Newspaper or Newsmagazine Critique Information
MIPA will ship your print newspaper or newsmagazine (three issues) 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 MIPA Awards Celebration, typically held in April.
The critique booklet with judge’s comments will be emailed to you in a PDF format 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.
- Postmark 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 Newspaper 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 Newspaper Standards
We recognize that in today’s multi-platform world, publications are developing in new ways and that excellent publications may reflect a variety of approaches to merging news in print and digital formats and this may mean some papers look very traditional while others leave areas of coverage once done in print to other platforms.
We want to allow staffs as much latitude as possible in producing newspapers that fit 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 newspapers and newsmagazines
- View the Spartan Newspaper Critique Booklet (PDF)
- Complete the entry form.
- You will be prompted in the form to provide an adviser’s statement 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.
- Mail MIPA three (3) issues of your newspaper or newsmagazine from the current academic year. Issues do not need to be consecutive. See form for details. Please note the following exceptions to this requirement for the 2020-21 academic year only:
- You may submit the three issues of your publication via PDF using the entry form (instead of mailing print copies). However, if the publication exists in print, we encourage you to submit it in print to us. We believe judges should evaluate publications in the format in which they were designed to be experienced.
- Publications only published electronically via PDF (and not in print) due to the pandemic may be submitted as part of your critique entry. If you published via your website without designing print-like issues, we encourage you to submit for a Website Critique instead.
- If you did not publish three print editions this academic year, you may request a waiver of this requirement by completing this form. Our contest chair will evaluate whether it’s appropriate to include an edition published last academic year or whether submitting fewer than three editions will provide enough information for the judge. You may submit your entry while you await a decision on a waiver.
- The entry fee is $40. Please make check payable to MIPA or pay via credit card. You will be prompted for payment when you submit the online entry form, or pay online later. You may combine this critique fee with other payments to MIPA, but please include an itemized list of those payments.
- For an additional fee of $45, the judge will annotate your newspapers or newsmagazines for you. That means the judge will write on the publication as well as fill out the critique booklet. (Annotation is not available for publications submitted as PDFs.)
- You may turn in your publication 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.
- Send entries to:
MSU School of Journalism
404 Wilson Road, Room 305
East Lansing, MI 48824
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.