To: MIPA Student Media Advisers
From: Jeremy Steele, MIPA director
Subject:  2017-18 MIPA Contests

Deadline: Feb. 16, 2018

Download the 2017-18 Student Media Contests Packet (PDF)

  • Please go to get all contest information. You can also find all contest information by clicking on the Contests & Awards menu at the top of the page.
  • All awards will be presented at the MIPA Spring Awards in April at the Lansing Center. If you are unable to attend, you may pay an added postage fee to have awards mailed to you.
  • It’s important to carefully read category descriptions and contest rules. Failure to follow contest directions may result in your entries being disqualified.
  • YOU MUST BE A MIPA MEMBER TO ENTER CONTESTS. Membership information, including a member list that is updated weekly, is available at Membership in MIPA runs the academic year. Please complete new memberships or membership by Jan. 31 if you plan to participate in contests.
  • All entries must be submitted by the deadline to be eligible for awards. Entries submitted by mail must be postmarked by the deadline. Entries submitted electronically must be uploaded to MIPA using the contest submission system by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline day. Payment is due by the same deadline.
  • All entries should be uploaded to MIPA’s contest submission system via the adviser’s Submittable account. That’s how we connect those entries with your school. PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW YOUR STUDENTS TO CREATE THEIR OWN ACCOUNTS TO UPLOAD INDIVIDUAL CATEGORY CONTEST ENTRIES TO THE ONLINE CONTEST SUBMISSION SYSTEM!
  • DO NOT RELY ON YOUR CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICE TO MAIL YOUR CONTEST MATERIALS! It’s best to go to the post office yourself and mail the package! It is too important to you and to your students to risk letting it go through school mail. And to be even more sure (especially if you are mailing it on the deadline day), ask to see the postmark on the package and then get a receipt. We also recommend you get a tracking number.
  • Please keep a copy of each of the forms that you send for your records. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact the MIPA office if you have questions at 517-353-6761 or [email protected].
  • A Cut Above, MIPA’s showcase of first-place contest winners, is available online at This website features first-place winners in each division of previous contests to help you get an idea of what judges are looking for.

*It is possible to send in Newspaper, Web or Video Spartan contest entries up to one month late (see deadlines above) for an additional $40 fee. Note that results may not be available from late entries for the Spring Awards event. Spartan submissions postmarked after the late deadline may receive a critique, but will not be eligible to receive an award ranking. Late entries will not be accepted for the Individual Category Contests.

Solve our most common problems by carefully reading category descriptions!

  • Nearly all problems we ran across in last year’s contest were because entry instructions were not followed.
  • Carefully check over any entries uploaded into the contest system by students. See the contest how-to guide for information on how to view all of your entries.
  • While it’s not required, we strongly recommend that you submit original photos AND the final designed pages for photography categories. It helps judges more accurately determine the quality of an image.
  • Double-check to make sure entries are submitted into the correct category. Entries submitted into the wrong category will be disqualified.
  • Triple-check how many entries you submit. We had many schools over-pay or under-pay last year because advisers did not accurately count how many entries were submitted. Help us help you so that you only have to deal with your bookkeeper once!
  • If an entry is one of several similar items on a spread, make sure it is very clear which item should be judged! Last year, judges had a hard time with many entries figuring out which headlines, captions, photos and stories should be judged.

Find these materials at

These are the items you will find at the MIPA website on the contest page. Look for the Contests & Awards menu at the top of the page:

Spartan Critique

Individual Category Contests

Special Honors

What’s New for 2017-18?

Every year, we try to improve MIPA’s contests to keep up with changing technologies and the world of media. We also are constantly working to make the contests easier to enter and manage. Here are some changes for 2017 MIPA yearbook contests:

  • There is no special topic category this year in News Writing.
  • The News Design category Story Package was slightly revised to clarify requirements.
  • The News Design categories Information Graphic and Interactive Graphic were revised to clarify that judges may give preference to entries that are NOT made with templates. Entrants are asked to provide information on the entry form about software or online services used to create the entry.
  • Otherwise, all categories are essentially the same as last year.

Requesting Additional Information About Copyright Permissions

In last year’s contest, we had a variety of problems with potential copyright violations, mostly related to music included in entry materials (but also related to photos and graphics).

As a general reminder, if an element is not created by the student author of an entry, it 1) generally should not be used without the permission of the copyright holder and 2) always should be properly credited. Attribution avoids plagiarism, but permission is the only sure way to avoid violating copyright law. See MIPA’s Copyright & Plagiarism Policy for more information.

The entry form for digital media and video categories has been updated to ask for more detailed information about music and other potentially copyrighted materials.

If any music is included in a contest entry, you must include the title(s) of the track(s) used AND the source of the music. This information should include the specific music service library, such as Audioblocks, Soundzabound, Digital Juice, etc., or another specific source (such as URL) that could be used to verify that you have appropriately used this work.

Provide this information either in a name-slate/title card in a video entry or in the space provided on the entry form.

If you are making a “fair use” claim on copyrighted materials, please cite your reasoning in the entry form. Guidelines for “fair use” are quite restrictive, and educational use generally is not an acceptable fair use argument for any work that is published/broadcast outside of the classroom.