News Website Critique Information
MIPA will send your Spartan entry to an out-of-state judge who will evaluate it against the standards provided by the MIPA Spartan critique booklet. Participating media outlets receive a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Spartan Award — MIPA’s highest honor — based on how well they meet MIPA’s student media standards. Winners of the Spartan Award will be recognized at the Spring Awards in April.
The critique booklet with judge’s comments will be emailed to you after the awards event. Newspapers or newsmagazines are only returned if annotated. Contact the MIPA office if you have any questions. Please read the entry materials for other requirements.
- Deadline: March 19, 2021
- Late Deadline: April 30, 2021*
- *Add $40 late fee. If you are submitting under the late deadline, you likely will not receive results before MIPA’s awards announcement and we cannot guarantee you will receive a completed critique by the end of the school year. Entries postmarked after the late deadline are not eligible for award rankings.
- 2020-21 Spartan Website entry form – opens in a new window
- Preview the entry form – You must complete our online entry form, but here’s a Word copy of the questions we ask
- MIPA Seal of Distinction form – Learn more about the seal
MIPA News Website Standards
We recognize that in today’s multi-platform world, student media programs are constantly exploring new tools to do their work and that excellent programs may reflect a variety of approaches to producing news content that covers their school community.
We want to allow staffs as much latitude as possible in producing journalism in the best format for their school and community — whether that be in a more traditional format or one that reflects modern trends and approaches. All of this must, of course, be built around sound journalism practices.
- MIPA standards for news websites
- View the Spartan Website Critique Booklet (PDF)
- Complete the entry form
- Include an adviser’s statement memo to the judge detailing any special school situations, concerns or problems with the production. (This statement is written directly into the entry form.) For 2021: You will also be asked to describe how the pandemic has impacted your publication’s operations.
- Website will be evaluated for a period that may stretch 4-6 weeks, starting at the contest deadline.
- The entry fee is $40. Please make check payable to MIPA or pay online. If you are paying for several items – such as membership dues or individual contest entries – with the same check, please include an itemized list of those payments.
- You may turn in your entry up to one-month late (see deadlines above) for an additional $40, but late entries will result in delays in getting your critique back from the judge. Entries received after the late deadline will receive a critique, but are not eligible for award rankings.
- To complete payment by mail, use our contest payment form to create an invoice for yourself or your business office.
A note about contests
MIPA strongly encourages administrators, students and teachers to participate in a range of competitions to evaluate how well a student media outlet meets course objectives and professional standards. Judging in any single contest or rating service is a subjective process, and each has slightly different rules, deadlines and entry criteria. Each critique you receive can be an important educational tool for the classroom, but no single contest can provide a complete assessment of the quality of a program. That’s why MIPA strongly discourages the use of our contests and critiques, regardless of the outcome of that contest or critique, in teacher evaluations.