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Colorado Student Media Association


Colorado Student Media Association


Colorado Student Media Association


Best of Colorado Individual Student Contests

2024 gallery results are coming soon!

We have the results from 2023-2024 grouped together by school in this spreadsheet.



Each CSMA member medium may enter ONE submission per contest category, though up to ten students can be listed as contributing to a single contest entry.

The contest website is www.betternewspapercontest.com. It will be helpful to download Contestant-Step-by-Step-Best-of-Colorado, designed to give contest entrants a step-by-step list to help make entering our contests as free of stress as possible.

If you entered previously, then your password is still good. Forgot your password? The site has a prompt to help you. If all else fails, contact [email protected] or call 970.930.1877 as soon as possible.

Please remember to log on to the contest site as CONTEST MANAGERS.

GENERAL RULES: The general rules for the contests should be downloaded first (see link above). THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES IMPORTANT DETAILS ON HOW TO NAVIGATE OUR CONTEST SITE. Please contact CSMA at [email protected] if you have questions. 

We have estimated Class I, II and III winners by relative enrollments of entering schools, attempting to equalize the numbers of schools in each classification. Video media entries are judged in two classifications (under 1,500 enrollment or over 1,500), and all middle school yearbooks are in one category, regardless of school size. We use student enrollment figures taken from the CHSAA website.

CONTEST CATEGORIES: Familiarize yourself with our various contest categories (all described in Contest descriptions 2024).

The list of categories for each medium can be downloaded:
news publications (whether newspapers, magazines, or websites – please note that if a school has current memberships in BOTH news publication and website, EACH of those media may enter one category [for instance, Kenerski HS may enter a news feature story from its print newspaper as well as a different news feature story from its website])
video media

Please note that the Breaking News and Breaking Sports categories under News Publications are for ONLINE ONLY. This seeks to emphasize on-the-spot reporting and reacting to rapidly unfolding events. If your publication is what might be called a “hybrid,” using both print and online to cover your school community, you may only enter from your online media in these two categories. If you have questions, please contact [email protected] for clarification. NOTE 2: There are no design contests at this time for online media. Our two design contests are “print only.”

IMPORTANT: When you are entering one photo and caption from a spread or page of photos, our judges need some indicator of which photo to analyze. If there is any doubt at all, we prefer that you draw a red box, either in InDesign prior to exporting your PDF, or using Acrobat Professional’s drawing tools directly on your PDF. You may also clearly point the judge to a specific photo in the comments box on the entry form. Entries that are unclear may be disqualified.

When entering a complete spread or page, or when there can be no question about what the judge is to look for, don’t worry about drawing a red box around the entry.

FILE SIZE: When preparing PDFs, please choose SMALLEST FILE SIZE when prompted. Uploading all 100MB of your yearbook cover slows down the system and does not improve the art on the computer screen, where all judging will take place.

Here’s a cool free site that can take your PDFs and condense them in such a way that they still look great to judges on a computer screen.

IMPORTANT: We highly recommend at least sending a test PDF to the contest site as soon as you can to avoid chaos when the submission deadline arrives. Trying out the site early also allows us to work through issues with school Internet filters, which occasionally block the site’s automated emails. The site sends a verification email after the first entry from your medium, so please look for that right away (it may end up in a SPAM folder). You will not be able to continue uploading entries until you have verified that YOU are the account holder.

Important: If you do not receive the confirmation email from the system, and do not see it in your SPAM folder, consider logging in and changing the email address to a personal one not afflicted by school filters. No other issue has caused as many problems as this one. As always, contact Elise Carlson at [email protected] (or 970.930.1877) if you encounter difficulties of any kind. The contest site offers a HELP TICKET, as well. Don’t hesitate to submit one of those.

Entries for print news/online and video media need to have been published/broadcast in the period August 1, 2022 – end of the school year, while yearbook entries must be scheduled for publication in the 2023 book.

Again, a medium may enter as few or many individual categories as desired. You should receive certificates NLT May 20, and can choose to have them emailed or snail-mailed.