Home / Members / Contest / Better Newspaper Contest (how to enter)

Better Newspaper Contest (how to enter)

The 2017 contest is now closed. Thanks to all who entered. We look forward to seeing you at the convention and awards banquet in Carson City on Sept. 29-30.

Online entry

The Nevada Press Association uses an online entry and judging system through SmallTownPapers.
The main contest page is betternewspapercontest.com. Rather than clipping stories, ads and photos, you upload files to a web site. A few categories, such as general excellence, still require the hard copy to be mailed in. Note that for most categories, the entry may have been published in print or online. Here’s a PDF of instructions and a tally sheet.
The deadline for entries is June 1.

Instructions

Contest dates: All entry material must have been published originally between April 1 last year and March 31 this year by a member publication or web site. Entries are limited to associate and regular NPA members in good standing. If your publication is not a member, here’s how to join.
Deadline: Entries (including mail-in) must be posted by June 1.
Address: Nevada Press Foundation,
 102 N. Curry St.,
Carson City, NV 89703
Questions? Ask Barry Smith, 775-885-0866 or nevadapress@att.net
Fees: $8 per entry. Payment must be received before entries will be judged. Please make checks payable to Nevada Press Foundation.

2017 convention and awards banquet: Sept. 29-30 in Carson City.

Classifications

  • Class 1: Urban dailies — circulation of 15,000 or more
  • Class 2: Intermediate — more than one edition a week, circulation less than 15,000
  • Class 3: Community — weekly or monthly, less than 10,000 circulation
  • Class 4: Urban weeklies — weekly, 10,000 or more circulation
  • Magazines (see separate rules)
No more than four entries by an individual are allowed in any category. Entries credited to more than one person, such as stories with multiple bylines, won’t count against the limit.

Mail-in categories

Fill out the entry information online, as you would any other entry.
After pressing ‘submit,’ print the entry label and attach it to your mail-in entry. Mail or ship it to the Nevada Press Foundation at 102 N. Curry St., Carson City, Nevada 89703

Entry Preparation

You may visit the Better Newspaper Contest site to view a tutorial of the entry process.
Using the current version of Firefox or Chrome, visit betterbnc.com
Click on Contestant Login. Log in as Contest Manager.

BNC instructions
Choose the 2017 Nevada Press Better Newspaper Contest from the drop-down menu.
Choose your publication.

LOGIN: When logging in for the first time, use the default password contained in the instructions mailed to your newspaper. The first person to log in should be the Contest Manager, who will coordinate entries for your publication. Change the password, which will be used by your entire publication. The email address should also be for the Contest Manager, as that enables him or her to retrieve the password if it is lost or forgotten.
The default password for logging in the first time is contained in the instructions mailed to your newspaper. If you don’t have it, email us at nevadapress@att.net.

  • On the Manage Entries page, click ‘Submit Entry.’
  • Select the Division and the Category. Complete the Headline/Title field. Make sure it is clear which item on the page is to be judged.
  • Upload the content by clicking ‘Choose File’ and navigating to the desired file. Select Open and then Upload. Please keep file sizes under 3 MB.
  • Click ‘Next’ to add Credits and Comments. If your site requires a login and password for judges to get past a paywall, create a generic profile and include the details under Comments.
  • Click Submit. Continue to the next entry. DON’T FORGET TO CLICK SUBMIT.
  • Complete the tally sheet that was mailed to your newspaper and send payment to the Nevada Press Foundation.

The system will keep track of how many entries you have submitted. When you have finished submitting all entries, please email us at nevadapress@att.net so we can begin to confirm your entries.

Please combine PDFs into one document to make them easier for judges to read.
If not enough entries are received in a category, no award may be given or the entry may be moved to a different class for judging.

Contest categories

#1 GENERAL EXCELLENCE (mail in only)

This represents the highest award given. Entries should reflect the best of our industry. All entries must be complete copies without preprint ad inserts.

