Columbia Scholastic Press Association

CSPA is an international student press association, founded in 1925, whose goal is to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs.

How We Can Help

From our beginning in 1925, our goals still remain the same:

  1. to make clear expression the standard for success;
  2. to maintain the student media for students, by students and containing news of students;
  3. to conduct contests and offer awards to make student media better than they were; and
  4. to recognize that journalism can be a means towards broader understanding of society and people.


CSPA's mission to unite student journalists and faculty advisers at schools and colleges through educational conferences, idea exchanges, textbooks, critiques and award programs has been carried through the following programs:



Participants of the following events do not have to be a CSPA member to attend any of them.

Spring National Convention

This three day annual national convention takes place at Columbia University in mid-March every year. Attendance is open to student editors and faculty advisers to newspapers, yearbooks, magazines, video productions and online media from schools throughout the United States and Canada, as well as overseas schools following an American plan of education. Convention delegates can choose from 350 or more sessions organized in seven sequences: digital media, newspaper, yearbook, magazine, photography, broadcasting, advisers and law and ethics. All eight sequences will run simultaneously throughout the three days of the convention. Information on registration, sessions and including travel directions, are available here.

Fall Regional Conference

This one day regional annual conference takes place the first Monday in November on Columbia University's campus. The conference is open to student editors and faculty advisers to student digital media, newspapers, yearbooks and magazines. All types of secondary schools are eligible to participate: public, private and parochial. The conference offers about 80 sessions during this day. Session topics will include: writing and editing; staff organization and motivation; design and layout; suggestions for special areas of coverage; and legal and ethical concerns for advisers and editors. Advisers are welcome to attend sessions with students; in addition, some sessions will be organized for advisers only. The Conference takes place during a short academic holiday for Columbia University and usually occurs the day after the New York City Marathon. Since hotel rooms are hard to reserve because of the Marathon, this conference is primarily advertised in the Northeastern states, although student and teachers from other states may also attend. Registration and other information, including travel directions, are available here.

Summer Journalism Workshop

This five day workshop invites digital media and print newspaper staffs, held at Columbia University during the last week of June.  Registration for this five-day intensive program will be limited to 175 participants. Registration and other information, including travel directions, are available here.


Membership Services

The CSPA offers three annual competitions: Medalist Critiques, Crown Awards and Gold Circle Awards. Joining the CSPA is how a student publication, either print or digital, enters one or more of those competitions.


Medalist Critiques

Medalist Critiques offer a detailed written analysis of your print or digital publication, with recommendations for improvements. The results are returned with one of three ratings: Gold Medalist, Silver Medalist or Bronze Medalist. More information on the Medalist Critiques is available here.

Crown Awards

Crown Awards recognize overall excellence in either print or digital student publications, chosen by a panel of judges working as a team. Entries are compared against one another with similar age and experience levels such as high school yearbooks against other high school yearbooks, and so forth. There are NO written results returned to individual publications. More information on the Crown Awards is available here.

Gold Circle Awards

Gold Circle Awards recognize individual achievement by students from any CSPA member in many categories. Each CSPA member can submit as many as 30 individual entries as part of their membership. Additional entries can be submitted at a special member rate. Certificates are awarded to First, Second or Third Place and up to three additional Certificates of Merit are given for honorable mention in each category. Gold Circle Award entries require separate submission by June 17th (print news and magazine entries) or by November 1st (all yearbook and digital entries). More information on the Gold Circles is available here.

Advisers Association

Membership into the Columbia Scholastic Press Advisers Association is open to faculty advisers to scholastic pubications who are members of CSPA.

Founded in 1927, the CSPAA is a professional organization of teachers/advisers devoted to the development of the student press in accordance with educational practices.Its purposes include: to function as an autonomous unit of the CSPA; to foster the interests and promote the professional status of advisers to student publications; to encourage sympathetic teamwork between faculty advisers (as the official representatives of their publications) and the school administrators and the community; to inaugurate and publish studies of problems relative to students' publications as well as pamphlets, bulletins and monographs for advisers. Meetings are held annually at the March CSPA Convention and at the November CSPA Conference.

Meet the current board of officers of the CSPAA.