2015 Better Newspaper Contest Rules


The 2015 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 (since July 1, 2015). (Newspapers may submit entries from the entire contest period – Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015 – even if they have not been members for the entire contest period.)

The 2015 OPA Better Newspaper Contest period is from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015.

All entries must be postmarked by Monday, February 8, 2016. 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.

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 of 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.

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 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.

All contest entries must have been produced by the newspaper’s staff or regular paid contributors. Syndicated material will not be considered.

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.

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.

There will be no ties within events.

Membership Newspapers, Divisions 1-8, are determined by newspaper circulation and frequency shown on the October 2015 U.S. Postal Service statement of total paid circulation (PS Form 3526, line 15C) plus the number of paid electronic subscriptions as reported to OPA.

DIVISION 1 – Daily newspapers with circulation of more than 8,000

will be determined when 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.

Entry fee for each event is $6.  

Every event will have first through fourth place winners. 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. Sweepstakes 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 Sheraton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City on Saturday, June 11, 2016.

Points in the contest are awarded on the following scale:
Events 1-3:
1st Place, 120 points; 2nd Place, 90 points; 3rd Place, 70 points; 4th Place, 50 points
Events 4-13:
1st Place,
100 points; 2nd Place, 70 points; 3rd Place, 50 points; 4th Place, 30 points

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

Contact Information

3601 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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

Toll-Free in OK