Send four issues total as follows:

  • an issue published April 1-June 30 last year
  • an issue published July 1-Sept. 30 last year
  • an issue published Oct. 1-Dec. 31 last year
  • an issue published Jan. 1-March 31 this year
  • Note: For newspapers with weekend or Sunday issues, at least two of the entries must be from weekday editions. We want judges to see more examples than just your Sunday efforts.

Newspapers will be judged on:

  • Local, general/departmental news
  • Editorial comment/page
  • Thoroughness of local coverage
  • General appearance, style, design, photo use and graphics
  • Advertising enterprise
#2 OUTSTANDING JOURNALIST

This category recognizes outstanding service and performance to the profession of journalism during the contest year. Entrants may come from any segment of the newsroom.
Two awards will be given:

  • For a journalist at an urban paper or magazine (classes 1, 4 and magazines)
  • For a journalist at a community paper (classes 2 and 3)

Limit of two entries per newspaper.
Submit written statements of the nominee’s journalistic achievements and a brief resume of the nominee.
Each nomination should be accompanied by at least four examples of the nominee’s work during the contest year.

#3 JOURNALIST OF MERIT

This category is designed to encourage journalists of any age with less than five years experience in newspaper work to stay in the newspaper industry. It’s our way of saying, “You have a future in this profession.” Entrants may come from any segment of the newsroom.
Submit written statements of the nominee’s journalistic achievements and a brief resume of the nominee. Each nomination should be accompanied by at least four examples of the nominee’s work during the contest year.
Awards will be given in each circulation class.
Limit of two entries per newspaper.

#4 COMMUNITY SERVICE

Service to the community in one or more ways as demonstrated through a series of stories, marketing/advertising materials, editorial crusade, photos, etc.
Materials should be related to a single project, drive or campaign. Entries should reflect results, community impact, and extra time and involvement by the staff. Proof of results contained in stories published after the end of the contest year (March 31) may be included.
A letter of explanation may be helpful to judges but isn’t required.
Limit of two entries per newspaper.

#5 STORY OF THE YEAR

Any piece that tells a compelling story and holds the reader’s interest. These stories may be entered in other categories as well.
One category for all newspapers. Criteria:

  • Quality of reporting
  • Clarity and quality of writing
  • Impact of story
#6 BREAKING NEWS REPORTING

Story or stories written from a breaking news event. Entry may be a single story or may include sidebars and online coverage of a single event. No series. Criteria:

  • Quality of reporting on deadline
  • Clarity of writing
  • Timeliness, importance to readers
  • Impact of story
#7 FEATURE WRITING

Entry may be a single story or a main story with sidebar published in one issue. No series. Entries should have a human-interest focus. Stories about entertainment, lifestyle and health or general-interest feature stories are included in this category. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Depth of reporting
  • Local relevance/appeal
#8 NONSTAFF STORY

Story or series written by someone not part of the regular staff. Entries may be news or feature-oriented, but may not be opinion columns. (See #15 for nonstaff columns.) Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Depth of reporting
  • Local relevance/appeal
#9 BUSINESS  SPOT NEWS STORY

Story written primarily on breaking news about business or commerce. Entry may be a single story or a main story with sidebar. Criteria:

  • Clarity of writing and reporting on deadline
  • Timeliness, importance to readers
  • Impact of story
Change: Business Feature Story (#10) has been revived as its own category.
#10 BUSINESS  FEATURE STORY

Feature story about business, commerce or a personality in the field. Entry may be a single story or a main story with sidebar. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Relevance to readers
  • Originality and creativity
#11 EXPLANATORY JOURNALISM

Entry may be a single story, a main story with sidebar or a series that explains in depth an issue of significant importance to the community. Limit: No more than eight stories to an entry. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Depth of reporting
  • Local relevance/appeal
Change: News Feature Story (#12) has been revived. The same story may not be entered in both News Feature and Feature Writing (#7)
#12 NEWS FEATURE STORY

A single story, or main story and sidebar, that expands on a breaking news event or analyzes its impact on the community. Criteria:

  • Clarity of reporting and writing
  • Timeliness, importance to readers
  • Impact on community
#13 INVESTIGATIVE STORY

