Kansas Scholastic Press Association declares 2021 competitions online, expands events


With the Kansas Scholastic Press Association’s 2021 season being held online, the organization has continued create new events. State-only options of Review writing, Multimedia Storytelling, Online Photo Gallery and Social Media will be expanded to the regional level. KSPA has also broadened their video entries to include Public Service Announcement, Sports Promo, and Video News. This year will also include a cash prize photography event sponsored by KANSAS! magazine: “A Winter in the Heartland”.

The Kansas Scholastic Press Association’s 2021 regional and state journalism contests will be held virtually due to COVID-19, but they have spared no expense in expanding their offerings.

For last year’s state competition, a new selection of events was added to the roster to increase interest and better accommodate student participation from home — Review Writing, Multimedia Storytelling, Online Photo Gallery and Social Media.

Last year’s visual submissions:

Multimedia Storytelling submission by seniors Alicia Feyerherm and Allison Brooks:<https://hayshighguidon.com/top-stories/2020/04/18/students-find-creative-ways-to-stay-connected-during-covid-19-outbreak/#

Online Gallery Submission by senior Caitlin Leiker: https://hayshighguidon.com/slideshows/2020/04/18/memories-of-performing-arts-outlast-pandemic-uncertainty/

These events have now been extended to the regional level, along with more video-specific entries — Video Public Service Announcement, Video Sports Promo and Video News — to accompany their pre-existing Newswriting event.
For the first time ever, KSPA has also integrated a $350 prize competition, sponsored by KANSAS! magazine, titled “A Winter in the Heartland.”
In their prompt, KANSAS! states that they hope to capture each region’s “unique approach to winter, whether that is a community event, a family tradition or a new twist on winter this year,” which could include anything from holiday celebrations to documenting seasonal work, to students who are spending time outdoors or staying active during Winter Break.
Along with earning $350, the winning student will have their photograph published in KANSAS!
KSPA has also instated “Wild Card” entries. Traditionally, every school is allowed two entries per event, but now each school will be given three “wild cards” to enter an additional participant in three different categories of their choosing.
As for the writing categories, KSPA stated that they will be increasing the word count for all story-based events, which journalism adviser Jessica Augustine said she was very pleased to hear, as advisers statewide have been lobbying for it for years.
In terms of the video categories, Augustine said she was hesitant upon first hearing about them at the board meeting.
“I think it works against programs like ours where we have just print on [one side of the building] and video [in the E-building],” Augustine said. “Unless we have students who specifically do video in our class, we’d have to either forfeit in those categories and not send as many on to regionals and perhaps on to state, and that might cost us a chance at a state championship, whereas larger schools are all integrated to where they’re doing everything within one department, so they’re automatically going to fill those categories.”
Augustine said that, while the online contests may not be the experience that students are used to, regionals and state contests are still important because they help young journalists get their work out into the world.
“With journalism, especially, I think it’s one of those things where people criticize you more than they compliment you,” Augustine said. “So, I think it’s important for journalists to recognize each other and see that they’re doing good work, because they don’t hear that from a lot of people.”