2017 NFPW High School Communications Contest
The NFPW High School Communications Contest inspires students to do outstanding work in their quest for excellence. This highly-acclaimed competition judges entries at three levels. First-place winners at the state level advance to national judging. First-place winners at the national level go on to the Best of the Best judging round, in which there is only one winner. The names of the award winners are published not only on the NFPW website but also on the Dow Jones News Fund website.
Direct all High School Communications Contest questions to:
The NFPW High School Communications Contest operates on two levels.
Level 1: Statewide contests
NFPW State Affiliates host statewide contests open to all high schools, public and private, in their state. Students who live in states where there is no NFPW affiliate or where the affiliate in their state is not hosting a contest in a given year are eligible to enter the NFPW At-Large High School Communications Contest. First-place winning entries in the affiliate and at-large contests are eligible to advance to Level 2, the NFPW national competition.
Most state affiliates host an electronic communications contest. See State Affiliate Contests below for lists of:
- States hosting contests (those with a hard-copy option are noted).
- The 2017 state affiliate contest directors with contact information.
Level 2: The NFPW National Contest
The National Federation of Press Women hosts a nationwide contest for all entrants whose work receives a first-place award in the affiliate or at-large contests. Because the 2017 NFPW Communications Contest is electronic, all affiliate contest directors will provide – through the online entry site – all entry forms and entries from each of the affiliate and at-large first-place winners to the national competition by the March 6 contest deadline.
- State Affiliate and At-Large entries: Tuesday, February 21, 2017
- NFPW entries: Monday, March 13, 2017
High School Communications Contest Rules
The contest rules apply to both the State Affiliate and At-Large contests as well as to the NFPW National Contest.
High school students compete at the affiliate or at-large level, with first-place winners moving on to compete at the national level. All 2017 national, affiliate, and at-large contest entries must have been published, e-published, broadcast, or issued between February 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017.
|Students compete in 23 categories:
- News Story
- Feature Story
- Sports Story
- Sports Photo
- News or Feature Photo
- Graphics/Photo Illustration
- Columns or Blogs
- Radio Prepared Report
- Radio/TV Interview or Talk Show
- Best Radio or TV Newscast
- Single-Page Layout
- Double-Truck Layout
- Video News Story
- Video Feature Story
- Video Sports Story
- Yearbook Photo
- Yearbook Layout
- Yearbook Copywriting
High School Contest Categories & Descriptors
The contest category descriptors define the type of publication, article, or broadcast for each of the categories and explain what the judges will consider when evaluating the contest entries and giving awards. The categories and descriptors are the same for the electronic contest and the traditional hard-copy contest.
- State Affiliates set their own entry fees and publish them in the entry information provided to the high schools in their respective states each year.
- NFPW Entry fees are $10 per entry. Entries receiving first-place awards in the State Affiliate or At-Large contests are eligible to advance to NFPW's national competition. A check for $10 x number of entries and made payable to NFPW must accompany the national entries. Note: Most NFPW state affiliates cover this cost. An adviser may want to check with the state affiliate director to see whether the affiliate, the student entrant, or the school pays this fee.
Electronic Entry Form: Students whose state affiliate is hosting an electronic contest or who are eligible to enter the At-Large contest will access the online High School Communications Contest electronic entry form through the link below. All entries will be submitted and judged through the electronic contest site.
Electronic High School Communications Contest Entry Form
Click the link to go to the contest on a secure site. Please read the instructions on the Login page before registering. The first step when filling out the online Entrant Form (HS Adviser info only): The high school advisers will choose their state from a drop-down box to put their students into their State Affiliate contest or will choose the At-Large contest if there is no state contest. Then, easy directions will guide the entrants through the Entry Form (Student info and Entry info) at every step along the way.
HARD-COPY CONTEST (See chart below for states with a hard-copy contest)
Hard-copy Entry Form (not for students entering the electronic contest): Students whose State Affiliate accepts both electronic and hard-copy entries should download and print the High School Communications Contest Entry Form through the link below for any hard-copy entries. The form can be downloaded and filled in online, then printed. Entries must be submitted to the state affiliate contest directors (see list of state affiliate contest directors below for mailing addresses) and postmarked by the February 21, 2017, State Affiliate Contest deadline.
Hard-copy Communications Contest Entry Form (Click "Enable Editing" at top of form)
State Affiliate Contests
|States hosting a contest this year:
- California (hard-copy option)
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- At-Large (all others)
Each national award winner will receive a handsome award certificate. Each first-place national entry also is awarded a $100 cash prize. Honors are presented during the High School Communications Contest Awards Luncheon at the annual NFPW Communications Conference. Some state affiliates provide financial assistance to students who attend the conference to receive their awards. See purple sidebar for list of national winners.
Students living in a state with an NFPW affiliate participate through their state's high school competition. Students should contact the NFPW affiliate contest director about their state high school competition early in the school year for local details.
List of State Affiliate Contest Directors
Using the same guidelines, rules, and categories – accessible through the links above – the At-Large Contest operates like the state affiliate contests, with first-place winning entries forwarded to NFPW for judging at the national level.
Only those living in a state where there is no NFPW affiliate or where the affiliate does not conduct a contest may compete in the At-Large Contest.
Students attending Department of Defense Schools overseas also are eligible to enter the At-Large Contest.
Direct all At-Large Contest questions to:
Entries at both the state and national level of the NFPW Communications Contest are judged by communications professionals in their fields of expertise. Judges are asked to provide constructive comments for each entry and a merit rank to determine 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place and honorable mention.
NFPW High School Communications Award of Excellence
NFPW has established an award to honor the high school student who submits the entry chosen by a small group of judges as overall best among the national first-place winners. To honor "the best of the best," $500 and an award to be displayed in a classroom or showcase will be presented to the award-winning student's high school journalism/communications program. The student also will be recognized along with all of the other national high school winners present at the 2017 NFPW Communications Conference in Birgmingham, Alabama, in September.
To view the first-place entries in each of the 2016 contest categories, click the red link below.
Read about the 2016 NFPW HS Award of Excellence Winners
Read about the 2015 NFPW HS Award of Excellence Winner
Read about the 2014 NFPW HS Award of Excellence Winner