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Pinnacle Awards

CMA’s Pinnacle Awards honor the best college media organizations and individual work. The annual contest is open to student work produced for any college media organization, including print, broadcast and online outlets, during an academic year. Winners will be announced at the Fall National College Media Convention. 

2023 Pinnacle Awards – Winner Certificates

2023 Pinnacle Awards – Individual Finalists
2023 Pinnacle Awards – Organizational Finalists

Pinnaclesdeadline to enter was June 15, 2023. The contest was open to student work produced for any college media organization, including print, broadcast and online outlets between June 17, 2022 – June 12, 2023.

Submission Period Closed for 2023

NEW FOR 2023! Revised categories for organizations and individual work

ORGANIZATIONAL PINNACLES: Review guidelines and categories for the Pinnacle Awards for media organizations. CMA will name the best TV and radio stations, websites, feature and literary magazines, newspapers and yearbooks of the year.

INDIVIDUAL PINNACLES: Review guidelines and categories for the Pinnacle Awards for individual work. CMA will give individual Broadcast, Sports, Writing, Online, Photo, Design and Advertising awards. 

Questions? Click here for FAQs on this year’s Pinnacles or email info@collegemedia.org.

Click to view previous winners.
2022 2021 
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

Pinnacles FAQ

The Pinnacles process and categories have changed a bit each year, but the contest was overdue for a full revision. There were anachronistic categories and practices based on organizational history that was no longer relevant.

Many members from smaller schools didn’t participate in Pinnacles because larger schools with more resources and larger staffs won every year. Many other journalism organizations have categories so that similar organizations with similar resources compete against each other. It was time to incorporate that into CMA contests.

The categories are Division I 10,000+ campus undergraduate enrollment (not including distance education), Division II 3000-9999, Division III 1000-2999, Division IV under 1000. The school sizes were picked based on the Carnegie Foundation’s categories which provided us with information about how many schools were in each category. Two-year schools also comprise their own category.

No, any category with fewer than three entries will be grouped with the next higher category. The award will be designated with the division of the higher category.

We tested these categories with the Apple Awards in March. We did have a few categories that needed combining, but the changes resulted in higher participation overall.

Yes and no. Yes, there are a lot more categories. But, this will likely mean that the categories will have fewer entries. A category of 170 general news stories is terrible for judges and unfair to students. Smaller numbers per category will, hopefully, result in less frustration for judges and fairer decisions.

We didn’t on Apples. We hope that entries will increase overall and balance out the trophy expenses. And, improving fairness and equity for all of our members is worth taking some financial risk.

Free organizational entries are no longer sustainable for CMA.

Categories were changed/created to reflect the changing college media landscape. The categories were based on consultation with members, college media leaders and industry experts.

This was a significant overhaul. There will probably be adjustments next year, just as there has been each year. But there won’t be another major overhaul until a future CMA board looks at the contest and is aghast at how out-of-date it is.

Hooray! Email us at info@collegemedia.org