2016 Better Newspaper Contest Rules


The 2016 Better Newspaper Contest is open to current OPA Business and Sustaining members in good standing, and all college newspapers.

Business Membership Newspaper Entries – Divisions 1-8
All entries must be published within a legal newspaper as defined by Title 25, O.S. 106. TMCs and free distribution products are not eligible as entries from Business Membership Newspapers.
Sustaining Membership Newspaper Entries – Division 9
All entries must be published within a newspaper of general interest that is distributed to the general public. Eligible newspapers must publish at least once per month and contain at least 25% local news content. Corporate and/or industry newsletters or publications are not eligible for participation in the contest.
COLLEGE Newspaper Entries – Division 10
All entries must be published within a college or university newspaper. OPA membership is not required.

ELIGIBILITY PERIOD: To be eligible, newspapers must have been OPA members for a minimum of six full months immediately preceding the final day of the contest period, which is Dec. 31, 2016. (Newspapers may submit entries published during the entire contest period – Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016 – even if they have not been members for the entire contest period.)


There are ten (10) divisions. OPA Business Membership Newspapers, Divisions 1-8, are determined by newspaper circulation and frequency shown on the October 2016 U.S. Postal Service statement of total paid circulation (PS Form 3526, line 15C) plus the number of paid electronic subscriptions.

DIVISION 1 – Daily newspapers with circulation of more than 7,000

DIVISIONS 2-7 – All other daily and weekly legal newspapers. Circulation divisions will be determined after all entries have been received. Entries will be divided as equally as possible into two daily and four weekly circulation divisions. Select daily or weekly publication on the contest entry form.

Division 8 – Semi-, Twin and Tri-Weekly Newspapers

Division 9 – Sustaining Membership Newspapers

Division 10 – College Newspapers

A list of participating newspapers sorted by division will be emailed to publishers and posted on the OPA website within one week after the contest deadline. For divisions 1-7, a newspaper may elect to compete in a higher circulation division of the same publication frequency at the time of entry, but may not compete in a lower division. Newspapers must notify OPA in writing at the time of entry.


POINTS: Points in the contest are awarded on the following scale:

1st Place: 120 Points
2nd Place: 90 Points
3rd Place: 70 Points
4th Place: 50 Points

1st Place: 100 Points
2nd Place: 70 Points
3rd Place: 50 Points
4th Place: 30 Points

Each division’s Sweepstakes winner, which is determined by the amount of points accumulated in the contest, receives the Sequoyah Award – the highest honor in the contest.

TIES: There will be no ties within events.

AWARDS: Every event will have first through fourth place winners. Sequoyah Award and First Place winners receive plaques; second, third and fourth place winners receive certificates. Each winning newspaper receives the privilege of publishing the ‘Prize Winning Logo’ in its newspaper for the entire year. Awards will be presented at the OPA Convention at the Skirvin Hilton in downtown Oklahoma City on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

ENTER ALL EVENTS: Entering all 13 events improves your newspaper’s chance of winning the Sequoyah Award.

CONTEST PERIOD: The 2016 OPA Better Newspaper Contest period is from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016.

ENTRY DEADLINE: All entries must be postmarked by Monday, February 13, 2017. Mail, ship or deliver entries to OKLAHOMA PRESS ASSOCIATION, 3601 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105-5499.


Original tear sheets and issues are required for entries. Entries will be judged only in the event indicated on the label attached to the entry envelope. Judges are not permitted to move entries to other events. All entries become the property of OPA and may be reproduced in print or electronic format as educational material and/or exhibits.

ENTRY FEE: Each event is $6 ($78 for all 13 events).

ENTRY FORM: Every newspaper submitting entries must complete the official entry form and submit it with payment for entry fees. 

ENTRY PREPARATION: Place each event entry in a large envelope (9x12 or 10x13). The corresponding event label must be completed and attached to the top left corner on the front of the envelope. Tuck the envelope flap; please DO NOT SEAL THE ENVELOPE. Place all event entry envelopes into a single package or box to be mailed or shipped to OPA.

MULTIPLE PUBLICATIONS: Newspapers having multiple publications or editions under one ownership with the majority of pages in common (news and/or advertising) may only enter issues of the publication or edition having the largest circulation.

IDENTICAL MATERIAL: Identical material may be submitted by only one publication – the newspaper that produced the majority of the content, or, if it was a shared responsibility, the newspaper with the largest circulation.

STAFF PRODUCED: All contest entries must have been produced by the newspaper’s staff or regular paid contributors. Outsourced work may be entered, but the work must have been done exclusively for the newspaper entering the material. Syndicated material cannot be entered.

ADVERTISING ENTRIES: All ads must be original work by your staff. They must be conceived and sold by your newspaper staff. Clip art is acceptable, but no camera-ready ads should be submitted, such as those from advertising agencies or advertiser produced. All ads must be from your regularly printed newspaper. Do not submit ads from other publications (magazines, real estate guides or niche publications.)

ALTERNATE ENTRY DATES: Newspapers not published during the month specified in the guidelines of an event should contact OPA for alternate dates and must write a letter to the judges explaining the alternate date.

LETTERS TO JUDGES: Comment letters to judges are required in Event 4, Sales Promotion, and Event 13, Community Leadership. Letters to judges may be included in other events but are not required.


For clarification of rules contact Lisa Sutliff or Jennifer Gilliland at (405) 499-0020 or 1-888-815-2672 (toll-free in Oklahoma).

PLEASE CHECK OPA WEBSITE to verify your entries are received by OPA (allow 3 to 5 days after mailing entries).

Contact Information

3601 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

(405) 499-0020
(888) 815-2672

Toll-Free in OK