additional URLs to highlight specific features of the article or package. Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.


Feature Reporting

Submit a story or package about a feature topic. Subjects may include, but are not limited to, personality profiles, trend stories, human-interest stories, consumer information, historical perspectives or reviews of cultural events. Judges will consider ingenuity, interactivity and use of multimedia tools. Entries from print news sources may only be submitted to online categories if there is no print version of the newspaper or magazine.

Entries must consist of one main URL and up to three additional URLs to highlight specific features of the article or package. Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.


In-Depth Reporting

Submit a story or package about a topic or issue of public importance that is explored in significant depth with multiple sources. Judges will consider ingenuity, interactivity and use of multimedia tools. Entries from print news sources may only be submitted to online categories if there is no print version of the newspaper or magazine.

Entries consist of one main URL and up to three additional URLs to highlight specific features of the article or package. Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.


Sports Reporting

Submit a story or package about a sports event or sports figure. Entries may be either news or feature pieces. Judges will consider ingenuity, interactivity and use of multimedia tools. Entries from print news sources may only be submitted to online categories if there is no print version of the newspaper or magazine.

Entries consist of one main URL and up to five additional URLs to highlight specific features of the article or package. Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.


Opinion & Commentary

Submit three individual pieces or packages dealing either seriously or humorously with opinion or commentary. Entries can be personal columns, op-ed pieces or staff editorials. All three pieces must be written by one writer or writing team. If entries are from a writing team, the award will be made in the name of the team. Entries from print news sources may only be submitted to online categories if there is no print version of the newspaper or magazine.

Three columns = one entry. Upload all three columns as one entry. Do not submit columns separately.

Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.


Best Use of Multimedia

Submit ONE URL to a multimedia element on a new organization’s website. Multimedia includes — among other things — any piece of reporting that brings together various media, including text, audio, video and other interactive elements. Entrants must include a cover letter describing the piece and how it serves its audience. Judges will consider design, content, interactivity and complexity.

Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.


Best Affiliated Website

This award is for internet sites operated in conjunction with a student newspaper, student magazine or student broadcast station. Entrants must include a cover letter describing how the site’s content and mission differ from and enhance that of its affiliate. Judges will consider design, content, interactivity and use of multimedia tools. Award will be made in the paper, magazine or station’s name.

To qualify as an affiliated site, the site must be connected to a student news organization.

Entrants should include URL links to three specific pages (published in the 2020 calendar year) for the judges to consider.

Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.


Best Independent Online Student Publication

This award is for online publications and internet sites that produce primarily original content and operate independently of other student news organizations. Entrants must include a cover letter describing the site and how it serves its audience. Judges will consider design, content, interactivity and use of multimedia tools. Award will be made in the outlet’s name.

To qualify as an independent site, the site must have no connection with a student news organization.

Entrants must submit one main URL and up to three additional URLs (in the same domain) to highlight features.

Judging will take place February-April 2021. Websites will be judged on content as presented during this time span.

Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.

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Videography

Broadcast News Videography

Submit video of a breaking news event or general news story.

Entries may not exceed a total of 10 minutes and may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station or by podcast is also eligible.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Broadcast Feature Videography

Submit video of a feature topic that may include (but is not limited to) personality profiles, sidebars, consumer information, historical perspectives, trend stories or reviews of cultural events.

Entries may not exceed a total of 10 minutes and may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station or by podcast is also eligible.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Broadcast Sports Videography

Submit video of a sports story that may include (but is not limited to) a specific sports event, sports-related activity or personality profile, sidebar. Play-by-play of a sporting event is not eligible.

Entries may not exceed a total of 10 minutes and may be edited for length. Work must have been broadcast by a campus, public or commercial television station or franchised cable television system. Work aired on an internet TV station or by podcast is also eligible.

Entrant must either upload the work to an online video site and submit the URL (preferred), or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Online/Digital News Videography

Submit video of a breaking news event or general news story.

Entries may not exceed a total of 10 minutes and may be edited for length. Entries shall come from websites, areas of websites and all digital platforms operated by a campus affiliated organization or program.

Entrant may submit a link to the video (preferred) or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Online/Digital Feature Videography

Submit video of a feature story that may include (but is not limited to) personality profiles, sidebars, consumer information, historical perspectives, trend stories or reviews of cultural events.

Entries may not exceed a total of 10 minutes and may be edited for length. Entries shall come from websites, areas of websites and all digital platforms operated by a campus affiliated organization or program.

Entrant may submit a link to the video (preferred) or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.


Online/Digital Sports Videography

Submit video of a sports story that may include (but is not limited to) a specific sports event, sports-related activity or personality profile, sidebar. Play-by-play of a sporting event is not eligible.

Entries may not exceed a total of 10 minutes and may be edited for length. Entries shall come from websites, areas of websites and all digital platforms operated by a campus affiliated organization or program.

Entrant may submit a link to the video (preferred) or upload a video file to the awards site. [50 MB file limit] All video files must be one of the following formats: .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.

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Video Game Reporting

For print and online. Submit a single article or a series on the topic of video games. Entries may be personality profiles, trend stories, human-interest stories or any other type of feature that is not a videogame review. (Repeat: no reviews.)

Limit a series to no more than three stories.

Entrants must submit a link to the online article or a PDF of the newspaper page on which the story appeared. The date of publication must be visible. Word documents containing the work will not be accepted. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.

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Immersion Journalism

This award recognizes immersive journalism, including 360 video, augmented reality or virtual reality. Judges will consider content, ingenuity and how the medium fits the story.

Entries should consist of one main URL or respective app. Entries that do not provide complete and accurate URLs will be disqualified. Entrants must keep their nominated entries intact and accessible until September 30, 2021.

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Podcasts

Entries must be no more than 30 minutes long and may be edited for length. Entrants may submit up to two files, not to exceed 15 minutes each.

Entrant should upload the work to an online audio or video site and submit the URL (preferred) or upload the file(s) to the awards site [50 MB file limit]. Files must be in one of the following formats: .mp3, .wav, .aiff, .wmv, .mov, .mpeg or .mp4.

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All Platforms

Collaborative Journalism

This category is for two or more unrelated student academic institutions, including university or college journalism programs, that work together on a specific project on any platform(s).

Submit links to the project. Entries that fail to provide an active URL will be disqualified. Entries will be judged on newsworthiness, originality, design, content, and clarity.

(For projects in which the reporting/editing teams include anyone with current or past full-time professional journalism experience, please submit to the Sigma Delta Chi Awards contest.)

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Special Category: COVID-19

During a period of extraordinary news, journalists doing extraordinary work deserve extra recognition. We have new categories this year to reflect all-encompassing nature of pandemic coverage. Work looking at COVID-19 angles in news, features, sports, entertainment and other topics is welcome and should be entered in these new categories.

– Submission guidelines for each subcategory of the COVID-19 category are identical to their counterparts in the non-COVID categories. (So, for example, the guidelines for entries in the combined newspaper/magazine/online category are the same guidelines that appear above for newspaper, magazine and online coverage.
– Entries will be judged first at the regional level with first-place winners advancing to the national level. Judges also can declare no winners if no entry is worthy.
– A best of show award for COVID-19 coverage will be given at the national level (COVID-19 MOEy), chosen only from entries in the COVID category.
– Subject material may include, but is not limited to news, features, sports and/or entertainment.
– Large and small divisions within a category might be combined during judging, depending on the number of entries.

Newspaper, Magazine and Online

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Video (includes Television and Online Videography)

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

Digital (still) Photography

  – Large School Division (10,000+ students)
  – Small School Division (1-9,999 students)

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Questions?

Email awards@spj.org.