Star Awards Categories
These categories are subject to change when TSPRA performs its Star Award review. TSPRA uses an online submission system. We no longer accept entries mailed to the office.
Please read the category and instructions carefully.
CATEGORY INFORMATION FOR ENTRIES
- Review this information carefully and select the best category for your entry.
- If you are unsure about the correct category for an entry, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Judges may re-categorize an entry if they believe that the category entered is not correct.
- When you have decided on the categories for your entries, then set up a profile on the Star Award submission website or use the same login as last year and begin entering. This login is not the same as your TSPRA member area login. You may set up a profile that all your members may use to enter have them all on one invoice. You may start and stop and edit an entry.
Judges may re-categorize an entry if they feel the work has been entered in an incorrect or inappropriate category or division.
Internal and External newsletters entered in the same category.
E-published newsletters fall under a separate category and should be submitted there under category 40.
Printed newsletters are published more than once a year. Newsletters are judged by their appearance, editorial quality, usefulness of information, design, originality, readability and other criteria.
Submit one PDF copy of up to three issues. (Only three file uploads allowed.)
Multiple issues are submitted as a single entry and will be judged for their overall quality and value as a group. Only one award will be earned.
If your printed newsletter won a Best of Category last year you may still enter it this year since the content will be different.
1. Printed Internal and External Newsletters: printed for any audience
SPECIAL PURPOSE PUBLICATIONS
2. Flyer: special purpose publications using a single sheet, unfolded, printed on one or two sides, for any purpose; submit a PDF of the flyer
3. Brochure: special purpose publications using a single sheet, folded, for any purpose; submit a PDF of the brochure
4. Booklet: special purpose, bound publications, for any purpose; submit a PDF copy of the booklet; you may also upload jpegs of any specific pages or distinctive features you would like brought to the attention of the judges
5. Calendar/Planner: calendars or planners using any printed format may be submitted; submit a PDF copy; you may also upload jpegs of distinctive features you would like brought to the attention of the judges.
6. Program: any printed program format with any number of pages, for any purpose may be submitted; submit a PDF copy of the program; you may also upload jpegs of any specific pages or distinctive features you would like brought to the attention of the judges
7. Invitation/Announcement/Postcard/Thank You Note: any printed invitation, announcement, postcard or thank you note for any purpose may be submitted; submit a PDF copy of the invitation or announcement; you may also upload jpegs of any specific or distinctive features you would like brought to the attention of the judges
8. Poster: large, printed placards, bills, or announcements, created to advertise, publicize or promote something; a series of posters may be submitted as one entry and judged as a whole earning one award or individual posters may be submitted as separate entries, each eligible for a separate award; a fee will be charged for separate submissions; submit PDF or jpeg copies of the poster(s)
9. Holiday/Greeting Card: any printed piece relating to a holiday or event may be submitted, such as greeting cards, note cards, etc.; submit a PDF copy of the holiday or greeting card
10. Commemorative: any printed piece relating to a commemorative event may be submitted, such as holiday appreciation gifts, event takeaways, signs, etc. submit a PDF copy of the commemorative piece
11. Materials in a Language Other than English: any printed piece, for any purpose, in a language other than English may be submitted; the entry may be a dual-language piece in English and a second language; submit a PDF copy of the non-English speaking audience piece
12. Annual Report: printed multi-page annual reports that provide the public with statistical and financial information, as well as accomplishments of the organization for the previous year may be entered here; submit a PDF copy of the annual report; you may also upload jpegs of any specific pages or distinctive features you would like brought to the attention of the judges
13. Communication Plan: all types – general, crisis, marketing, special event, etc.; the plan should formally define who should be given specific information, when that information should be delivered and what communication channels will be used to deliver the information, presented in a manner that is creative and/or visually appealing; submit a PDF copy of the communication plan.
14. Handbook/Manual: printed, multi-page, general information publications regarding policies, procedures, etc. may be submitted and will be judged based on content, visual appeal, readability and creativity; submit a PDF copy of the handbook or manual; you may also upload jpegs of any specific pages or distinctive features you would like brought to the attention of the judges
15. Magazine: bound periodicals containing feature length articles with one or more issues printed and mailed between July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022; multiple issues may be submitted and they will be judged as a single entry (If your magazine is digital-only, it should be entered in Category 41.)
