25 Ways to Build an Award-Winning High School Newspaper
25 Ways to Build an Award-Winning NewspaperRachele KanigelSan Francisco State Universitykanigel@sfsu.edu
Why should you care aboutawards?They•Boost staff morale•Help you get into college•Attract staffers to your newspaper•Help establish your newspaper’s credibility•May keep critical administrators at bay
To win awards you must:•Put out a great publication•Innovate•Be a leader•Be bold and creativeand …..
1. Train yourstaff•Train staffers in all aspects of puttingout the newspaper -- design,photography, online, writing, reporting,editing.•Incorporate team-building andleadership-development exercises.
2. Network with the pros• Join professional organizations like SPJ, ACES,NAHJ, NABJ, IRE, NPPA, local press clubs andother organizations (many offer membershipdiscounts and scholarships to students)• Attend conventions and conferences -- likethis one!• Invite media professionals to speak to yourclass
3. When news breaksreport it• If you’ve got a website, use it to breaknews
Knight Errant, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School, St. Louis Park, Minn.
4. Have a conversationwith your readersUse your website to•Solicit story ideas•Poll readers•Get email addresses•Find out what’s happening on campus
14. Photographers: Look forthe moment• Shoot lots of images• Look for emotion• Capture special moments
2012 NSPA Picture of the YearWinnersFirst Place:LaurenAndersonImprints, MesaMS, CastleRock, Colo.
2012 NSPA Picture of the YearWinnersFirst Place,NewsGrace FinleyHornet,Bryant HS,Bryant, Ark.
2012 NSPA Picture of the YearWinners First Place,Sports ReactionKate JacobsenThe NorthwestPassage,ShawneeMissionNorthwest HS,Shawnee, Kan.
15. Develop yourtalentDon’t let your bestreporters,photographers, designers,editorial cartoonists and columnistssettle for being just the best on yourstaff.Urge them to go the extra mile tobecome the best in the state -- or thenation.
16. Dare to bedifferentThe professional press may not be ableto afford to go out on a limb. You can.
Kylie Vandeven ofThe View, Park HillSouth HS, Riverside,Mo., won first placefor Page 1 Designfrom NSPA for thisillustrated front pagein 2012.
Kelsey Bell ofNorth Star, FrancisHowell North HS, St.Charles, Mo., won firstplace for news magazinecover for this page in2012
17. Pay attention toledesBusy judges often make snap decisionsin the first paragraph of a story.If your lede doesn’t grab them, theymay not read any further.
18. Sweat the smallstuffPay attention to details large and small.Misspelled words, headlines that don’tmake sense and punctuation errorscan put you in the reject pile beforeyou can say “Oops!”
19. Review thecompetitionLook at previous winners from thecompetitions you enter. Read judges’notes. Analyze what made the winningpieces succeed.
20. If you’ve got a goodstory, tell itUse personal experiences to craftcompelling narratives.
Caitlin Johnsonof IndianaUniversity wona Hearst awardfor an opinionpiece on herbrother’sservice in Iraqand Afghanistan
21. Speak to youraudience• Write about the issues students really careabout.• Cover your school like a blanket.
22. Plan tocompeteAt the beginning of each term obtain orcreate a list of the major state andnational competitions and theirdeadlines. Write the deadlines on yourcalendar.
23. Put someone in chargeof contestsMake sure that a person or committeeannounces competitions at least a monthbefore the deadline. Dont leave this tothe last minute -- postmark deadlines areusually strict!
24. Hand out your ownawardsDont wait for the outside world togive your staff recognition. Honor yourown staff.And don’t wait for the end of theterm; do it weekly.
25. Enter contestsRemember, if you don’t enter you can’twin.
ContactRachele KanigelSan Francisco State Universitykanigel@sfsu.edu