PSJA Journalism Contest

Quill and Scroll partners with Private School Journalism Association

About the Contest

The PSJA Journalism Contest, co-sponsored by Quill and Scroll, seeks to honor the best journalism produced by private and independent school students. It is a “portfolio” contest, one that seeks not to reward single stories, but a pattern of excellence throughout an academic year.

Other than Editorial Leadership, work produced for the contest should have been published in a news publication or yearbook between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Deadline for entries will be April 1, 2022. There will be a virtual awards ceremony to announce the winners on May 15, 2022 at 7 p.m. EDT.

Individual first-place winners will receive plaques, while second- and third-place winners will receive certificates. Quill and Scroll will tabulate points of all students who place in the competition and award the Blue and Gold Award plaque to the school that compiles the most points.

The top school will also earn free memberships to Quill and Scroll for its winning students, provided they meet the organization’s academic standards (3.0 GPA or top-third in one’s class: sophomore, junior or senior).

Each individual entry will cost $20 for PSJA schools ($25 for non-members). Payment can be made by credit card, check/purchase order. To become a member of the Private School Journalism Association, please contact David Cutler or go to the PSJA website.

The form for entering the contest will be live on or before March 1, 2022, but don’t wait to start thinking about your best work.

Contest judges will come from the ranks of professional journalists and professors of journalism.

Categories

Editorial Leadership

  • The editorial team from each student publication should submit a letter on managing a newsroom at their private or independent school, along with at least five examples (stories, photos, design elements, etc.) that resulted from the team’s leadership. Applicants should explain how their leadership helped the publication confront a sensitive or challenging issue, unique to their school.

Continuous Team Coverage

  • Publications should submit three to five three stories by at least three different reporters offering in-depth coverage of the same topic, which should be somewhat specific. For example, don’t submit three stories about “the administration.” Instead, report how the administration addressed a specific issue. Video and audio stories can be included.

Freshman of the Year 

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to five articles and a letter explaining the significance of the applicant’s contributions. Video and audio stories can be included.

Sophomore of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to five articles and a letter explaining the significance of the applicant’s contributions. Video and audio stories can be included.

Junior of the Year 

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to five articles and a letter explaining the significance of the applicant’s contributions. Video and audio stories can be included.

News Writer of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to five articles. Submissions should focus specifically on stories about news that happens in your community and/or school. These can include but aren’t limited to: breaking news, coverage of scheduled events, in-depth news packages (even if part of team coverage), Video and audio stories can be included if there’s clear evidence of script writing in the stories.

Features Writer of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to five articles. Submissions should focus on people and events in your community and/or school. These can include but aren’t limited to:  trend stories, arts features, event coverage (previews and post-event stories), profiles, features and historical stories. Video and audio stories can be included if there’s clear evidence of script writing in the stories.

Sports Writer of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to five articles. Submissions can include but aren’t limited to: sports news, game coverage (previews and post-game stories), profiles, features, historical stories, sports opinion, and stories that aren’t about school-sponsored athletics, though the preponderance of a portfolio should cover the school and its athletes and coaches. Video and audio stories can be included if there’s clear evidence of script writing in the stories.

Opinions Writer of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to five articles. Submissions can include but aren’t limited to: news analysis, editorials, personal columns and critiques of the arts. Video and audio stories can be included if there’s clear evidence of script writing in the stories. 

Photographer of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to 10 photos with captions. The photos can run the gamut of sports, news, features, portraits and photo illustrations, but the winning portfolio is likely to show the photographer’s skill at mastering different types of assignments.

Social Media Journalist of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person, including up to 10 posts. The posts can run the gamut of social media platforms, but the winning portfolio is likely to show skill with design and reader engagement. 

Versatile Journalist of the Year

  • A portfolio submission by a single person that highlights a student-journalist’s ability to excel across categories. A portfolio could include a news story, a feature story, a sports story, an opinion piece, a photo, an illustration, a design, a podcast, a video package — no more than one per type, and no more than five examples in a single entry.