16. Image/Identity Package: packages are based around visual devices, used within a set of guidelines that administer how the identity is applied throughout a variety of mediums, using approved color palettes, fonts, layouts, measurements, etc.; these guidelines ensure that the identity is kept coherent, which allows the brand as a whole to be recognizable; the logo is the identity and brand combined into one identifiable mark that is the symbol of the organization as a whole.
Your image/identity package MUST first include an image (logo) and then THREE OR MORE other items that use that logo in a variety of sizes and ways, such as stationery, marketing materials (flyers, brochures,etc.), apparel, signage, advertising, messaging, promo items and products.
Submit your package as a PDF portfolio or as individual PDFs and jpegs.
Written and published stories, articles, speeches, etc. judged on their own merit, not by the publication’s design.
Submit a Microsoft Word document of your writing and proof of publication. Proof of publication may be a PDF copy of the cover and page of the printed publication or a screen shot for web-published stories.
You may not submit the same written article in more than one writing category.
17. Writing: an article, report, brochure, newsletter piece, speech, blog, guide or script, or other internal writing may be entered; may be published in print or an electronic medium.
18. Published News or Feature: a written and published news or feature story, as in an in-house or local media publication; 100% your work/words may be submitted.
19. Published News Release: a printed news release, press release, media release, or press statement that is a written communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something newsworthy may be submitted here; published and edited by a local media publication; submit copies of the original news release and the edited/published article for comparison
20. Specialty/Novelty Writing: as in social media, poetry, greeting cards, or writing for special events
For photos published in a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, on a web site, or for social media. These are not photo collages or photos that have been given an artistic treatment. Upload a 5” x 7” high resolution, 300 dpi, photo quality jpeg.
Include documentation of when and in what publication/medium the photo appeared. The photographer may include camera information and settings.
21. Photo – Sports Subjects
22. Photo – Academic/Classroom Subjects
23. Photo – Other Subjects
Art and designs judged on their own merit, apart from text or quality of the printed materials
24. Logo, Trademark, Symbol: submit artwork and at least three samples of how this art was used
25. Original Art: covers or interior art, Photoshop collages, using your original art or graphic devices (text only, etc.); no clip art or purchased templates are allowed to be used in this category
26. Published Print Advertisement: as published in a newspaper, magazine, newsletter, etc.; submit your advertisement artwork and also include a jpeg of the cover and page of the publication where the ad appeared
27. Advertisement – Other: non-published ads such as door hangers, table tents, billboards, banners, exhibits, etc,; submit jpegs or PDFs of the original art that was used to print the piece; also include a jpeg of the ad while in use, such as hanging on a door, a photo of the billboard, the banner on display, the exhibit set up and in use, etc.
Entries will be evaluated on the basis of creativity, production values, storytelling and overall effectiveness.
Judges will watch at least up to 5 minutes of the entry. They are not required to watch the entire entry, although many do. If you prefer, you may edit your presentation to highlight your best quality of work.
The entry must clearly state the status of the music used in the video. Is it copyright free? If not, list your ASCAP/BMI or other license number as well as the name of the song(s) and artist(s).
Although the entry may fit into more than one category, please submit it only once and only in a single video category.
28. News/Information: edited newscasts or news programs, not live; submit only a single episode
29. News Package: a video version of a press release about people or events, but not a special feature; typically shot, edited and posted within 24 hours; no canned music; intros, bumpers and tags are fine; does not need to be in compliance with news standards; should be 1:30 to 3:00 minutes in length
30. Documentary: a broad category intended to document some aspect of reality; should be scripted, using a narrative or interview track; includes visual images and an effective soundtrack
31. General Event: should cover an event planned by a district, association, foundation or organization who is a member of TSPRA. It should be told in a story format, not live, and should reflect all the happenings surrounding the event. It should be no longer than 3 minutes
32. Feature Story: A feature story video should be an in-depth, visual analysis of a topic or personal profile, including opinion and interpretation, unlike news stories, which simply provide facts. It focuses on human interest, and has a high level of emotional investment. It should include all about the details: painting a picture of a person, or place so your topic becomes alive to the viewer. It’s not just about facts; feature story videos are more about storytelling and weaving an interesting narrative. It may include human interest stories, personal profiles, video essays using personal narratives, humor pieces that add a funny twist to a story, competition/game show formats; may inform, entertain and persuade; unlike video news which can quickly go out of date, video features have a more general focus and do not go out of date after a few days.
