2014 Better Newspaper Contest Events

EVENT 1: NEWS CONTENT
SUBMIT THREE (3) FULL ISSUES:
One (1) issue from September 2014;
Two (2) issues from anytime within the contest period.

Judges will evaluate the extent and quality of the overall news product that is representative of that community.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Local Coverage (emphasis on staff-written copy rather than wire, syndicate or canned copy); Balance (variety of community group and people coverage and approaches, mix of news and features, plus spot news); Government (quality and completeness of local, city, school board, county coverage); Headlines (variety of styles with consistency of design, clean, easy-to-read, show creativity); Organization (news is organized with reader in mind, easy to find in paper); Photos, Graphics (variety and quality of local news photos and graphics accompanying stories); Writing (creativity and initiative).


EVENT 2: LAYOUT & DESIGN
SUBMIT THREE (3) FULL ISSUES:
One (1) issue from March 2014;
Two (2) issues from anytime within the contest period.

Judges will consider layout and design of the complete newspaper. Judging will be based on selection and effective use of faces, general makeup and advertising display.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Page 1 (grabs attention; lead story display; good mix of news, photos and/or graphics; heads; white space); Inside Pages (bright and interesting; good mix of news, photos, heads, ads; well organized); News Typeface Selection & Layout (easy to read; clean; appropriately sized typefaces used for stories, cutlines, graphics); Headlines (consistent style and appropriate sizes to give clean appearance; indicate relative importance of news; show creativity and grab attention); Ad Type Selection & Layout (good variety of typefaces in ads; good mix of appropriate artwork; borders selection; ads displayed well; classified pages invite reading); Overall Layout & Design (creativity; typographic & design continuity; adequate white space; pages clean and easy-to-read); Organization (guides reader easily throughout issue).
EVENT 3: ADVERTISING
SUBMIT THREE (3) FULL ISSUES:
One (1) issue from November 2014;
Two (2) issues from anytime within the contest period.

Pre-printed inserts, unless composed at the newspaper, are to be omitted.
DISPLAY ADVERTISING: Judges will consider the advertising enterprise of the paper (wide variety of merchants), headlines, copy and layout, imaginative use of illustrations, apparent effectiveness and creativity. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING: Judges will consider the ease of finding classifications, display (use of type and attractiveness), enterprise, neatness and lack of clutter. JUDGING CRITERIA: Design (variety of sizes, shapes, type styles; layout); Balance (good ad/news blend on every page, wide variety of advertisers); Makeup (reader benefit headlines; clean illustrations, clean logo, address and telephone); Classifieds (clean headers, well organized, classified phone number, ad rates and information, type size and style readable); Creativity (attention compelling, ads show initiative and originality in writing and design); Page Makeup (smaller ads not buried by larger ads).

