2020 CCMA Contest Rules

California College Media Association
2020 CCMA Excellence in Student Media

Divisions & Categories

  • Division A: Publications at four-year colleges or universities with enrollments of 15,000 students or more
  • Division B: Publications at four-year colleges or universities with enrollments under 15,000 students
  • Division C: Publications at community colleges

Regardless of frequency; print or online


  • Submit three different days’ complete editions for categories No. 1 and No. 16.
  • For print publications, submit PDFs of the printed page and highlight the item to be judged (i.e., border around story, headline, photo, etc.), or in the case of work published online only, submit the URL linked to the website, and submit a screenshot of the online entry for the CCMA awards presentation.
  • For online publications, submit URL with the link to the specific item to be judged, as well as a screenshot of the entry for the CCMA awards presentation.
  1. Best Newspaper (submit 3 different publication days’ complete editions)
  2. Best Newspaper Website (submit website URL and one representative screenshot)
  3. Best News Series (submit up to 5 articles in a series)
  4. Best Breaking News Story
  5. Best Non-Breaking News Story (investigative, human interest, etc.)
  6. Best Feature Story (any subject; e.g., news, sports, arts & entertainment, etc.)
  7. Best Editorial (unsigned OK, but entry must have a student’s name attached)
  8. Best Newspaper Column (3 entries by the same author; i.e., sports, arts & entertainment, etc. )
  9. Best Arts & Entertainment Story
  10. Best Sports Story
  11. Best News Photograph
  12. Best Sports Photograph
  13. Best Features Photograph
  14. Best Photo Illustration
  15. Best Photo Series (minimum 3 photos on same subject)
  16. Best Overall Newspaper Design (submit 3 different publication days’ complete editions)
  17. Best Newspaper Front Page Design
  18. Best Newspaper Inside Page/Spread Design
  19. Best Headline Portfolio (3 headlines by one person; include story with headline)
  20. Best Infographic
  21. Best Illustration
  22. Best Editorial Cartoon
  23. Best Special Issue/Section (could include back-to-school or orientation issues; not eligible for Best Newspaper category)
  24. Best Multimedia Package (submit URL of package; must include text plus multiple forms of digital media such as audio, video, photos, and interactive graphic)
  25. Best Social Media Reporting (submit summary paragraph — 250 words maximum — explaining subject, process and result of how social media was used; provide links (i.e., examples) that demonstrate how social media was effectively used.)
  26. Best Interactive Graphic
  27. Best Podcast
  28. Best News Video (Submit URL of video and screenshot of opening scene; can be stand-alone story or part of a package)
  29. Best Non-News Video (e.g., arts & entertainment, sports, features, etc.; submit URL of video and screenshot of opening scene; can be stand-alone story or part of a package)

Either affiliated or not affiliated with a campus newspaper; print or online. One division in this category that includes schools with 15,000 or more students, under 15,000 students and community colleges.


  • A school may submit more than one entry in the Best Magazine category (see No. 1).
  • Submit PDFs of the work or, in the case of work published online-only, submit URLs linked to the website and screenshots. Highlight the item to be judged with a border (i.e., story, photo, etc.).
  1. Best Print Magazine (Must submit PDF of one entire magazine; however, may submit more than one issue of an entire magazine in this category.)
  2. Best Digital Magazine (Must submit URL of one entire magazine; however, may submit more than one issue of an entire magazine in this category.)
  3. Best Magazine Story
  4. Best Magazine Cover Design
  5. Best Magazine Inside Page/Spread Design i.e., news, sports, arts & entertainment, features, etc.)
  6. Best Magazine Photo
  7. Best Magazine Photo Series (Minimum three (3) photos on same subject.)

All newspapers and magazines; print or online


Submit PDFs of the printed page and highlight the item to be judged (i.e., border around story, headline, photo, etc.), or, in the case of work published online only, submit the URL linked to the website, and submit a screenshot of the online entry for the CCMA awards presentation.

