High School Essay Contest

Topic: "Why is local news and information important to the community, and how can news organizations meet those needs in the digital age?"

Postmark & Electronic Receipt Deadlines: December 31, 2012 (updated)


[Update] The contest has closed. The winners are:


A healthy community news and information ecosystem is vital for democracy. As part of the dedication of The Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University, the Center invites high school students to expound on its importance and how news organizations can meet the challenges of providing this vital service in the digital age. Essays should incorporate content from Center's dedication and panel, "Enhancing Local News in the Digital Age: How You Do It and Why It's Important." Participants may watch the dedication and panel online in our archives. 


First Place: $500
Second Place: $300
Third Place: $150   

Winners will also have their essays published on the CCJ website and, optionally, in print and online with our media partners, and win a scholarship to the Center's High School Journalism Camp to be held in the summer of 2013. 

Who is eligible?

All students enrolled in grades 9-12 in U.S. public, private or home schools. 

Format & Submission

The essay should be 300-500 words (in English) and must include an entry form.

Submissions must be the original work of the student, with limited guidance from others, and not previously published.

Students must have a sponsoring teacher; this teacher must sign the entry form.

We require paper and electronic submission of the entry form and essay. The essay must be postmarked by December 31, 2012 and received electronically by midnight EST on December 31, 2012. Use the email subject line of "CCJ Essay Contest - " followed by the student's last name. The student's contact information must be on the entry form, attached to the essay, but should not be on the essay itself. Submissions should be paginated, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. Staple the entry form to the essay in the upper left-hand corner.

Email your material to ccj@mercer.edu and mail your entry form and essay to:

High School Essay Contest
Center for Collaborative Journalism
1400 Coleman Ave
Macon, GA 31207

Other Rules & Guidelines

There is no cost to entering the contest.

Mercer University, The Center for Collaborative Journalism and its partners have the right to edit, publish or otherwise duplicate any essay entered into the contest without payment to the author.

A student may submit only one essay.

Any sources cited or quoted must be identified properly. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.

Judging will be done by a panel of qualified journalists, professors and other professionals from the Center and its partners. 

Scoring of essays will give primary consideration to the compelling and logical nature of the treatment of the essay topic, as well as vocabulary and style. Proper grammar is expected. Adherence to the topic and all rules and guidelines is required.


For further information, email ccj@mercer.edu.