Key dates for Shine 2019

Closing date for entries
18th April 2019

Preliminary judging
9th May 2019

Final judging
20th May 2019

Awards ceremony
1st July 2019


Full list of award categories

Best covers: magazine, newspaper and homepage

These three awards recognise excellence in the design of a cover and/or homepage of an online magazine or website. Judges will be looking at the design of the cover, creativity and innovation in the design and presentation. On a granular level this will then include easily digestible information about content, details which create ‘reader appeal’ and an incentive to read.

Best illustration and artwork

This award recognises excellence in illustration and artwork. The judges will be looking for and assessing artistic merit, asking themselves how well a piece of creative art tells a story, how well the finished piece is used in the context of the feature or article, its quality and how well it is captioned or explained. The judges will assess whether there is evidence that copyright issues have been understood. Credit will be given for originality.

Best design and layout

This award recognises excellence in the overall design of the editorial product cover and/or home page of an online magazine or website. Judges will be looking at the visual appeal of the magazine, the incentive to read, choice and use of typefaces, use of illustrations, innovation and creative flair.

Best cartoon

Not an illustration or piece of art, a cartoon is a different beast. This award recognises the talent of wit, observation and irreverence in a drawing. Previous successful entries have been both hand-drawn and computer art. So the only limit here is your imagination. Judges are looking for technical ability, visual appeal and a striking individual style.

Best podcast

We are always looking for new ways students are communicating with their schools and wider community. So we have introduced a category for Best Podcast – the audio equivalent of a student magazine. As with all Shine awards this should be student driven, though we appreciate teacher support may be essential here. The podcast could be a excerpt from a school radio programme, or just a recording of students discussing a single issue or variety of topics that is a free download which students can access. The recording should be around 15-30 minutes long and submitted as a MP3 or upload to a free service such as SoundCloud or YouTube.

Best overall content

This award recognises excellence in the overall standards of the content. The judges will be assessing the range, choice and balance of content, the standard of writing and illustrations, layout and design, the balance of content through the publication and the use of headings and illustrations. Appropriate audience focus will also be considered.

Best business plan

This award recognises excellence in the overall understanding and execution of commercial strategy.  The judges will be looking to see whether there was a business plan with clear objectives. They want to know if the team had a specific budget or sources of revenue, and how effectively they used this income. Did they set up a team who each had specific responsibilities? Was a target audience identified?

Best community and environmental initiative

This award recognises initiatives to connect schools with their communities, giving serious consideration to the local and wider environment. Programs this award would recognise may involve the promotional activities of the school in the local area, engaging with the population and launching initiatives which seek to benefit the wider community. Central to this award is an understanding of environmental issues, for instance addressing the production of the publication and the life-cycle of newspapers and magazines. These issues could be addressed by ‘walking the walk’ yourselves – with the choice of paper stock or ensuring it can be conveniently recycled – or publicising local or environmental issues as the central theme of your project. Judges will be asking whether clear objectives were set at the outset, if the initiative has been promoted within your publication and whether in doing so, the community has been positively affected and overall editorial content enhanced.

Best photograph: our photographer of the year

The judges in this category are looking for originality, spontaneity and composition. Technical ability, the quality of an image from a  ‘file size’ perspective and an understanding of the proper use of a camera helps enormously with these but can be a secondary consideration to true talent and a good eye.

Best feature article: our journalist of the year

This award recognises excellence in creative, incisive, distinctive writing. Judges will be looking for choice of topic in the context of the editorial product, how well the introduction captures attention, how well the theme is developed and concluded, the readability of the article and use of language and words.

Editor of the year

Every Shine project needs a great editor, a team leader who has a clear vision for the publication or website. This award recognises a special talent in sourcing the best material for the project, ensuring a consistency, readability and high quality throughout. An editor always needs to be aware of the (often scant) resources at their disposal and how to make the most of them. Judges will be looking for an editor who lead by example, encouraged their team bringing out the best in their fellow pupils and delivered a singular publication with its own voice.

Most inspirational teacher

This pupil-nominated award recognises one key teacher who made all the difference in their Shine project. Judges will be looking for a considered entry from students (either one or as a collective) explaining the huge impact that teacher had on their website, newspaper, magazine or podcast.

The Shine Scholar: most outstanding pupil

In this award category the judges will be looking for a pupil who has shown outstanding qualities of leadership in the production of a content-based communication. The winner will have demonstrated a good understanding of the elements which go to making up a good newspaper, magazine or website. Additionally they will have worked well in a team-based project; and shown evidence of understanding the audience for their product. In essence, providing ‘what readers want’.

Best online

Our judges appreciate that to devise and build a completely custom website for a school project is almost certainly impractical. In recent years we have had successful entries which have used template sites like WordPress. These have then been customised to suit the style of site with modern navigation, clear typography and an intelligent use of colour. However don’t forget that content is king. Our judges will then be looking for compelling stories, great imagery and high editorial standards.

Best magazine

Judges in this category are looking for a finished piece with vision and an irresistible desire to pick up the magazine again and again. The best kind of magazine is one with great content mixed with modern art direction. As a result judges will be looking for an understanding of this both in vision across the publication and its detail. Primarily the magazine must understand its audience and tailor the writing and layout to them, understanding the myriad other media they are consuming – and find a way to stand out.

Best newspaper

A distinctive voice, great reporting and a front page full of issues and interest. These are the base elements of a great newspaper and the starting points for our judges in this category. Our judges always look for an understanding of audience (as in the magazine category above) but a newspaper needs to go even further, understanding a balance of national, local and political interest. Of particular interest will be the mix of crisp, short reporting and feature writing – as well as the use of photography and the use of a great cartoon.

The Harrison Cup

In addition to these categories, the judging panel will nominate an overall winner to receive the Harrison Cup to hold for one year. The Harrison Cup is awarded to a school that the judges consider ‘that special something’, bringing a fantastic level of inspiration, innovation or professionalism to Shine.


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