  1. Best Print Advertisement
  2. Best Online Advertisement

All media; print or online.


Description: Is your news organization pushing the boundaries of journalism? Describe how your newsroom used an innovative idea, medium or strategy to engage your audience and how effective it was. Submit an overview of the project in 250 words or less and include screenshots, analytics or other data to demonstrate its effectiveness.


  • All entries must have been published between Dec. 8, 2018 and Dec. 13, 2019. All entries must be uploaded by Dec. 15, 2019, at 9 p.m. PDT.
  • Submit three different days’ complete editions for categories No. 1 and No. 16. For all other categories, limit the number of entries to NO MORE THAN ONE per news organization for each category.
  • The same entries may not be submitted in more than one category.
  • Entry forms must be completely filled out and uploaded properly. An incomplete entry form or improperly uploaded entry will result in disqualification.
  • Remember: A student’s name must be listed for every entry except the Best Newspaper and Best Magazine (Nos. 1) categories or Best Special Issue/Section (No. 22) category.
  • Multiple entries by the same individual in the same category will be disqualified unless one of the entries is a double byline. However, an individual may submit entries in multiple categories.
  • If the same item (i.e., story, photo) is entered in more than one newspaper, magazine and/or online category, it will be disqualified from all categories.
  • Entries may be accompanied by support statements, including any impact on the school/community as a result of publication of the items contained in the entries submitted. Any written statements must be limited to 250 words.
  • All entries should reflect the work of enrolled students at the time of publication at the college or university, unless otherwise credited.
  • There must not be mandatory review of content by an adviser before publication (i.e., work done as a class assignment may not be entered in the contest).
  • The judges reserve the right to modify the awards program at any time. If, at the discretion of the judges, there are insufficient quantity or quality of entries in a category, prizes or prize levels may not be awarded in that category, or categories may be combined.
  • The decision of the judges is final.

PAYMENT: Membership dues for CCMA are $200 for 2019-20, which includes entry in the 2020 CCMA Excellence in Student Media contest. You can enter the contest before payment is received; however, your payment must be received by Jan. 24, 2020, for your school’s entries to be eligible for the awards.

Address QUESTIONS to:

Michael Chute, Vice President
CCMA Excellent in Student Media contest


Entries to the 2020 CCMA Excellence in Student Media contest will be submitted using BetterBNC Media Awards Platform. Below are directions for preparing and submitting entries. If you have questions, please contact Michael Chute at (951) 552-8721, or mchute@calbaptist.edu.

IMPORTANT: BetterBNC is optimized for the Google Chrome browser; and Firefox for PC and Macintosh/Apple. Please have a recent version downloaded and installed for the best contest experience.

The deadline for all entries is Dec. 15, 2019.

To log in:

  • Go to http://www.betterbnc.com.
  • Click contestant login
  • Select the appropriate contestant type:
    • If you are the single point of contact for your organization, select Contestant Manager, then skip to “d. Contestant Manager Login”.
    • If you have received an email authorizing you to submit entries on behalf of your media organization, select “Authorized Entrant” on the log in page, then skip to “e. Authorized Entrant Login” below.
  • Contestant Manager Login:
    • Select your Media Organization
    • Enter your password**
    • Click “Login”
  • **Note: If it is your first time logging into your account, use the temporary password: bnc (lower case). After you log in using that temporary password, the system will require you to update your password. Going forward (including future years) you will log in with the password you set.
  • If the designated Contestant Manager should leave your media organization, please contact your Contest Administrator to have the contact information in your account updated.
  • Authorized Entrant Login:
    • Select your Media Organization
    • Enter your email address
    • Enter your password
    • Click “Login”

To Submit Entries:

