National Society of Newspaper Columnists

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Annual Column Contest 

Opens: January 15, 2024 8:00 a.m. (EST)  


Closes: Friday, May 3, 2024 11:59 p.m. (EST)

General Guidelines

Please be aware that if you are new to Submittable, you will have to create an account on the Submittable site in order to submit your entries to the contest.

With the exception of the Editorial Cartoon category, each entry consists of Two (2) original print or digital columns or column-like content published between Jan. 1., 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023. Due to a lack of submissions, the editorial cartoon section has been removed from the contest.

*** Each Submission Must Have An Attached PDF ***

While the NSNC does not seek to confine the term “columnist” to specific parameters, we do seek contest entries consisting of work created with the tenets of the NSNC Member’s Code of Conduct in mind. The NSNC values work created with integrity that seeks to “inform, educate and entertain readers and viewers,” and which seeks to further open discussion and the goals of free speech. 

Columns and content can consist of wide-ranging content centered on any subject, but do not typically consist of reported, “hard” news pieces. Reported columns with commentary are acceptable. 

Media outlet examples: newspapers, magazines, trade journals, blogs, user-created video platforms, podcast platforms. Please inquire if further clarification is needed.

Official rules can be found on the NSNC website.

Entry Fees

  • NSNC member entry fee: $30
  • Non-Member entry fee: $60 
  • Join NSNC (membership $75 - join here): $30
  • Student entry fee: $15 (must have been a student during 2022)


  1. Enjoy discounted entry fee by becoming an NSNC member. Read all member benefits HERE.
  2. Complete the online entry form below.
  3. Attach 2 columns or digital content pieces.
    1. Print entries: PDF is preferred and can often be provided by the publication. Scanned entries converted to PDF are also okay. No scanner? Consider using a scanning app for your mobile device, for instance, TurboScan or ScannerPro. These apps can create and convert high quality photos to full size PDF documents.
    2. Online entries: PDF converted from the webpage is preferred. Many free tools are available online or built into popular web browsers. For instance, Include URL where content was published. Please indicate whether access is restricted by a paywall -- this is for verification; NOT in lieu of a PDF attachment.
    3. Multi-byline or team entries: Follow print or online entry guidelines. Also, list all contributors and a single contact address on the entry form.
    4. Vlogs, podcasts, videos, and other digital multimedia content: Provide a live link to the content on the entry form, if access is not restricted by a paywall. Alternatively, attach an .mp3 or .mp4 file to your entry and list the URL on the entry form. Submittable cannot accept additional file formats; please reach out if you cannot convert your content into one of these formats. 
    5. Student entries. Either print or online publications will be accepted. Please see instructions above for submission information for both formats. Entrants must have been enrolled students at their publication's school during 2023.

Note: Entries that do not include a clear publication date may be disqualified. Please make every effort to attach files where the date is listed on the page, in the URL, or otherwise apparent. Examples of places where dates might be displayed include a visible time-stamp, copyright notice, or printed publication date. Screenshots converted to .jpg can also be uploaded to help establish the publication date of online material.

Judging decisions are final. Second, Third and Honorable mention places may not be awarded in a given category.

Certificates will be issued to winning columnists at each level. 


All categories now open to students.

A. General Interest, Print

B. General Interest, Online and Multimedia Digital Content

C. Humor, Print 

D. Humor, Online and Multimedia Digital Content

E. Sports, Print AND/OR Online/Multimedia Digital Content

F. Lifestyles, Print AND/OR Online/Multimedia Digital Content

G. Crisis, Print AND/OR Online/Multimedia Digital Content

H. Social Justice, Print AND/OR Online/Multimedia Digital Content

Responses to FAQ

Winners are announced online via video published on the NSNC website as well as Announced at the Annual NSNC Conference.

Yes, columnists can enter in multiple categories.

Yes, media outlets can submit entries from multiple eligible columnists, for example, a newspaper submitting writer content.

No, pseudonyms are not permitted - author names must appear on column or clearly referenced within digital content.

Eligible works are those published for the first time between Jan. 1, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023.

The “online” categories are reserved for content published exclusively online. 

No, works originally published in print and subsequently published online are not eligible for the online categories and should be submitted in the appropriate print categories.

Contest Director Contact Information

Adam Earnheardt, Contest Chair:

Please direct contest inquiries to the above email.

NSNC Mission Statement

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists was founded in 1977 and exists to promote education, professionalism, and camaraderie among columnists and other writers of the serial essay, including bloggers. Membership is open to general interest, humor, items, op-ed, video, multimedia or other columnists. Academics and student columnists also are eligible to join. The annual conference is NSNC’s primary event. The educational group also publishes a monthly newsletter, maintains the NSNC website and advocates for columnists and free-press issues. 

National Society of Newspaper Columnists