Critique training: You be the judge


The Journalism Education Association has developed a free online training designed to serve as a guide to the experience of judging student media for contests or critiques. The course, “Critique training: You be the judge,” provides an opportunity for new and experienced judges to gain professional development and earn a badge as a certified judge.

“Providing students consistent and strong feedback on a critique is vital to the growth of a publication. This training helps me as an experienced judge to renew my skills as it focuses on the specific types of publications I critique. It prepped me for the upcoming judging season. Every judge should do this,” Jane Blystone, MJE, said.

Participants will be able to identify the benefits of student media critiques, understand the role of a guidebook or published evaluation criteria, identify strategies for providing specific, meaningful feedback and recognize circumstances under which a publication may require special considerations.

The online course takes approximately two hours to complete. Participants who earn the critique training badge are listed in a national directory of certified judges, a new JEA resource available to help scholastic press association leaders reach qualified judges for the evaluations and contests they coordinate at the state, regional or national level.

Six educators earned the critique training badge in the week following the course’s unofficial release and found it beneficial and user-friendly.

“My biggest takeaway from this training was the segment on being innovative and open to students who take risks. I have heard so many colleagues complain about critiques and judging because they assume judges are stuck in their ways or stodgy. It is refreshing to know that this training offered a whole segment on [how to address] innovation,” Lillian Harris said.

The training is based on strategies and techniques applicable to evaluators working with teachers, students and contest coordinators at any level regardless of organization or publication and contest type. The final segment of training includes media-specific videos to provide examples and concepts for broadcast, yearbook, newspaper/newsmagazine and web.

“Although I consider myself a bit of a veteran at this, I found some great suggestions for framing critique comments in useful and positive — but still truthful — ways. I was also relieved to see that my recent web judging has indeed been on target. JEA’s new training is a good thing for all judges or potential judges to explore,” Candace Bowen, MJE, said.

Background on the project’s history and instructions for how to enroll in the online training are available here.

For more information, contact President Sarah Nichols, MJE, at [email protected]