  • Click “Submit Entry” from the Manage Entries page
  • Select a Division (group of Categories)
  • Select a Category
  • Select the Media Organization where the entry was published or performed (Open Call Only)
  • Enter the entry headline or title
  • Add entry content (may vary by category)
    • To upload digital file attachments (other than audio/video), click
    • “Browse”, navigate to the desired file, and then click “Open”. Allowed file types are PDF, DOC/DOCX, TXT, JPG, GIF, and PNG. To upload additional attachments to a single entry, click the “Browse and Attach More Files” button. BetterBNC will allow up to about a 20MB file, however, we suggest keeping your files around 5MB in case the judges have a slow connection. For files larger than 20MB, you can click the “RealView” icon on the Submit Entry page to create a free account, upload your files, and then copy and paste the URL into the URL field on the Submit Entry page. You may also use a similar 3rd-party website that provides hosting services (scribd.com, issuu.com, etc.)
    • To add web/audio/video content, copy and paste the content’s URL address into the provided Website URL field. To host your content online, either upload it to a free streaming content website (e.g.YouTube) or talk to your IT person about adding it to your stations/publications website. Make sure the content will be accessible online throughout the duration of the contest and awards process. Here are some examples of free streaming content websites where you can upload audio and video content:
    • IMPORTANT: Please be sure that items are not behind a paywall or a password-protected area. If they are, you must provide username/password info in the Comments section of your entry. Judges may disqualify your entry if work samples are inaccessible.
  • Add Comments
  • Enter Credits
  • Click “Submit Entry”

To Pay for Entries:

  • When all entries are submitted log into your account
  • Navigate to the Manage Entries page
  • Click “Calculate Entry Fees”
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to pay for your entries

2018 CCMA Banquet Tickets On Sale

Tickets for this year’s California College Media Association awards banquet are now on sale online.

The dinner is the final scheduled event of the Associated Collegiate Press Midwinter National College Convention March 1-3 at the Long Beach Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. Advance  ticket sales close Feb. 27.

Buy Tickets

2018 CCMA contest deadline is Dec. 8

Students from The Orion at Chico State and their CCMA awards in 2015.
Students from The Orion at Chico State and their CCMA awards in 2015.

Entries are now being accepted for CCMA’s 2018 Excellence in Student Media contest. The deadline is 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.

This year’s contest includes 45 categories of work on newspapers/websites, magazines and advertising. Schools may enter one of three divisions:
• Publications at four-year colleges or universities with enrollments of 10,000 students or more
• Publications at four-year colleges or universities with enrollments under 10,000 students
• Publications at community colleges.

Entries must have been published between Dec. 8, 2016, and Dec. 8, 2017.

Complete rules and entry instructions are available at  http://bit.ly/2Bme1zR.

This Year’s CCMA Contest and Awards Banquet

trophy graphicHere are this year’s dates for CCMA’s annual college news contest and awards banquet:
• We anticipate opening online contest entries at the beginning of November.
• The deadline for this year’s contest will be Dec. 8.
• The awards banquet will take place Saturday, March 3, at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach. Again this year, our celebration will be part of The Associated Collegiate Press Midwinter Convention.

Letter from CMA president about California travel restrictions, Texas and Kentucky conventions

