Illinois JEA

IJEA Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest

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Our new contest platform is now up and running! Please note that we have moved the entry deadline to March 25, 2022, to give advisers plenty of time to submit entries.


How to Enter the 2022 Contest

STEP 1: Fill Out and Submit the Adviser Information Form
(This is the same form we’ve used for the last several years.)

STEP 2: Use Our New Contest Platform to Submit Your Entries
(Please read “SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS” when you arrive at the platform homepage.)

IMPORTANT: If the contest platform does not currently list your school as one of the contestants, please contact Dave Porreca at [email protected], and he will add your school right away.

How to Use the New Contest Platform: SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

PLEASE NOTE: Everything you need to know about getting started with the new platform is contained in a section titled “SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS” located in the lower left corner of the contest platform homepage. For your convenience, here are those same instructions:

We are using a new contest platform this year, one constructed by BetterBNC, a company that specializes in administering publication contests around the country.

Before using the new platform, please fill out and submit the IJEA Adviser Information Form. This is the one holdover from our previous contest platform. Filling out the form takes less than a minute, and doing so provides us with the information needed to place your publication in the correct enrollment division and correct publication category (print, digital or hybrid). The form is available on the IJEA website at:

2022 IJEA Adviser Information Form

Details about the contest (deadline, entry fee, eligibility window, number of entries per category, etc.) are located elsewhere on this page. The fundamentals of our contest haven’t changed, so if you are a returning adviser, these details will be familiar to you. What’s new is the platform itself. To get started, click “ENTER THE CONTEST HERE,” which is located in the upper right corner of this page.

As your publication’s adviser, you will serve as your students’ “Contestant Manager.” So click “Contestant Manager” if it has not already been preselected for you. Then for “Media Organization” select the name of your school.

Contact Dave Porreca at [email protected] and let him know that your school isn’t listed in the “Media Organization” dropdown menu. (Currently only schools that participated in last year’s contest are listed.) He will add your school, and you’ll be good to go.

For “Password” type in “bnc” (all lower case). This is a generic password that you will use only once. Then hit “Login.”

After you login, you will immediately be asked to create your own password. You will also be asked to provide basic contact information and to accept the BNC terms of use. Once you complete all of that, hit “Submit.”

You are now ready to submit entries. To begin the submission process, hit “Submit Entry” located on the left side of the page. This will take you to your entry submission page.

The entry submission page is self-explanatory except for the first step. In the first step, you will be asked to choose a “Division.” In this context, “Division” DOES NOT refer to enrollment divisions. Instead, “Division” refers to different types of contest categories grouped together based on shared elements. You will find nine divisions listed:

• Art & Graphics (three categories — open to all publications)
• Digital-Only Categories (five categories — open to digital pubs or digital hybrids only)
• Features (two categories — open to all)
• Miscellaneous (four categories — open to all)
• News (two categories — open to all)
• Opinion (four categories — open to all)
• Photos (two categories — open to all)
• Print-Only Categories (five categories — open to print pubs or print hybrids only)
• Sports (three categories — open to all)

To begin the entry process, select the division you want. Then choose the category within that division which you would like to enter. After that, simply follow the directions; everything will be self-explanatory from that point on. Then repeat the process for each entry you want to submit.

Contest Categories

There are no changes in our contest’s 30 main categories. However, we will no longer have a special category for COVID coverage. If you have a COVID-related item you would like to submit, please enter it in whichever category seems most appropriate, such as Best News Story, Best Feature Story, etc.

Our 30 categories are organized into three main types: Core (open to all publications), Digital (open to digital-only publications or digital versions of hybrid publications) and Print (open to print-only publications or print versions of hybrid publications).

Descriptions of the contest categories are available at these links:

Core Categores (20)
Digital Categories (5)
Print Categories (5)

If your publication was designed as a print publication but was not actually printed and was instead distributed as a PDF only, please consider yourself a print publication for this contest.

New Contest Platform

IJEA newspaper and multimedia advisers:

A new format has arrived for our annual Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest! You can find it here:

 • 2022 IJEA Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest Platform
(Please read “SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS” when you arrive at the platform homepage.)

We have partnered with BetterBNC to offer a smoother and more efficient contest experience.

Our competition categories and basic scoring structure will remain unchanged, but participants will use the BNC platform to submit their entries.

The new platform will make the process of submitting your entries even easier than before. The judging process will also be more efficient under the new system, and the results will be organized and collated much more quickly for distribution to all participants.

Thank you for your past support of IJEA and all of our competitions. We are excited about this next step in what we can offer our members!

Deadline for Entries (extended to March 25, 2022)

The deadline for this year’s contest submissions will be 10:59 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, March 25, 2022. With respect to that deadline, the new platform will automatically cease accepting entries at that time, so deadline extensions will no longer be possible as they were in previous years.

Eligibility Window (extended to March 25, 2022)

To be eligible for the 2022 contest, your students’ work must have been published between March 16, 2021, and March 25, 2022. The eligibility window includes work published on March 16, 2021, or on March 25, 2022.

Contest Entry Fee

We charge a one-time contest entry fee of $20. IJEA contest fees are no longer waived. The entry fee for all participating publications is $20. But please note that this is a one-time flat fee. We DO NOT charge a fee for each individual entry.

IJEA Membership Requirement

Advisers, please note: In order to enter your students’ work in the 2022 contest, you must be a 2021-22 member of IJEA. Membership dues are $25 per year.

To join IJEA, please complete and submit our online membership form OR our PDF form. In either case, mail your $25 membership fee to: Jenn Galloy, IJEA Treasurer, 7405 Kenicott Lane, Plainfield, IL 60586. All necessary payment instructions are included in both the online and PDF membership forms. For more information about IJEA membership, click here.

Contest Winners Since 2010

Congratulations to all of our winning publication staffs and advisers over the years! Our contest is dedicated to recognizing the hard work and dedication you put into telling the stories of your schools. Prior to 2011 this contest was known as the Eastern Illinois High School Press Association Newspaper Contest.

2021 Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest (work published from March 2020 to March 2021)

Division 1 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 2 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 3 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 4 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 5 Winners (with links to winning entries)

• 2020 Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest (work published from March 2019 to March 2020)

Division 1 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 2 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 3 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 4 Winners (with links to winning entries)
Division 5 Winners (with links to winning entries)

• 2019 Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest (work published from March 2018 to March 2019)

• 2018 Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest (work published from March 2017 to March 2018)

• 2017 Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest (work published from March 2016 to March 2017)

• 2016 Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest (work published from March 2015 to March 2016)

• 2015 Newspaper Contest (work published from March 2014 to March 2015)

• 2014 Newspaper Contest (work published from March 2013 to March 2014)

• 2013 Newspaper Contest (work published from March 2012 to March 2013)

• 2012 Newspaper Contest (work published from March 2011 to March 2012)

• 2011 Newspaper Contest (work published from March 2010 to March 2011)

• 2010 Newspaper Contest (work published from March 2009 to March 2010)


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IJEA Newspaper & Digital News Media Contest