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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to submit entries?

Entries may be submitted in each program by public school systems, charter schools, private schools, community or vocational/technical colleges, state/national education groups, education service agencies (ESA), intermediate units (IU), boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES),  and any agency, consultant or business in partnership with any of the aforementioned education entities. Student-written/produced communication materials are not eligible for entry.  

Can I submit materials I developed with the help of generative artificial intelligence (AI)?

Entries that include generative artificial intelligence (AI) contributions are welcome provided the entry also includes significant human authorship that is pertinent to the entry's category. 

Do I really have a chance?

Yes, your great work has a good chance of winning an award. The Gold Medallion program is the most competitive; you compete against all other submissions in your category. In the Golden Achievement program, you only compete against yourself based on whether you meet the criteria for that award. Normally, a high percentage of Golden Achievement submissions are granted the award as long as they meet the program’s criteria. In the Publications and Digital Media Excellence program, your entry will be judged within a category for organizations of a similar type and size.

How many awards are given out?

In 2023, NSPRA issued 1,159 Publications and Digital Media Excellence Awards, 122 Golden Achievement Awards and eight Gold Medallion Awards

How are award entries judged?

NSPRA uses experienced, award-winning professionals to evaluate entries in the Gold Medallion Awards, Golden Achievement Awards and Publications and Digital Media Excellence Awards programs. Additionally, judges for the Gold Medallion Awards must hold accreditation in public relations (APR).

Judges have no pre-set limit on the number of awards that may be given in each category. They may also opt to issue no awards in a category if no entries are deemed worthy of recognition. More details on how entries are judged are available at these links:

Individual judging assessments/scores for the Gold Medallion, Golden Achievement Awards and Publications and Digital Media Excellence Awards programs are confidential and will not be released.

Gold Medallion entrants only may request a summary of judges’ comments by emailing no later than July 30. Comment summaries will be provided in late August/September.

What are some common features of winning submissions for the Gold Medallion and Golden Achievement programs?

First, complete the cover page and/or summary at the start of your submission and double check everything is correct. Another major thread, especially in the Gold Medallion program, is the evaluation section where you prove in some statistical way that the program was a success. Just noting that people liked a campaign will not convince most judges that it is a winner. Demonstrate what happened in your school community—the outcomes—because of the campaign or program. The Golden Achievement program targets special projects or ongoing tactics, but it, too, must conclude with an evaluation component to prove that your submission was successful.

How can I effectively compete with larger school districts and their bigger budgets?

All award programs normally have winners from smaller school districts or individual schools. In the Publications and Digital Media Excellence program, separate categories balance out some of the “big budget” concerns. In the Gold Medallion and Golden Achievement programs, you must prove how successful the efforts were—no matter your size.

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