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2024 Statewide Media Contests are now open. Click on the “Enter Here” tab to submit entries and make payment.

NCSMA offers critique services and All-North Carolina media contests. Award categories include Achievement, Honor, Distinction and All-North Carolina.

All-North Carolina is NCSMA’s highest rating. All-North Carolina media demonstrate excellence in all areas of journalism, combining effective writing and design with broad and diverse coverage. Tar Heels, the highest honor, are awarded to select student media from the All-North Carolina class.

Staffs may elect to enter section contests, and students may also submit entries for more than 50 individual contests.

Critique services of NCSMA offer annual opportunities for students and staffs to distinguish themselves and to receive feedback for improvement. NCSMA’s critique service is one that features a flash critique returned to attendees at the annual N.C. Scholastic Media Institute. Awards are announced at NCSMI each summer.

Click here for the 2024 Statewide Media Contests Information Sheet.

Click here for a description of contest categories. 

2024 Contest Entry Process

NCSMA encourages all schools in North Carolina to participate in the annual statewide media contests.

Contest deadlines are May 15 for broadcast, online news and radio podcasts, and June 1 for newspaper, yearbook and literary magazine. These are the deadlines by which we must receive everything. Judging begins immediately.

For help combining PDFs and spreads, consult this handout.

For help compressing large files, consult this handout.

If advisers or staffs have additional questions about the contest entry process, contact us at

To enter, please submit the following:

Note for 2024: All contest entries must be submitted online. Newspaper, literary magazine and yearbook staffs may also ship a copy of their publication for showcase at the summer Institute.

  • Complete the Google Form for overall contest entries. This form must be filled out once per publication. (Optional: Include a letter to the judges with any special circumstances or information you wish us to have). Follow instructions on how to submit overall entries online for newspaper, online news, yearbooks, literary magazines, broadcasts and radio/podcasts. Update: When submitting to overall contests, publications will automatically be entered into section contests for a flat fee of $75.
  • Individual contests are optional. Indicate the number of individual contest entries ($5 per entry) on the appropriate individual Google Form. (*You cannot submit individual entries unless you have submitted an overall entry). Google forms and instructions for uploading individual entries as PDFs or by submitting URLs are below:


  • Share all contest materials to through Google Drive (make sure editing rights are enabled). Submit statewide media contest payments below:


In order to be eligible for the statewide contests, all entries must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on May 15 and June 1. Entries received after May 15 and June 1 deadlines will not be eligible for Tar Heels.

NCSMA staff will be available to assist staffs making online submissions, and we will post availability for that purpose. See @NCSMA or for more information.

NCSMAA membership is free for North Carolina high school and middle school journalism teachers and student media advisers who participate in NC Scholastic Media Association events, contests, workshops and fellowships – and free for those who register here.