Convergent coverage contest honors staffs working to reach readers in multiple ways

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Convergent coverage contest honors staffs working to reach readers in multiple ways

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CHSPA Convergent Coverage Story of the Year
General Coverage Topic: Our Community

What is this?
This is the first year for a cutting edge competition that honors the best we can offer in covering our school communities using multiple media. Coverage topics may focus on one event or on one major issue. For example, coverage of prom from many angles would be an “event,” while coverage of the evolution of teacher evaluations would likely be a “major issue.” Most coverage would span multiple days, if not multiple weeks or even months. IMPORTANT: “Our Community” is meant to provide for a wide range of coverage that is important to your school.

Download a copy of the interactive PDF entry form here.

Entries must include AT LEAST THREE of the following:
• print (newspaper, newsmagazine, yearbook)
• website
• video/video broadcast
• podcast
• social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)
• blog
• other?

All material must have been published during the current school year, though yearbook coverage will necessarily be a “preview” of the 2013-14 book.

To be clear, print coverage is NOT required for this contest. It is just one of the varied media students may utilize to reach readers. This may be the perfect contest for staffs who are completely online! Entries could include samples from two print media plus Facebook… or from website, Instagram and Twitter… Or from a blog, a video broadcast and a yearbook spread… All combinations are acceptable, and three media is just the minimum.

What exactly is convergent coverage?
According to the book “Convergent Journalism,” it represents a new form of reporting and may well be the future for journalism. Full convergence involves a radical change in approach and mindset among journalists and their managers. It involves a shared assignment desk where the key people, the multimedia assignment editors, assess each news event on its merits and send the most appropriate people to the story. Convergence coverage should thus be driven by the significance of the news event.

Such coverage is based on the concept of reading readers in multiple ways, and providing them information in multiple forms. This is NOT the same as NSPA’s Multimedia Story of the Year (you may want to check some examples of top website coverage at, though that contest’s use of website writing, video, audio, etc., is a great starting point.
Most major newspapers and broadcast networks worldwide are employing some form of convergent coverage, and students may wish to study how news organizations are using multiple media forms to reach readers and viewers.

Who can enter?
Each high school or middle school with current membership in CHSPA may enter ONE convergent coverage story. Since this kind of broad coverage likely involves large numbers of student journalists, awards will be to school student media departments, rather than to individual students, though individual student names will be included on award certificates, if advisers provide them. One adviser may oversee a school’s entry, or several advisers may combine forces to produce a school’s submissions.

How do we enter?
This is an entirely electronic contest, with materials being submitted in either PDF form, or by specific Internet links. There is no limit on number of individual coverage items that may be submitted. For instance, a school might cover major issues/events through print, video, and all sorts of social media and website forms.

PDFs may be attached to a contest submission email, and links may be placed in a Word document or pasted directly into the body of the submission email. All entries must be sent to [email protected]

An alternative entry form is to place all materials in a Dropbox folder and share the link with [email protected]

Each entry must include a completed official entry form, printed on the opposite side of this page, and also available at

When is the deadline for submission?
Entries must be submitted by midnight March 8, 2014.

When do we get results?
CHSPA will announce first, second and third place winners, plus any honorable mentions awarded by judges, on April 15. Certificates will be mailed to schools that week, in time for end-of-year celebrations and award ceremonies.

Top entries will also be shared through the CHSPA website (

Judges will be looking for completeness of coverage, appropriate use of various media, and quality of reporting, both verbal and visual.

What if I have more questions?
Contact Jack Kennedy at [email protected] or call 303-550-4755.