EVENT 4: SALES PROMOTION
Submit One (1) Revenue-Producing Promotion published and delivered in your newspaper anytime within the contest period.
A letter must accompany this entry explaining the promotion. Include all sales support materials such as pre-publicity ads and news stories, direct mail, flyers and point of purchase materials used relating to the event.
JUDGING CRITERIA:
Creativity (attention compelling; ads show initiative and originality in writing and design); Design (shows consistency in presentation with ads, news copy, design); Balance (variety of advertisers and ad sizes); Makeup (ads grab attention; typographically clean; smaller ads not buried by larger ads); Writing (ad and promotion copy well written, appealing to the reader).
EVENT 5: IN-DEPTH ENTERPRISE
Submit One (1) In-Depth Enterprise project published anytime within the contest period.
Submit full-page tear sheets with article(s) prominently outlined. Entry may be a single story or series of stories (no more than 10) and may include additional materials. A brief letter outlining the background that led to the story or series may be submitted.
DEFINITION OF IN-DEPTH ENTERPRISE: A story or series of stories that explores a significant topic in-depth with multiple sources.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Entries will be judged on completeness, thoroughness of research, excellence of writing, community-wide interest, execution and commitment of the newspaper to the project.
EVENT 6: EDITORIAL COMMENT
Submit Three (3) separate articles on full-page tear sheets published anytime within the contest period. Include jump pages.
Prominently outline one editorial per tear sheet to be judged. Only those marked will be judged and nothing else on the page will be considered. Each editorial must be limited to a discussion of one topic. They need not be signed. Page location does not matter, but editorials must clearly express an opinion.
DEFINITION OF AN EDITORIAL: An article that persuades, informs and/or expresses an opinion of those in control of the publication on a matter of current interest. Personal columns may be entered if they are limited to one subject and fulfill the other qualifications of an editorial.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Quality of Writing (clear, easy to read); Originality/Creativity (ideas, arguments presented in a fresh way, a different light, passionate); Attention-Compelling Lead (first sentence makes reader want to keep reading); Logical Construction (arguments presented in a logical manner that helps persuasion); Strong Concluding ‘Kicker’ (editorial ends with strong turn-of-phrase or sentence that drives the point home).
EVENT 7: PERSONAL COLUMNS
Submit Three (3) separate articles on full-page tear sheets published anytime within the contest period. Include jump pages.
Prominently outline one column per tear sheet to be judged. Only those marked will be judged and nothing else on the page will be considered. Columns submitted may be by different columnists, since the purpose of the contest is to determine the quality of the newspaper and not an individual writer. Personal columns may be on any subject matter.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Attention-Compelling Lead (makes you want to keep reading); Quality of Writing (clear, tightly written, conversational tone); Effective Humor (used with impact when appropriate); Organization (ideas presented in logical sequence); Originality/Creativity (ideas, arguments presented in a fresh way, different light; has passion); Strong Conclusion.
EVENT 8: NEWS WRITING
Submit Three (3) separate articles on full-page tear sheets published anytime within the contest period. Include jump pages.
Prominently outline one news article per tear sheet to be judged. Only those marked will be judged and nothing else on the page will be considered. Judging will be based on writing skill, clarity, and organization of story. No syndicated stories will be accepted.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Strong Leads (short, to-the-point; carries only necessary information; written to grab and keep interest); Organization of Facts (news presented in logical order, with most important information first; all questions answered); Grammar, Punctuation, Sentence Structure (correct English usage; articles easy to read); Clarity/Conciseness (articles avoid wordiness and present ideas in a way that is easy to understand); Quotes (effectively used to make stories human; long, official press release quotes avoided); Human Interest (writing appeals to readers’ interests).
EVENT 9: FEATURE WRITING
Submit Three (3) separate articles on full-page tear sheets published anytime within the contest period. Include jump pages.
Prominently outline one feature article per tear sheet to be judged. Only those marked will be judged and nothing else on the page will be considered. Judging will be based on writing skill, clarity, and organization of story. All stories must have been locally written.
DEFINITION OF A FEATURE STORY: A story of human interest. It may or may not be of a timely nature and it may or may not be news related. It is not a regular feature, i.e., personal column, and may or may not carry a byline and it may or may not have supportive pictures.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Creative Leads (leads grab the readers’ attention and emotions in a way that makes them want to read the rest of the story); Organization (stories keep the readers’ attention by flowing in a logical order toward a conclusion); Grammar, Punctuation, Sentence Structure (correct English usage; articles easy to read); Literary Techniques (articles appeal to human emotions with imagery, description, anecdotes and specific detail); Quotes (quotes used effectively to make the stories human; long, official press release quotes avoided); Human Interest (writing appeals to readers).
EVENT 10: SPORTS COVERAGE
Submit Three (3) separate full sports page, sports pages or sports sections from the following dates:
One (1) entry from January thru June 2013;
One (1) entry from July thru December 2013; and
One (1) entry from anytime within the contest period.

Judging will be based on writing skill, clarity, photography and organization of sports page, pages or section.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Local Coverage (emphasis on staff-written copy rather than wire or syndicate); Completeness (a variety of sports and events covered, with necessary statistics, columns); Creativity (initiative in writing; layout, story ideas beyond the routine); Headlines (imaginative, boost impact of design, are effective); Organization (sports presented with reader in mind; easy-to-find format); Photography (adds excitement to stories in size, impact and quality).
EVENT 11: PHOTOGRAPHY
SUBMIT SIX (6) FULL-PAGE TEAR SHEETS published anytime within the contest period including:
Two (2) News Photos;
Two (2) Sports Photos; and
Two (2) Feature Photos

Prominently outline each photo to be judged and identify as news, sports or feature. Only those marked will be judged and nothing else on the page will be considered. A picture page or related photos on the same subject matter may be considered as one photo selection. Judges will consider the six entries as a package and not individual photographs. Each category of pictures will be judged equally. Judging will be based on subject composition, originality, technical skill demonstrated, and use of photographs.
JUDGING CRITERIA: Local Coverage; Composition (photos grab the readers' attention; not just snapshots); Technical (focus, properly cropped, clean and properly lighted); Cutlines (grammatically correct and adequately explain photo content).
EVENT 12: COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
Submit One (1) project over and above the normal duties of a newspaper, which is aimed at service to the community rather than revenue.
A letter must accompany this entry explaining the promotion. Submit full page tear sheets and prominently outline articles to be judged. Only those articles marked will be judged and nothing else on the page will be considered.
Newspaper staffs recognize and act upon specific issues or needs within their communities. The Community Leadership event seeks to recognize these efforts and promote newspapers’ commitment to civic responsibility. Projects should be developed through the newspaper’s own efforts, and should be completed or have significant progress made during the contest period. Include all relevant information (i.e., news stories, editorials, advertising, reports of events).
JUDGING CRITERIA: Consideration of relative importance of the topic, quality of effort, depth of research, degree of involvement and results.

Contact Information

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Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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(888) 815-2672

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