33. Promotional: Promotional videos are engaging, informative PSA-style spots or short promotion pieces with the intent of promoting products and services that use advertising strategies and bring about awareness to the viewers of an organization and its products. Promo videos introduce or educate persons about a particular product, event or cause of an organization. Generally, a promo video is structured to be precise, direct and to only last for no more than two minutes in length.
34. Marketing: A marketing video focuses broadly on the organization itself and advocates for the organization as a whole rather than advocating for a particular product or service. Marketing videos are used to improve and bring about awareness of an organization’s brand and transparency. The aim is to get people invested in the vision and goals of the organization, so that they are more likely to engage with that organization. This can be done in a video that shows the history of a company/organization and what shaped it into the organization it is today. This type of video would also not need to be short, as compared to a promotional video. This type of video could demonstrate many traits about a organization and highlight its strategy and usefulness for the community and stakeholders.
35. Training/ Instructional: designed to teach its audience; advice on how to do things; stimulating, interesting and should engage the learner in the subject matter; may be interactive, include animation and other video devices
36. Live Sports Event: although not required, editing to show the best section of a lengthy, two- to three-hour sporting event would be effective since the judges are not required to view the entire event
37. Live Event Non-Sports: submit live newscasts and other live events here; although not required, editing to show the best section of a lengthy, live event would be effective since the judges are not required to view the entire event
38. Production in a Language Other Than English: a broad category for videos in another language; video will be judged on all regular criteria
Submit a link or a way to access the app or information online. Do not submit executable files that will attempt to install a program on the judge’s computer. Executable files will be disqualified. List the software and version used to produce the entry.
39. Miscellaneous Digital Media: This is a miscellaneous category for all types of digital media entries that do not fit into any other category. Examples may include but are not limited to: podcasts, social media filters, GIFs, toolkits, virtual presentations, etc. Submit URLs, PDFs, jpegs, etc. If the judge needs an access code or login, be sure to include that information.
40. E-newsletter Internal and External: a category for non-printed newsletters for any audience; submit a PDF; no native files; you may list links to URLs, but also include PDF copies; be sure the URL links are not in areas where the judge will need a login and password.
41. Digital Magazine: Digital periodicals containing feature-length articles and published exclusively online between July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021; multiple issues may be submitted and they will be judged as a single entry; bound and printed magazines that are also published online will not be eligible and should be entered in Category 16 Magazine.
42. Website Original Design: use this category to submit a web site that is NOT template driven and NOT created using a company that supplies website design and software services to schools and other entities.
Websites entered here will be judged on their design qualities along with content, audience engagement strategies, feature functionality, usability, standards compliance and cross-browser compatibility.
Submit a URL address. If the judge needs a login and password to access any areas that are private, be sure to provide that information.
43. Website Template Driven Design: use this category to submit a website that is template-driven or one where a private company was used to supply the code, website design and software services to schools and other entities. Website design will be factored into the judging, but more weight will be given to content, audience engagement strategies, feature functionality, usability, standards compliance and cross-browser compatibility.
Submit a URL address. If the judge needs a login and password to access any areas that are private, please provide that information.
Submit a PDF portfolio of no more than 10 pages. Include images from print and web as well as screenshots from social media, if used.
Judges will not view videos in this category.
44. Marketing Campaign: include information regarding the reason for your campaign, goals, overall theme, what media was used (print, web, electronic communication), frequency of contact with your target audience, time frame for the campaign, what resources were utilized, and what were your results? Only 10 pages of information.
45. Social Media Campaign: will be judged on originality, creativity, consistency and frequency of updates, interactivity with followers and public, evidence of boost in likes, followers, traffic, use of multimedia, design of dedicated landing pages; include information regarding the social media campaign strategies, measurable goals, overall theme, what social networks were used, frequency of contact with your target audience, time frame for the campaign, methods used to track data, and what were your results? Only 10 pages of information.
46. Special Event: briefly include information regarding the special event purpose, strategies, goals, overall theme, what media was used (print, web, electronic communication), frequency of contact with your target audience, time frame for event promotion, what resources were utilized, and what were your results? Include images from the event, as well as print, web and social media, if used. Describe how the event was unique, distinctive, and professionally executed. Describe any logistical details that played a role during the planning and/or execution of the event. Only 10 pages of information.