Dear California friends and members,
College Media Association leadership is deeply disappointed in the laws recently passed in Texas and Kentucky, and we are aware of the state of California’s restrictions on travel to those states and the six others with similar laws.
We regret that California’s restrictions may prevent or inhibit your ability to travel to the fall national college media convention this October in Dallas.
While we do not condone the discriminatory laws in Texas and Kentucky that deny people of their rights and dignity and interfere with our members’ and their students’ access to journalism education and networking, our organization is in a difficult situation.
The previous leadership signed the contract for Dallas in 2013, long before Texas began talking about Senate Bill 6. As Texas began discussing the legislation, CMA attempted preemptive measures, partnering with Associated Collegiate Press, College Media Business and Advertising Managers, Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association to issue a letter to Governor Greg Abbott and other leadership asking them to consider the ramifications this law would have on Texas, its citizens and our organizations. We never received a response. When the bill was brought back up in special session in June, we directly appealed to Speaker Strauss to deny this bill from becoming law. Again, we did not hear back.
But we are continuing to appeal to Texas legislators. CMA/Associated Collegiate Press, College Media Business and Advertising Managers, Journalism Education Association and National Scholastic Press Association are all planning to hold events this year in Texas. JEA/NSPA will hold a convention in November for 5,000 high school students and teachers in Dallas, and College Broadcasters, Inc. will host its fall meeting in San Antonio. That’s why we believe it is important to again draft a letter to the Texas government explaining how this law and the California restrictions will affect all of our events and the Texas economy.
CMA and ACP will also begin appealing to Kentucky to reconsider their discriminatory laws, since our joint fall convention will be held there next fall. This contract was signed in June 2016. As you may know, many things come into play when selecting a convention city; usually we consider ease of travel for attendees, cost of lodging and access to professional media. Sadly needing to consider discriminatory laws has become a new priority for us. For example, when Georgia passed a similar Bathroom Bill, CMA appealed to Governor Nathan Deal to veto that decision, and he did. We admit that the movie industry lobbying for the same outcome probably contributed more than we did, but we are still happy with that outcome.
We understand that these attempts do not help your situation and or give you access to CMA training and networking, and we don’t take that lightly. We are working on alternatives to provide education and training you’ve requested. This year we hosted our first webinar with Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center, and that led us to invest in webinar-hosting software and to develop more distance-learning opportunities for our members and their students. We will certainly be looking to expand that program this year, especially in light of this latest development. CMA will also be exploring the possibility of hosting a workshop in California or nearby. These workshops work best when partnered with a host institution and focused on a central topic, as the 2015 Advisers Workshop in Houston or the 2016 Diversity Workshop in Corvallis, Ore. demonstrate.
Please know that CMA stands behind you and will be looking for ways to make the situation more palatable. If you have any ideas how to affect change in the states that have passed these laws, please feel free to share them. If you have ideas for webinars or workshops, please to share those with us. We would like to do whatever we can to best deal with this situation and avoid similar ones in the future.
Kelley Lash
CMA President

Election Results: Two Newcomers Join CCMA Board

Brigette Lugo and Jennifer Burger
New CCMA board members Brigette Lugo and Jennifer Burger

Two new members were elected to the California College Media Association board of directors in last weekend’s online election.

Brigette Lugo, a student journalist at Mt. San Antonio College, and Jennifer Burger, adviser to The Runner at CSU-Bakersfield, join the board as Southern California student representative and vice president of membership, respectively.

Twelve CCMA member schools cast ballots in the election May 12-14. Returning board members are:
Mark Plenke, president
Michael Longinow, secretary
Gretchen Macchiarella, treasurer
Michael Chute, vice president for contests
Brady Teufel, vice president for training and conference
Toni Albertson, board member at large
Richard Craig, board member at large
Joe Wirt, board member representing the media industry

One at-large board seat and the Northern California student representative position remain vacant. CCMA will be contacting two write-in candidates for the at-large seat to see if they’re interested in serving.

Candidate info for CCMA board of directors

Most of the current California College Media Association board members are seeking re-election to one year terms in this spring’s election, which will be conducted online from May 12-14.

Here is biographical information for each candidate:

Mark Plenke (incumbent)
Mark is a faculty member at California State University, Chico, and adviser to its student newspaper, The Orion. He came to Chico five years ago from Minnesota, where he advised award-winning student newspapers at Normandale Community College and Anoka-Ramsey Community College. He is a former daily newspaper reporter and editor and spent two years in news management at KMSP-TV in the Twin Cities. He holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree from Southwest Minnesota State.

Vice President, Training and Conference
Brady Teufel (incumbent)
Brady is an associate professor of journalism at Cal Poly where he teaches courses in digital journalism, news reporting, visual communication and photojournalism. He is also the adviser of mustangnews.net. Teufel earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his master’s degree in journalism from University of Missouri. Teufel has worked for magazines, newspapers and Internet startups. Most recently, his website digitaljournalism.org was named one the 105 Vital Resources for Journalists by journalismdegree.org.

