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NFPW High School Communications Contest

The NFPW High School Communications Contest inspires students to excel in their quest for excellence. The only nationwide communications competition for high school students, the NFPW contest is endorsed by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Dow Jones announces first-place winners and promotes the competition in its publication distributed to journalism advisers across the nation, giving students and their teachers/advisers local and nationwide recognition.

Direct all High School Communications Contest questions to:

Gwen Woolf, 2014 Contest Director
12507 Mortar Lane
Spotsylvania, VA 22551

The NFPW High School Communications Contest operates on two levels.

Level 1: Statewide contests
NFPW State Affiliates host statewide contests open to all high schools, public and private, in their state. Students who live in states where there is no NFPW affiliate* or where the affiliate in their state is not hosting a contest in a given year are eligible to enter the NFPW At-Large High School Communications Contest. First-place winning entries in the affiliate and at-large contests are eligible to advance to Level 2, the NFPW national competition.

Most state affiliates host an electronic communications contest. See Entry Forms below for a list of:

  • States hosting electronic contests and those hosting a traditional, hard-copy format contest.
  • The 2014 state affiliate contest directors with contact information.

Level 2: The NFPW National competition
The National Federation of Press Women hosts a nationwide contest for all entrants whose work receives a first-place award in the affiliate or at-large contests. Because the 2014 NFPW Communications Contest is electronic, all affiliate contest directors will forward - through an online entry site - all entry forms and entries from all of the affiliate and at-large first-place winners to the national competition by the April 14 contest deadline.


  • State Affiliate and At-Large entries: Monday, March 10, 2014
  • NFPW entries: Monday, April 14, 2014

Contest Rules

Read the 2014 High School Communications Contest Rules

The contest rules apply to both the State Affiliate and At-Large contests as well as to the NFPW National Contest.


High school students compete at the affiliate or at-large level, with first-place winners moving on to compete at the national level. All 2014 national, affiliate and at-large contest entries must have been published, e-published, broadcast or issued between March 1, 2013, and February 28, 2014, otherwise known as "the contest year."


Students compete in 20 categories: Editorial, Opinion, News Story, Feature Story, Sports Story, Environment, Column, Review, Feature Photo, Sports Photo, Cartooning, Graphics/Photo Illustration, Single-Page Layout, Double-Truck Layout, Video News Story, Video Feature Story, Video Sports Story, Yearbook Layout, Yearbook Photo, and Yearbook Copywriting.

The contest category descriptors define the type of publication, article, or broadcast for each of the categories and explain what the judges will consider when evaluating the contest entries and giving awards. The descriptors are the same for the electronic contests and the traditional hard-copy contests.

Get the 2014 High School Communications Contest Categories and descriptors here

Entry Fees

  • State Affiliates set their own entry fees and publish them in the entry information provided to the high schools each year.
  • NFPW Entry fees are $10 per entry. Entries receiving first-place awards in the State Affiliate or At-Large contests are eligible to advance to NFPW's national competition. A check for $10 x number of entries and made payable to NFPW must accompany the entries.


Entries at both the state and national level of the NFPW Communications Contest are judged by communications professionals in their fields of expertise. Judges are asked to provide constructive comments for each entry and a merit rank to determine 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place and honorable mention.

Previous National Winners

2014 High School Communications Contest Winners list and press release.

2013 High School Communications Contest Winners by state (doc,pdf), by category (doc,pdf).

2012 High School Communications Contest national winners were honored at NFPW's annual conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

2011 - 83 national winners were honored at the NFPW Communications Conference in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Award Recognition

Each winner will receive a handsome award certificate. First-place award winners also receive $100 cash. Honors are presented during the High School Communications Contest Awards Luncheon at the annual NFPW Communications Conference. Some state affiliates provide financial assistance to students who attend the conference to receive their awards.

National Federation of Press Women
High School Communications Award of Excellence

NFPW has established an award to honor the high school student who submits the entry chosen by a small group of judges as overall best among the national first-place winners. To honor "the best of the best," $500 and an award to be displayed in a classroom or showcase will be presented to the award-winning student's high school journalism/communications program. The student also will be recognized along with all of the other national high school winners present at the 2014 NFPW Communications Conference in Greenville, South Carolina, in September.

Entry Forms


States hosting an electronic contest this year:

  • California (hard-copy option)
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

The At-Large Contest is electronic also. Students who live in states that are not conducting a contest this year may enter the At-Large Contest.

Electronic Entry Form: Students whose state affiliate is hosting an electronic contest or who are eligible to enter the At-Large contest, will access the online High School Communications Contest electronic entry form through the link below. All entries will be submitted and judged through the electronic contest site.

Electronic High School Communications Contest

Click the link to go to the contest on a secure site. Please read the instructions on the Login page before registering. The first step when filling out the online Entrant Form: Students will choose their state from a drop-down box to put themselves into their State Affiliate contest. Easy directions will guide the entrants at every step along the way.


States hosting a traditional contest (hard-copy format) this year:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado

Hard-copy Entry Form (not for students entering the electronic contest): Students whose State Affiliate is not conducting an electronic contest this year, should download and print the 2014 High School Communications Contest Entry Form through the link below. The form can be downloaded and filled in online, then printed. Entries must be submitted to the state affiliate contest directors (see entry form for directions) and postmarked by the March 10, 2014, State Affiliate Contest deadline.

Traditional Communications Contest Entry Form

State Affiliate Contests

Students living in a state with an NFPW affiliate participate through their state's high school competition. Students should contact the NFPW affiliate contest director about their state high school competition early in the school year for local details.

List of State Affiliate Contest Directors

At-Large Contest

Only those living in a state where there is no NFPW affiliate or where the affiliate does not conduct a contest may compete in the At-Large Contest. *These states have no NFPW affiliate: Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Students attending Department of Defense Schools overseas are eligible to enter the At-Large Contest.

Using the same guidelines, rules, and categories, accessible through the links above, the At-large Contest, operates like the state affiliate contests, with first-place winning entries forwarded to NFPW for judging at the national level.

Direct all At-Large Contest questions to:

Sandi Latimer
Ohio Professional Writers
614-878-4214 or 614-266-5218