47. Education Good News Campaign: Submit a PDF portfolio of no more than 10 pages. Include information regarding the reason for your campaign that brought about good news coverage for your district, foundation, organization. What strategies were used to garner media attention? What media was used (print, web, electronic communication)? What was the frequency of contact with your target audience and the time frame for the campaign? What resources were utilized and what were your results? Include images from the print and web as well as screenshots from social media, if used. You may include two links to external videos created by outside media sources.
48. Video Portfolio: Submit URLs for a sample of work from at least four (4) of the ten (10) video categories: News/Information, News Package, Documentary, General Event, Feature Story, Promotional, Marketing, Training/ Instructional, Live Sports Event or Live Non-Sports Event. Your portfolio should include any written information that provides documentation of the research, planning, production, post production/editing, presentation and evaluation of the work submitted.
49. Photography Portfolio: Submit between 5 to 8 images including sports, classroom, and other subjects that show the quality and depth of photo coverage that was provided to your school district, organization or foundation. More than one photographer’s work may be included in the portfolio. Include information on cameras, settings and use of the photos in support of your organization’s communications program.
50. Bond Election: Submit a PDF Portfolio detailing your multifaceted bond election/campaign that employed a variety of media, occurring over a period of time, that encompassed well-defined goals, strategies and activities. Include information regarding measurable goals, overall theme, frequency of contact with your target audience, timeframe for the campaign, methods used to track data and results.
51. Parent Involvement/Volunteer Program: Submit a PDF Portfolio detailing your multifaceted parent involvement/volunteer program that employed a variety of media, occurring over a period of time, that encompassed well-defined goals, strategies and activities. Be sure to include information on whatever tangible outcomes resulted from your specific volunteer/parent-based strategies.
52. Staff/Student Recognition: Submit a PDF Portfolio detailing your multifaceted staff/student recognition plan that employed a variety of media, occurring over a period of time, that encompassed well-defined goals, strategies and activities.
53. School/Community Partnership: Submit a PDF Portfolio detailing your multifaceted school/community partnership that employed a variety of media, occurring over a period of time, that encompassed well-defined goals, strategies and activities. Include marketing materials, reports, programs, surveys, photos and any information that can illustrate your partnership. Include information on your planning, goals, objectives and what you learned from this partnership.
54. District/Association Special Event/Celebration: Submit a PDF Portfolio detailing your District/Association Special Event/Celebration that employed a variety of media, occurring over a period of time, that encompassed well-defined goals, strategies and activities. The Special Event/Celebration could have been held for any reason. Include marketing materials, reports, programs, surveys, photos and any information that can illustrate your event. Include information on your planning, goals, objectives and what you learned from this event.
55. Marketing: Include information regarding the reason for your campaign, including the data and researcg that identified the need. State the campaign goals, describe the overall theme, and how you used communications channels (print, web, social media, etc.) to reach your customers. Provide campaign run dates, frequency of contact with your target audience, the resources used, and the results. Demonstrate creative innovation and how you address the customer/marker needs with ADA-compliant images from print and online (desktop and mobile) channels. Judges will evaluate the full scope of the campaign’s execution, overall customer experience, and its measurable results.
56. Foundation/Partnership Special Event/Celebration: A Foundation/Partnership Special Event/Celebration is a special fundraising event to support a group’s mission. It gives supporters something to do while supporting a good cause. The event/celebration can be used as a way for your group to let donors put a face to your organization and for you to interact with the donors personally. Submit your Foundation/Partnership Special Event/Celebration entry as a PDF Portfolio. Include marketing materials, reports, programs, surveys, photos and any information that can illustrate your event. Include information on your planning, goals, objectives, how the event/celebration may have increased giving and what you learned from this event.
The Platinum Award honors a year-long project that exhibits the highest standards of excellence according to research, analysis, communication and evaluation.
A few examples of possible entries are:
- how you attacked a perception/image problem or built a program for public support for marketing your district, foundation or association
- how you created a year-long anniversary celebration
- how you planned and launched a new project
Submit your Platinum entry as a PDF Portfolio. Include reports, memos, clippings, surveys, photos and any information that can illustrate your comprehensive public relations program.
Include two-page summary answering the following questions:
- What objective was your year-long project designed to accomplish?
- How did you research and define the issue and analyze available data in order to formulate your objectives and decide on the best approach?
- How did you implement your approach?
- How did you evaluate your program’s effectiveness & monitor its success?
- What did you learn from this?
If you have any questions regarding entries call the TSPRA office at 512-474-9107.