Vice President, Contests
Michael Chute (incumbent)
Professor of journalism and public relations at California Baptist University, Michael is also director of the Journalism & New Media and Public Relations program there. An award-winning writer, editor and photojournalist, he has held numerous positions in journalism and public relations, and his work has appeared in a number of wire services, newspapers and magazines. Michael served 15 years as an overseas correspondent, living in Brazil, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and learned Portuguese and Chinese. He has traveled in more than 50 countries throughout South America, Asia, Europe and Africa, and covered major international stories, including the Tiananmen Square crackdown, fall of the Soviet Union, Pol Pot regime, overthrown of the monarchy in Nepal, eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, among many others.

Vice President, Membership
Jennifer Burger
Jennifer has been the adviser to The Runner at CSU Bakersfield since 2013. She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 12 years in California before starting her teaching career. Jennifer has a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley (’03) and a bachelor’s in journalism from CSU Sacramento (’98).

Gretchen Macciarella (incumbent)
Gretchen is the publisher and faculty advisor for The Sundial at California State University, Northridge. Prior to joining CSUN, she was the managing editor for digital at the Ventura County Star, where she held several position over a decade. She earned a master’s degree in digital journalism and design from the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Michael Longinow (incumbent)
Michael is a professor and the faculty adviser to The Chimes and Chimes online in the Department of Media, Journalism and Public Relations at Biola University. A campus newspaper adviser for 27 years, he has served as an officer for campus media groups in two regions of the country: Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association (16 years) and with CCMA (since 2007). He is active as a workshop presenter with the Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Advisers. He serves as national executive director of Advisers of Christian Collegiate Media.

At-Large Board Members

Toni Albertson (incumbent)
Toni is a professor of journalism and adviser to student media at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. Since coming to Mt. SAC in 2006, she turned around a troubled journalism program with low enrollment and turned it into an award-winning program that was called by Nieman Lab ” the most daring, innovative college media outlets in the United States.”  Under her guidance, the student media stopped all print publications, and in a unique partnership, moved its newsroom over to Medium. The student media also recently launched a hyper-local reporting news site on Twitter, with student staff covering more than 15 local communities, and a news site in partnership with the Washington Post making Mt. SAC the only community college, along with USC Annenberg, Columbia, and University of Maryland, to be included in this pilot program.

Richard Craig (incumbent)
Richard has been adviser to San Jose State’s Spartan Daily student media outlet since 2002 and oversaw the development of a program that has won numerous state and national awards.  A professor at San Jose State, he’s been a CCMA board member for three years and has been involved with many other journalism organizations in California and nationwide.  As a CCMA board member, he has served as the master of ceremonies at the CCMA’s annual awards banquet each of the last three years.

Joe Wirt (incumbent)
Joe has served as the media industry representative on the board for the past two years and oversees business development and external relations for CNPA Services Inc., which serves nonprofit associations including the California Newspaper Publishers AssociationHe also is administrator of the California Press Foundation. He serves as career and education spokesman for the California newspaper industry. And he highlights training opportunities and business-to-business opportunities for managers and personnel at California newspapers. Joe also edits a weekly email newsletter (CNPA Bulletin) and a quarterly newspaper (California Publisher) covering industry news and issues. He manages website content and, in his spare time, strives to speak IT, marketing, social media, and digital and mobile publishing. He was editor of The Daily Collegian at Fresno State in Fall 1986.

Student Board Member
Brigette Lugo
Brigette is the managing editor and incoming editor-in-chief of the Washington Post-partnered student media news site, Saconscene, at Mt. San Antonio College. She is also the editor of Somos, a Spanish-Language multimedia series that she created for the student media at Mt. SAC. She has won numerous awards from CCMA, JACC, and CMA for her news and feature reporting. She plans to transfer after completing her associate degree in journalism at Mt. SAC in Spring 2018 to a local university to pursue her bachelor’s in journalism with an emphasis on Spanish language journalism. She hopes to work as a multimedia journalist in Spanish language media.