Yearbook Critique Information
MIPA will ship your yearbook 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’s awards ceremony in April.
Judges also recognize all yearbook critique entries with a Commendation to one of the six critique categories outlined in MIPA’s critique booklet. This often is the top-scoring category, but may be another category the judge deems worthy of praise for students’ effort.
The critique booklet with judge’s comments will be emailed to you once it is received in the MIPA office. Yearbooks are only returned if annotated or if a postage-paid (no stamps allowed), self-addressed mailer is included with the entry. Contact the MIPA office if you have any questions. Please read the entry materials for other requirements.
Like tax day, MIPA’s yearbook critique deadlines only change if the date falls on a weekend: July 15 for spring-delivery books and Nov. 15 for fall-delivery books.
- Spring Yearbook Spartan Deadline:
July 15, 2020extended to Aug. 17, 2020
- Spring Yearbook Spartan Late Deadline:
Aug. 17, 2020*extended to Nov. 16 2020*
- Please note: If you have not received your spring-delivery book from your printer or cannot get to your book because of limited school building access, you may request a further extension of the critique deadline without penalty. Contact the MIPA office.
- If you normally have a spring book, but have delayed publication due to the pandemic, you may submit under the fall-delivery critique deadlines.
- Fall Yearbook Spartan Deadline: Nov. 16, 2020
- Fall Yearbook Spartan Late Deadline: Dec. 15, 2020*
*Add $40 late fee. Yearbooks postmarked after the late deadline are not eligible for award rankings. (MIPA may waive this rule upon request during the pandemic.)
- 2020 Spartan Yearbook entry form – opens in a new window
- Preview the entry form – You must complete our entry form online, but here’s a PDF copy of the questions we ask
- MIPA Seal of Distinction form – Learn more about the seal
MIPA Yearbook Standards
Like all forms media, yearbooks evolve to reflect modern communication trends. MIPA encourages staffs to experiment with story formats, photography, design and book organization to reflect what they see in professional media, challenging tradition as they seek to meet the needs of their audiences. We do not encourage the production of formula books.
At the same time, we must uphold high standards. Ethical principles in journalism such as fairness, inclusiveness and accuracy and standards of our craft such as grammar, composition, color theory, etc., hold steady.
We have taken this delicate balance into consideration in designing our critique standards.
- You must mail MIPA a copy of your yearbook exclusively for the critique service.
- The online entry form includes a space for you to write a memo to the judge detailing any special school situations, concerns or problems with this yearbook’s production. This adviser statement must be entered directly into the form. Attachments are not allowed.
- The entry fee is $45. Please make check payable to MIPA or pay online with a credit card. After completing the entry form, you will be given an option to pay the entry fee or create an invoice for your business office.
- For an additional fee of $45, the judge will annotate your yearbook for you. That means the judge will write in the yearbook as well as fill out the critique booklet.
- You may turn in your yearbook 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. Yearbooks received after the late deadline will receive a critique, but are not eligible for award rankings.
- You may ship your Spartan entry in the same package as a book for the individual category contest. Please note: You must send two copies of your book if you are entering the critique and the individual category contest.
- We encourage you to get a tracking number when you ship your book to MIPA (and keep it in a safe place). This will help you confirm delivery and help all of us if your package gets lost or damaged during shipping. (This is rare, but does happen!) Send entries and fee to:
MIPA — Spartan Critique
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.