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North Carolina Journalist of the Year

Each year the Student Journalist of the Year is selected from among the graduating seniors in scholastic journalism programs across the state. Entrants are evaluated by journalism professionals and faculty.

The winner receives the $3,000 Rachel Rivers-Coffey Scholarship from the N.C. Press Foundation and is eligible to submit a portfolio to compete for scholarships in the national Journalism Education Association High School Journalist of the Year contest.

Three alternates in the North Carolina contest will each receive $1,000 scholarships from the N.C. Press Foundation.

High school seniors who have been involved with journalism for at least two years and have at least a 3.0 unweighted GPA are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit a portfolio as well as an entry form, transcript, self evaluation of one’s “journalistic life” and letters of recommendation.

Students can submit their portfolio in one of three ways:

All application materials may be emailed to If you are mailing materials, we strongly suggest you postmark by Feb. 1.

  • PDF format – Students may submit their portfolio materials as a PDF, or PDFs, emailed to with the subject line “NC JOY.” You may use the templates on the right for this option.
  • Notebook – Students may compile their application materials into a notebook (typically a binder), with samples of their work printed out and included in the notebook.
  • Online portfolio – Students may use a free web hosting service, such as weebly or WordPress, to compile their application materials. The online portfolio should include samples of the student’s work, as well as the entry material (application, essay, and personal photo). Letters of recommendation and transcripts may be mailed to the NCSMA office.

Submissions must include work from at least 5 of the following categories:

  • Reporting and Writing
  • Editing, Leadership and Team Building
  • Design
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Photojournalism
  • Web and Social Media
  • Law, Ethics and News Literacy
  • Marketing and Audience Engagement
  • Commitment to Diversity (Note: Work in this area can also be embedded in other categories in lieu of creating a dedicated category in the portfolio)

Email a PDF version or your complete portfolio or a link to your online portfolio to or mail your materials to the NCSMA office. We encourage you to submit your letters of recommendation and transcripts in January. All materials must be received by Feb. 15. Questions? Contact the NCSMA office at or 919-962-4639.


Writing Sample Form

Design Sample Form