Colorado Student Media Association

CSMA

Reporter of the Year – April 15 Deadline

What is this?
This contest honors our best reporters by selecting the best written work from this school year. This contest differs from Best of Colorado individual contests, such as News Writing, Sports-Feature writing or Critical Review writing in that it will reward reporters based on a portfolio of work. This contest honors reporting work from this school year, whether done for a yearbook, news publication or website (in fact, you may include examples from a mix of media), and rewards reporters who demonstrate broad excellence.

This competition requires the journalist to submit actual examples of work in a portfolio format. All portfolios will be viewed on computer screens. Do not print and mail your portfolio.

The student who submits the top portfolio will be named the CSMA Reporter of the Year.

Here is the online form that all entries for this competition must complete. Please note that the entire form must be completed at once — the system will not save partial forms. Sorry. Take a look ahead of time to be sure of what you need to gather before completing the entry form.

What is a portfolio?
Entrants should select 3-5 examples of their reporting created during the current school year and place them in a portfolio folder (to be shared through Dropbox or some other sharing site) or on a website (a personal site, perhaps using WordPress.com free hosting,).

An “example” may be as extensive as is necessary to share your reporting. If you wish to submit a personality profile and your reporting was simply the text itself, include a PDF of that page/spread in your portfolio, along with a brief explanation of why you chose this example and any background on your reporting that might be of interest to a judge.

If an example is from a spread or large page, and not everything on that spread or page was reported by the applicant, the judges will need an indication of which reporting was yours (perhaps with a red box around those items). Examples of reporting often include text (or prose) but perhaps just as often include captions, sidebars and even photographs and illustrations. Again, an example should include a short commentary from the entrant explaining why this example was chosen and any context the judges should be aware of.  A collection of those elements, all reported by the applicant, count as ONE example.

The general purposes of a portfolio include helping attain scholarships and getting hired as a journalist, among other things. This specific portfolio is to demonstrate a student’s skills to best communicate information to specific audiences.

You may wish to check out our story on the 2016 winners of this competition, where you will also find links to their portfolios.

What will judges look for?
Though there is no hard and fast “rule” for what sort of material to submit, consider including samples in a range of areas/categories including:

  • Feature Story
  • News Story
  • Sports Story
  • Package Reporting/Alternative Copy report

Judges would like to see versatility and depth in your reporting. A portfolio is only as strong as its weakest part, so don’t feel you have to include 5 examples if you only have 3 really strong ones. Judges want to know that the reporter can demonstrate quality reporting across a range of categories that exhibit consistency of skill and artistry of storytelling. Readers should be able to see evidence of the reporter’s abilities to implement and synthesize the elements of successful reporting: research, interviewing, planning, writing.

Who may enter?
Each current CSMA member medium may sponsor ONE portfolio, by ONE student journalist. Entrants may be in any grade (9-12), but must have been a staff member of at least one student medium at the school during the current school year. The work in the portfolio must have been published to qualify, or, in the case of yearbook reporting, will be published in the current book.

How do we enter?
Carefully gather high resolution PDF copies of your best work since last August and place them in one folder, which you share through Dropbox or some similar file sharing site, or share through your ISSUU account (or some similar service), or through your own page on a website (highly recommended). All entries must use the online application form – and then the portfolios will be distributed to the judges by CSMA.

Each entry must include a completed official entry form, which you will find here. This online entry form is separate from your portfolio.

When is the deadline for submission?
Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. MDT, April 15.

When do we get results?
Judging will be finished by May 1, and CSMA will announce first, second and third place winners, plus any honorable mentions awarded by judges, during the first week of May. Award certificates will be mailed to schools that week, in time for end-of-year celebrations and award ceremonies. This contest is not a critique, so only general comments from the judges will be shared.

There are no enrollment classifications for this contest.

Top portfolios may also be shared through the CSMA social media, Flickr site. Pinterest site, and website following judging and notification of winners.

What if we have more questions?
Contact Jack Kennedy at jpkjournalism@gmail.com or call 303-550-4755.

Past winners
2017 – Hannah Metzger, Rangeview HS
2016 – Emily Leo, Standley Lake HS

Colorado Student Media Association
Reporter of the Year – April 15 Deadline