Journalism contest

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The Society of Professional Journalists is a substantive, national journalism society. (Note its Board of Directors.) I received this link from World Journalism Institute that is connected to World Magazine and Campus Crusade for Christ. This is an important facet of "passing the baton."

Topic: "Why free news media are important"

The Society of Professional Journalists wants to increase high school student's knowledge and understanding of the importance of the Free Media to our lives. National winners of this essay contest receive scholarship awards.

Who ís eligible?

All students enrolled in grades 9-12 in public, private and home schools. Students must submit original work and have a sponsoring teacher sign the contest entry form.


The essay should be 300-500 words and must include an entry form .

Entries may be typed or handwritten but must be double-spaced.


Send all entries to the Participating Chapter in your state.

If your state has no participating chapter, send your essay entry to:

High School Essay Contest

Society of Professional Journalists

3909 N. Meridian St. Indianapolis, IN 46208

National Awards

First Place: $1,000 scholarship

Second Place : $500 scholarship

Third Place: $300 scholarship

Entry Deadline:

All entries should be postmarked by March 1, 2007.

Click here to download an entry form [PDF]. .

Complete Official Rules

Section I - General Rules

1. The Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of the Press High School Essay Contest is divided into two levels of competition: Chapter and National. All first-place winners selected at the chapter level are forwarded to the national competition.

2. Contestants must enter through SPJ National Headquarters or a local participating SPJ chapter.

3. All entries received by SPJ National Headquarters will be divided up and forwarded to participating local chapters for first round judging.

4. Contestants must compose an original essay with limited guidance from others.

5. The Society of Professional Journalists will have the right to edit, publish or otherwise duplicate any essay entered into the contest without payment to the author.

6. There is no cost to enter the contest.

Section II - Qualifications for Contestants

1. The contest is open to all students in grades 9-12 in public, private and home schools.

2. Contestants may submit only one essay entry during any given contest year.

3. No individual having previously won a national SPJ Essay Scholarship will be eligible to compete at any level of the competition again.

Section III - Contest Rules

1. Each contestant should read a copy of the rules and must complete the entry form. The rules contain information about the contest, judging and awards.

2. Participants must write on the official topic.

3. Each entry must include the Contest Entry Title Page (entry form) or submit a cover page containing the same information found on the Entry Form.

4. Essays may be typewritten or legibly handwritten but must be double-spaced.

5. Essays must contain at least 300 words but no more than 500 words. Every word of the essay is counted. This does not include the title, bibliography or footnotes.

6. Any quotations or copyrighted material used in the essay must be identified properly. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification.

7. Essays must be written in English.

8. The entry must be stapled together in the upper left-hand comer.

9. Any protest in the conduct of the contest must be made immediately. The Local Essay Contest Chair and the national SPJ Awards Chair will decide all protests in conformity with the contest rules. The decision of the contest National Awards Chair is final, and no higher appeals will be recognized.

Section IV - Judging and Timing

1. Judging will be completed by a panel of qualified judges.

2. In an effort to conceal the identity of each contestant, each entry will be assigned a number by the Essay Contest Chair. The assigned number will be placed on the title page and first page of the essay. The title page will then be detached and retained by the Essay Contest Chair. The judges will be given the essay bearing only the assigned number.

3. Judges will not discuss or compare essays being judged until all essays have been judged.

4. Only judges can assign a penalty or award points.

Section V - Scoring of Contest

Scoring procedures at all levels of the contest will be identical.

1. Material Organization (Logical interpretation of the subject, adherence to topic): 40 points

2. Vocabulary and Style (Phrasing and continuity): 30 points

3. Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling: 20 points

4. Neatness: 5 points

5. Adherence to contest rules (prepared in the proper format): 5 points

Section VI - Awards

National level:

First-place: $1,000 Scholarship and a plaque

Second-place: $500 Scholarship and a plaque

Third-place: $300 Scholarship and a plaque

Scholarships are funded by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation


For further information contact SPJ at 317/927-8000 or e-mail us.

Copyright © 1996-2006 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists

Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center, 3909 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208

317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789 | Contact SPJ Headquarters