About: Student Video Contest

Carefully read the rules and entry guidelines below. Submissions can be made here. Entries are due May 31st.


The NPPA Student Video Contest provides eligible students with an opportunity to compete with their peers and have their entries reviewed by working professionals. Student members may submit video clips for eligibility.  This competition was created as a stepping stone to our professional TV contest; student members will compete within similar categories and rules.

The contest is exclusively for undergraduate or graduate students who are NPPA student members in good standing. Students must be enrolled in a school for at least one semester their entry year to be eligible. Thus, students who graduate mid-year are still eligible to submit entries throughout the entire calendar year.

The NPPA Student Video Contest is a vital function of NPPA and provides an important service to its membership. The contest recognizes outstanding work created by NPPA student members. The contest also serves to promote the highest levels of photojournalism and ethics.


Questions and comments can be submitted to the contest chairs at student.video@nppa.org. If you are a professional who is interested in serving as a judge for the contest, please reach out to the chairs.

Danielle Gatewood-Gill
Student Video Contest Chair

Adam Vance
Student Video Contest Associate Chair

Carefully read the rules and entry guidelines below. Submissions can be made here.


The NPPA Student Video Contest is open to all students who meet eligibility requirements.

To be eligible, you must have been enrolled as a student for at least one semester in the previous 12 months. You may enter work done during internships or while freelancing. Videos need not be published or broadcast to be entered. This competition was created as a stepping stone to our professional TV contest; student members will compete within similar categories and rules.

Yearly entry period and deadline

Entry Period: Work completed between April 15th of the previous year to April 15th of the current year.

Entry portal opens April 16th. Entries are due May 31th.

Number of entries

Students may enter a total of one (1) entry per category each entry period. If more are than one (1) entry in any category are submitted, all clips for that period will be disqualified.

Entry Parameters

An entry must have been created during the corresponding contest entry period dates. The entrant must have shot at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the entry. There is no penalty to the entrant if file video is used, as long as the entrant has licensed the file video or otherwise used the file video with permission from the copyright holder. File video cannot exceed more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the total story run time.

File Video 

File video is defined as video that was previously used in a newscast video that originated from a network feed, or stock video that was previously recorded. File video may also include surveillance video, amateur video, and video news releases (VNRs). File video does NOT include original video created by the entering video journalist’s colleagues. One exception to this rule exists with helicopter/drone aerial video for the Deadline News and Spot News Categories only. Any questions regarding the use of file video should be directed to the contest chairs.


The Student Video Contest rules rely on the honesty of the participants. Any abuse of trust will not be tolerated and may result in suspension of NPPA membership by the NPPA’s judiciary committee and entry disqualification.


It is understood that any copyright of an entry remains the property of the photographer or employer of the photographer. However, all participants agree that by entering the contest, entrants grant permission to NPPA for its regional and national publications to reproduce winning entries, either through hard copy or electronically, including but not limited to, News Photographer magazine, NPPA social media channels, on the NPPA website, and in whatever other settings NPPA may designate for the promotion of the contest, reporting and display of the contest results, and management of the contest, without any remuneration. Reasonable precautions will be taken to ensure the security of electronic reproduction.

Video formats

Preparing your video files:

  • Export your video using H.264 (.mov and .mp4 files are accepted)
  • File size limit is 100MB for each entry.
  • Make sure your audio channels are mixed.

Contest chairs reserve the right to assist with changes in submissions before the contest date if time permits. If a mistake is made, entrants can re-submit the form. NPPA will only accept the most recent submission. Late entries will not be accepted.


SOCIAL MEDIA (SOC): (Maximum length: two (2) minutes) A TikTok or Instagram Reel that tells a news story. The news story can be spot, general, feature, investigative, or sports.

SPOT NEWS (SPNW): (Maximum length: five (5) minutes) An unscheduled and breaking news event for which there was no opportunity for planning. This category recognizes the photographer’s ability to function in a stressful situation, keeping his or her photographic gear rolling to capture the overall scope of the scene, and zeroing in on individual reactions.

GENERAL NEWS (GENW): (Maximum length: five (5) minutes) A timely news story, serious in nature (not soft or humorous) that covers a planned news event, an issue, or person or topic of general interest and importance. It can be a follow-up or sidebar to a spot news story.

 NEWS FEATURE (NWFT):  (Maximum length: ten (10) minutes) A planned story that appeals to the emotional side of the viewer and the photojournalist puts considerable time and effort into the production of the story. Features that often score high show imagination and creativity. There is no limit on the time it took for the production of the entry.

 IN-DEPTH/INVESTIGATIVE (IDIV): (maximum length: fifteen (15) minutes) A planned story where the photojournalist puts considerable time and effort into the story’s planning and production. These entries are to be Issue-based OR Investigative in nature. This category is meant to capture stories that go beyond the daily turn and take a deeper dive into a storyline or topic. A series of stories may be submitted as one entry as long as the sum of the parts do not exceed fifteen (15) minutes. There is no time limit on the time it took for the production of the entry. Entries may be split into parts if they exceed the 100mb size requirement.

 SPORTS (SPOR): (maximum length: five (5) minutes)  A story from a sporting event that focus on the primary action/competition. Submissions can also include feature sports stories about subjects outside of game action.

 PROGRAM (PROG): (maximum length thirty (30) minutes) A formal, structured television presentation with dramatic impact of an event, condition or situation of current, cultural and/or historical significance. This can be in the form of a newscast, sports cast, specialty show, etc.

Student Video Journalist of the Year:

During each entry period, points are awarded in each category as follows:

1st place – eleven (11) points

2nd place – eight (8) points

3rd place – five (5) points

Honorable Mention – two (2) points

Entry – one (1) point per entrant per quarter; not one (1) per entry

The title Student Video Journalist of the Year is awarded to the student journalist who accumulates the most points during the contest entry period.

If there is a tie for the Student Video Journalist of the Year title, the following list of tiebreaker criteria is used to break any deadlocks:

  1. most stories placed
  2. most first place winners
  3. most second place winners
  4. most third place winners
  5. most honorable mention winners
  6. most stories entered

If a tie still exists, Co-Student Video Journalists of the Year will be awarded.


Continuing education is essential to the NPPA and its members. The NPPA values the sharing of professional techniques and ideas. Judges will provide a thoughtful and constructive critique for the entries.

Judges must choose a first, second and third place in each category, and possibly an honorable mention (but not required). If there are fewer than four entries in a particular category, a first, second and/or third place may or may not be awarded. However, the average score of the person’s entry must be a 4 or less. If the average score is more than a 4, it must be given a placement. There can be no ties. Judges may at their sole discretion award an honorable mention in any category regardless of the number of entries.


Inquiries can be sent to contest chairs Danielle Gatewood-Gill and Adam Vance at student.video@nppa.org.