Student Press Liberties Award

Annual Award Competition For Student Journalists 2011-12


The Student Press Liberties Award, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ), recognizes the importance of student journalism by honoring excellence in high school coverage of civil liberties and news stories by students that uphold the traditions of the First Amendment.


Any example of print or online journalism by a New Jersey high school student published during the current school year is eligible for the competition, including articles, editorials, cartoons, blog posts, features and special sections. Any student may enter, either individually or as a group. Students may submit items from underground publications, and students who do not have access to a school newspaper may submit works from other publications.

Judging Criteria

Professional journalists with experience covering civil liberties will judge students’ submissions, evaluating entries based on their informational value, writing quality, courage in publication, impact, level of investigative reporting and ability to communicate the need for civil liberties.


The number of prizes the ACLU-NJ awards can vary annually, depending on each year’s submissions. The ACLU-NJ may give more than one award if several entries deserve recognition for journalistic excellence. Additionally, if a group submission is chosen, each member of the team receives an individual award. Award winners may receive up to $250 (distributed among award recipients if more than one person wins) and a framed award certificate. We will announce winners by the end of May.

Entry Rules

Any high school-aged student journalist, or faculty member with a student’s permission to submit on his or her behalf, may enter the competition. Entries must include a cover letter providing the student’s contact information (including email address, home address and phone number), as well as the school’s name and address. Each student may submit only one article or series of related articles. Please send five samples of the submission in its original format (e.g., tear sheets) for each entry, postmarked no later than Wednesday, February 29, 2012 to:

Student Press Liberties Award
P.O. Box 32159
Newark, NJ 07102

If you have additional questions, contact ACLU-NJ Communications Associate Eliza Straim at 973-854-1729 or email her at

Past Award Recipients

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