Penn State Berks to host high school journalism competition Nov. 4

On Friday, Nov. 4, approximately 100 southeastern Pennsylvania high school students will attend a half day of professional development, writing competitions and networking presented by the Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA). The event will be held at Penn State Berks beginning at 9 a.m. in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium.

The program includes a welcome address by Penn State Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk, workshops, and on-site writing contests in the categories of newspaper, yearbook, poetry and literary magazine.

This year’s speakers include the Reading Eagle’s Bill Ulrich, photo editor; Keith Mayer, assistant news editor; and Ford Turner, investigative reporter, as well as Matt Apsokardu, CEO and founder of Apsos Media and a graduate of the Penn State Berks professional writing program. Attendees will also receive lunch, admissions application waivers, and swag bags, courtesy of Penn State Berks.

“The competition allows students the opportunity to demonstrate their journalistic skills on a much larger stage than their high school journalism class,” said Jon Bickel, PSPA secretary. “They can learn from professionals in the journalism field and network with their peers.”

The third annual competition is one of six regional PSPA events held throughout Pennsylvania. Winners of the regional competitions will compete in the state finals hosted at Penn State's University Park campus in March 2017.

“We’re excited to welcome high school journalists,” said Keysha Whitaker, lecturer in english and professional writing and adviser to the student magazine, Berks Beat. “Our collaboration with the PSPA will hopefully help students visualize their transitions from high school to college to career.”

The event is open to Berks and Lehigh county high school students. Attendance at the workshops is free, but registration is required and spaces are limited. In order to participate in the competition, PSPA member high schools can send three contestants at no cost, and there is a $10 fee for each additional competitor. For nonmember high schools, the fee for competitors is $20 per student.

To register, contact Bickel at 717-269-8425 by Nov. 3. To learn more about the PSPA, visit

The mission of the Pennsylvania School Press Association is to promote excellence and responsibility in scholastic journalism through developing students who possess sound journalism skills, demonstrate ethical decision making and recognize, uphold, and advocate First Amendment rights through responsible citizenship and informed media consumption.

The Pennsylvania School Press Association began 90 years ago at Kutztown University. The contest reaches approximately 1,000 high school students throughout Pennsylvania.