All-Colorado Critique & Rating

IMPORTANT: The entry form and staff statement for each medium are completely online, using one of five online registration forms (each member student medium requires a separate registration form). Please note that the form does not save partially completed entries, so be sure to plan ahead and have required documents and information ready to upload when you are completing the online form. You must register each medium you advise NLT end of the day, June 3 (except a few pre-discussed yearbooks).

The online critique registration forms are available now.

  • The critique registration form for yearbook.
  • The critique registration form for video broadcast.
  • The critique registration form for print news media.
  • The critique registration form for hybrid media (print plus online). NOTE: Members may enter EITHER print news or hybrid news, but not both.
  • The critique registration form for online news media (website and/or social media).


A key benefit of membership in CSMA is the summer critique and rating. Entering this assessment is easy: Yearbooks send their latest volume; print news publications send up to three complete issues; video media send three program links and/or up to ten links to shorter videos complementing other coverage (usually online),  illustrating the range of programming provided; and online news media simply submit the URLs of the website and/or social media platforms (please make sure your links will be available at least through Sept. 1 for judges to browse). Hybrid news media send three complete issues (one from fall and one from spring, if possible) plus links to online news sources, including websites and social media.

Last year, only about 65 percent of our members submitted their media for critiques, and these are critiques equivalent to national critiques which cost $100 or more. This may be the most important service CSMA offers, so please take advantage.  The postmark deadline for mailing printed entries is June 3, except for some pre-discussed yearbooks.

Instructions At-A-Glance
All current CSMA member media are eligible for this critique and rating service, and the cost is included in your membership dues.
2 Complete the online entry form for your particular medium (you will find the links near the top of this page), and the adviser/staff statement.
3 DON’T FORGET! You must submit a statement to the judge, with particular questions and with any comments you feel will help the judge accurately assess your medium (whether yearbook, website, printed news publication, hybrid news media, or video broadcast). This is a required section of the entry form, and you may upload either a Word document or a PDF.
4 In addition to the entry form, you must send (and the online forms will guide you through these):

  • For yearbook: One copy of the 2023 volume of your yearbook. (Fall delivery books must communicate the estimated delivery date to Elise.)
  • For printed newspaper/newsmagazine: Up to three complete issues of the 2022-23 volume of the print publication, one from first semester and two from second semester, if possible. We will accept PDFs, whether uploaded, shared through Google Drive or shared through ISSUU. Contact Elise Carlson if you have questions.
  • For hybrid news media: Up to three complete issues of the 2022-23 volume of the print publication, plus links to online platforms, such as website and social media.
  • For video broadcast: Three complete programs, or a selection of up to ten videos that accompany other reporting (or standalone) representative of the year’s work in broadcast, whether over the air, in-school or on the web. You must send links to a hosting site such as YouTube, Vimeo, student website, etc. (please double-check that programs have been properly copied and that links are going to be working until at least September 1).
  • For website/social media: Send the link to your site (please do not disable links or remove content until at least September 1). Optional: send links to social media platforms used by the program (the judge will browse each if requested).

5 For print, mail everything in one package to CSMA, 2030 Stetson Court, Grand Junction CO 81507. Postmark deadline this year is June 3, except for some pre-discussed yearbooks.

IMPORTANT! You MUST include an adviser/staff statement with reflection on this year’s work, along with specific questions or areas of interest you wish your judge to comment on. This is part of the online entry form.

Judging rubrics are below. The hybrid news media rubric was new in 2019 — remember that you may choose EITHER print news only OR hybrid news media for your critique. You are encouraged to download a copy to use in doing staff planning over the summer (and you can then compare your thoughts with those of your judge when you receive the judging comment).
Print News Publication
Hybrid News Media
Video Broadcast
Online News (no print media)

We also recommend that each student media member download a copy of your medium’s judging rubric, as these documents provide “quick courses” in journalistic standards students should be working toward all school year.

All members of CSMA are eligible to have their student medium critiqued, and there is no additional cost. All our contests are provided when you become a member of CSMA. Actually, we calculate that All-Colorado critiques and Best of Colorado individual entries cost about $70 for each medium entered, so your entire membership fee doesn’t quite cover our major contest costs. We currently pay judges $40 per critique ($60 for hybrid judges), for instance, plus all print media are mailed to the judges (one way — they are not returned to CSMA). All other CSMA initiatives are funded by revenue from J-Day each fall.

The All-Colorado Awards are designed to provide a critique of each yearbook, newspaper, hybrid media program, video broadcast, and website submitted, along with honoring those media that meet a high standard of excellence. Each medium receives an overall rating, with All-Colorado being the highest award, and award certificates will be distributed during the J-Day Awards Ceremony.

Interested in individual contests for students? Please check the “Best of Colorado” page on this site for the contest rules, first approved by the CSMA board in January 2011. Best of Colorado submission deadline is normally in early April and schools receive award certificates in early May.

The first All-Colorado Awards were presented at J-Day 2011, and replaced the Sweepstakes awards (which were derived by adding up individual award points in an earlier version of the Best of Colorado contests). Media earning All-Colorado ratings in six of seven consecutive years are inducted into the All-Colorado Hall of Fame, which began in 2017. You can read about the Hall of Fame here, and find the complete list of media who have been so honored. Will your medium be next?



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All-Colorado Critique & Rating