Categories

Entries are invited in the following categories: School Newspaper, News Literacy Challenge, News, Features, Comment/Opinion, Photojournalism and Sport. The criteria and advice for the judges relevant to each category are below.

All entries must be submitted by close of entries on January 31st 2019

School Newspaper competition

We’re very excited to launch a brand-new School Newspaper competition this year! This competition will allow the whole class to take part in this fun and educational project which will give students a hands-on experience of the news publishing process.

Teachers can take the role of Editor-in-Chief and assign roles to students such as researchers, writers, photographers, videographers, sub editors, reporters, and designers.

All articles must be written by the students and may include for instance, local news reports, interviews and articles about school events, sport events, book/film reviews, and opinion pieces on domestic and world affairs.

Do let us know who your intended audience is, your class-mates, the whole school, the local community or even the whole country

All entrants must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Entry is free, and is open to all schools and classes participating in Press Pass
  • Entries should consist of a maximum of eight-page, A3-sized, portrait-orientation interactive PDF. An interactive PDF can include embedded audio and video content.
  • All entries must be created specifically for Press Pass 2019 and be suitable for displaying in a public environment.
  • Software programmes such as InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop can be used for the design of the newspaper. Alternatively, there are a number of free newspaper templates available online
  • Avoid including any content in your entries (e.g. text, images, brand names) to which you do not hold the copyright. If you do, you must be able to provide written permission for its use. Entries containing any unauthorised content will be disqualified. You can contact the following organisations for more detailed information and resources: https://irishwriterscentre.ie/pages/copyright-information
  • Please note that students can enter their individual Features/Sports/Opinion/ Photojournalism/News entries in both the individual categories and the school newspaper category.

News Literacy Challenge

The competition is open to both individual entries or group entries

With the knowledge you’ve  gained from the Press Pass programme and the Be Media Smart and News Navigator tips, we challenge you to teach your new skills to either a junior student such as a 1st Year or an older relative such as a grandparent.

Here’s what we challenge you to do:

  1. Start by teaching your ‘student’ why it is important to know and care about where your news comes from
  2. Explain the different types of news stories – news reports/features/opinion/analysis/colour writing etc. And the type of less trustful/’fake news’ stories which are increasingly prevalent
  3. Explain the ‘Be Media Smart’ and News Navigator tips
  4. Then ask your ‘student(s)’ to look up a trending news story (your teacher can help choose a news topic) and pick out 3 examples of what you believe to be trusted news reports
  5. Examine their choices with them. Did they find reliable news reports? Why do they think they are reliable?

(The above session should take about 45 minutes)

  1. Finally, in a personal essay/journal/blog entry (500 words or fewer) or video (two minutes or shorter), reflect on your experience of teaching news literacy.

For example:

  • What was it like to teach news literacy skills?
  • How did your students react?
  • What did you learn from the experience?

What we’re looking for:

We’re looking for honest, engaging reflections on your experience of teaching news literacy skills. Do you think the tips we gave you were helpful? Did you think of any better tips?

There is no right answer to this competition. We’re looking for your unique voice. Don’t be afraid to be funny or whacky! Or even include your students. Whether you do this on your own or with your class, have fun and we’re excited to hear how you get on!

News Writing Category

For your news article, you can choose from one of the following options:

a) Interview a local celebrity, politician,  or local personality. Write the article based on your interview

b) Identify an issue relevant to you, your school, or your area. Interview people relevant to the subject of your choice.

c) Focus on an event in your local area. Write an article giving details of what it is/has happened, how, why, when, and who was involved.

Maximum length 800 words (ideally no less than 600 words). This can also be submitted as a multimedia news article with video if you wish.

Advice from the judges:

  • Choose any news story in a newspaper that you consider to be a good news story and try and work out why you think it’s good.
  • It does not have to be an article about something of cosmic importance: it can be about something small and local, as long as you are sure it will be of interest.
  • Remember: short paragraphs, active verbs, plain but strong use of language.
  • If the story is about a row that’s going on somewhere, try to give both (all sides) a fair crack of the whip, without expressing your own view.
  • Write it so that anything that’s less important comes in at the end of the story, and the most important fact is right at the top.
  • Don’t just cut and paste from news that has already appeared elsewhere. Try and find out something that is really fresh and new, perhaps in your own locality.

Click to see examples of news articles:

Headline writing is a key part of any news story.  Click the front page samples below to see how the various NewsBrands titles covered the marriage referendum vote.

Feature Writing Category

For your feature article, you can choose from one of the options below

a) Write a profile of a person/group/organisation you admire

b) Interview a well known personality and write a feature on the interview

Maximum 800 words, minimum 600 words.

Advice from the judges:

  • Engage the reader’s attention right from the start.
  • Use description as well as quotes etc to vary the pace and colour of the piece.
  • Opinion not excluded, but better expressed indirectly.
  • Remember that humour is exceptionally difficult.
  • Have a good idea of the audience you’re writing for, maybe specify this in a note attached to your article.

Here are some examples of feature articles from the National Newspapers:

Photojournalism

A thought-provoking, action-packed, shocking or beautiful image – you decide.

All entries must be submitted in jpeg format with a maximum image size of 3MB and a minimum of 1MB.

Advice from the judges:

  • If you haven’t taken any pictures yet, think about where you can go to take a newsworthy picture. Are there any interesting events coming up in your area where you could bring your camera?
  • If not, try and take interesting photos of everyday life. Press photographers have to do this all the time – for example, children enjoying a sunny day.
  • See how many different types of news photo you can identify. These can often be identified by the headings on the page where they appear, for example sport, local news, business, style and so on. Try to take different types of photo yourself.
  • When you find a good subject, take lots and lots of pictures, from different angles, closer in, further away etc. and only send in the best one.
  • Make sure the pictures you send to the competition are JPEG files only. Don’t put them in a written document, and don’t make them too small or they may be disqualified. Ask your teacher for help with these technical details.

Comment/Opinion

An analysis of a current topic, an opinion style piece or a letter to the editor.

Analysis/ opinion between 400 and 600 words. Letters – no more than 400 words.

Advice from the judges:

Anyone can have opinions. A good opinion piece, however (and all the more so a good analysis piece) has an argument or a point of view that is supported by facts.

  • Arguing against accepted or conventional wisdom is sometimes a good idea – it helps you to get noticed!
  • Remember that, unless you’re already well known, your opinions won’t carry much weight unless there’s evidence that you know what you’re talking about.
  • Your own direct experience is often useful evidence in an argument/opinion. piece – but you have to remember that some of your readers may have had different experiences.

Here are some examples of column articles from the National Newspapers:

Sports Writing Category

A match report, an interview with a budding sports star, your account of a local sports event – have fun.

Maximum 800 words, minimum 600 words.

Advice from the judges:

This is the most difficult journalism of all. Everyone thinks they’re an expert, so what can you do to persuade them that you know more than they do?

  • Beware cliches. They act like lead boots in a sports story.
  • On the other hand, colourful, fresh comparisons, similes, metaphors (look them up if you’re not sure what they are) can give great colour and impact.
  • If you are focusing on one particular sports person, include non-sport info about him/her, and make sure in advance s/he’s interesting enough to deserve an article all to himself/herself.

Click to see examples of sports articles: