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Robert M. Cole Awards

Every year, the Illinois Press Association solicits entries from local newspapers to participate in Illinois' only statewide journalism competition. The contest is a huge event, drawing more than 3,000 entries in three dozen subject categories.

One of the categories - Best School Board Coverage - is sponsored and presented by the Illinois Association of School Boards.

The Robert M. Cole Award, named for the first full-time executive director of IASB, recognizes outstanding coverage of education issues that emphasize the community's connection with its local public school district. Entries are judged on:

  • their contribution to public understanding of local school governance; and
  • their support for effective dialogue that helps the community and school board define major public policy issues

Judges also consider enterprise, depth of reporting and clarity of writing. Up to four issues or articles can be submitted.

This contest is not directed at school public relations campaigns or school district newsletters; rather, it is intended for general circulation newspapers that cover local school districts.

Winners are announced at the annual state newspaper convention in mid-June and results are posted on the IASB website and published on the Illinois School Board News Blog.

Questions about the Robert M. Cole Awards can be directed to the IASB communications staff at 217/528-9688, ext. 1121.

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