Working in collegiate media is a hard-core commitment, one not always recognized by your classmates. Like them, you carry a full-time course load. You have family obligations (those folks expect to see or hear from you now and then). You try to have some semblance of a social life. And often, all of those things get shifted aside for your passion for journalism. You work five to 40 hours a week — late at night, in between classes (sometimes when you should be in them) and while your friends are hanging out or taking a nap. You deserve some recognition. And CMA wants to give it to you.
Below you’ll find the list of categories for CMA’s Apple Awards. (Given our annual spring location, what else could we call ’em?) You can enter them online now (whether or not you attend NYC14) or on-site at the Spring National College Media Convention.
Winners will be announced on the final day of the convention. And yup, you take home an actual apple — an environmentally incorrect hunk of wood, metal and marble. (Attending or no, entries are one price: $15. If you can’t make it to NYC14, we ship the trophy to you. We’ll also post a list of winners online.)
Decide which of these categories fit you — some will be familiar from other contests, and some are unique to NYC14 — and upload your entries here. (You can also bring them to the convention and enter on-site.)
1. Best Facebook Page: Your college-media outlet’s Facebook page will be judged on the quality and quantity of the following: its status updates, the news it reports or links to and the original photos it posts. Also crucial: the number of fans and the accuracy of the copyediting. Send your Facebook URL.
2. Best Tweet: In 140 characters, what did your college-media outlet communicate to its readers and what did the tweet link to? Send a screenshot (JPG or PDF) of your pithy/funny/informative tweet.
3. Best Homepage: The front page of your website, like the front page of a newspaper, should offer a breadth of enticing campus coverage. Is it well-designed and well-written? Is it loaded with inviting places to click? Submit your college media outlet’s URL.
4. Best Multimedia Package: And we mean real multimedia — submit the URL to a package that combines at least two types of media. That can mean a written story with video embedded. Or a slideshow. Or an animated graphic. Or any combination of this stuff.
5. Best Entertainment Broadcast: A lot of hard work goes into making entertainment broadcasts look breezy and sound fun. Whether for TV or just online, entertainment reports don’t get the love and respect they deserve. Well, now they do. Send a URL to a single broadcast that tingled your toes this academic year. Make sure it has solid production values, real reporting and at least some attitude.
6. Best Sex Column: Submit URLs to your three best columns of 2013. They should be well-written and offer informative and entertaining commentary or advice. And they should be a fun read.
7. Best Newspaper (four-year school, 5,000 to 10,000 students): Let’s explode a myth: Small-school staffs are not small-time journalists. They overcome hurdles their bigger counterparts never have to face. In fact, you could say they work harder to get each edition out the door. We recognize and honor these small-school, no-excuses journalists. Choose your favorite issue of 2013 and send a URL to the PDFs or upload optimized PDFs.
8. Best Newspaper (four-year school, fewer than 5,000 students): At really small schools, the workload is double and the burnout is triple. Oftentimes, the core staff can be counted on one hand. Yet that dedicated handful meets deadline, beats the local competition and accomplishes the impossible with every issue. Choose your favorite issue of 2013 and send a URL to the PDFs or upload optimized PDFs.
9. Best Newspaper (four-year school, more than 10,000 students): So here’s the category for the big boys. You know the drill: We want to see the best of everything in one issue, from design to reporting to writing to those clever cutlines in your A&E section. And there better not be a single misspelling. Choose your favorite issue of 2013 and send a URL to the PDFs or upload optimized PDFs.
10. Best Newspaper (two-year school, under 7,500 enrollment): There are so many unique challenges facing the two-year school newspaper staff, but one way or another, you meet deadline with outstanding local coverage. Producing a publication for the diverse student population is always a challenge, but when your staff is only there for a couple years, you learn fast. Choose your favorite issue of 2013 and send a URL to the PDFs or upload optimized PDFs.
11. Best Newspaper (two-year school, more than 7,500 enrollment): Hard work, dedication and determination make newspaper staffs great. Add to the mix the uniqueness and challenges of a two-year setting, and you have journalists who not only say they love journalism, but prove it. Choose your favorite issue of 2013 and send a URL to the PDFs or upload optimized PDFs.
12. Best Yearbook Cover: Submit one PDF of the cover only. Judges will consider both design and text.
13. Best Yearbook Spread: That’s two pages side by side. Judges will consider both design and text. Submit one PDF of the spread.
14. Best Magazine Cover (four-year school): Submit one PDF of the cover only. Judges will consider both design and text.
15. Best Magazine Spread (four-year school): That’s two pages side by side. Judges will consider both design and text. Submit one PDF of the spread.
16. Best Magazine Spread (two-year school): That’s two pages side by side. Judges will consider both design and text. Submit one PDF of the spread.
17. Best Magazine Cover (two-year school): Submit one PDF of the cover only. Judges will consider both design and text.
18. Best Print Ad: This can be a house ad for your own media outlet or something your staff designed for a client. We don’t care, as long as it’s breathtaking. We want to see eye-grabbing design with integrated text. It doesn’t have to be a big ad, but it has to think big. Submit one PDF that’ll wow us.
19. Best Student Media Leader: Write a letter signed by at least three staff members or upload a YouTube video featuring at least three staffers, attesting to the greatness of your editor-in-chief, station manager or ad manager. Cite specific examples of hurdles they’ve leapt, fires they’ve put ou, and projects they’ve shepherded. Judges will use the letter or video to decide the finalists, who will be interviewed via video conference.