May be a single story, a main story and sidebar or a series. Each subject constitutes an entry. Limit: No more than eight stories to an entry. Entries should reflect an investigative enterprise. If the story leads to further developments or impacts, you may submit stories published after the end of the contest year (March 31). A letter of clarification may be submitted. Criteria:

  • Importance to readers
  • Quality of investigative reporting and research
  • Clarity of writing
#14 LOCAL COLUMN

Single entry consists of three columns written by the same columnist. The column must appear regularly in the publication and be written by a regular staff member.
Limit of one entry per columnist. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Style, originality and impact
#15 LOCAL NON-STAFF COLUMN

Single entry consists of three columns from a columnist during the contest year. The columnist must reside in Nevada (or California for newspapers in that state). Column must appear at least monthly in an member publication and be written by a nonstaff writer. Three columns constitute one entry.
Limit of one entry per columnist. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Style, originality and impact
#16 SPORTS SPOT NEWS STORY

Single story or a main story with sidebar on breaking sports news. Criteria:

  • Quality of reporting and writing
  • Timeliness
  • Local interest
Change: Sports Feature Writing (#17) has been revived as its own category.
#17 SPORTS FEATURE WRITING

Single story focused on human interest and activity in sports and recreation. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Originality and creativity
  • Interest to readers
#18 SPORTS COLUMN

Must be a sports column that appears regularly within the sports pages and is written by a regular staff member. Submit three representative columns. Three columns equal one entry.
Limit of one entry (three columns) per writer. Criteria:

  • Quality and clarity of writing
  • Originality, impact and news value
#19 ENTERTAINMENT WRITING

A single entry consists of three examples by the same writer on entertainment subjects and/or events and may be advances, columns, news stories or features.
Limit of one entry per writer. Criteria:

  • Quality and clarity of writing
  • Impact and news value
#20 CRITICAL WRITING

Single entry consists of three examples of criticism or review, not including editorials.
Limit of one entry per writer. Criteria:

  • Clarity of argument
  • Quality of writing
  • Impact of story
#21 FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

An award for upholding the principles of the First Amendment and protecting the public’s right to know. Submit stories, editorials and/or columns, along with a description of actions taken and results accomplished. Limit: No more than eight stories to an entry. Award will be given to the newspaper, not an individual.
Two awards will be given:

  • One for urban newspapers (classes 1 and 4)
  • One for community newspapers (classes 2 and 3)
#22 EDITORIAL OF THE YEAR

The category awards a house editorial (not a personal column) expressing the newspaper’s opinion. One editorial makes up one entry. Please indicate on the entry who wrote the editorial. Criteria:

  • Impact and importance to readers
  • Clarity and strength of argument
  • Reporting and writing
#23 EDITORIAL WRITING

A single entry consists of three samples of editorial writing by the same writer. No personal columns, only editorials expressing the newspaper’s opinion. Please indicate on the entry who wrote the editorials.
Limit of one entry per writer. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing, call to action
  • Reporting/research
  • Community impact/importance to reader
#24 EDITORIAL PAGE

Submit complete editorial page or pages. You may Indicate in the notes the content that is generated locally.
Submit four samples: from any issue published from April 1 through June 30 last year; from any issue published from July 1, through Sept. 30 last year; from any issue published from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 last year; and from any issue published from Jan. 1 through March 31 this year.
Limit of one entry per newspaper. Criteria:

  • Local issues, variety of content
  • Layout, readability
  • Letters to the editor

Visual

#25 OUTSTANDING VISUAL JOURNALIST

For photographers, designers, artists and others who tell the news in ways other than the written word. Entries may include a letter of nomination and at least four samples of the nominee’s work from the contest year. One award is given for all classes.
Limit of two entries per paper. Criteria:

  • Storytelling ability through visual media such as photos, design, graphics
  • News value and impact on readers
#26 OVERALL DESIGN (mail in only)

Entries will be judged on design and makeup, use of graphics, typefaces, headlines, photo and color use, if applicable.

Submit four complete issues (minus advertising inserts): Any issue published in June last year; any issue from September last year; any issue from November last year; and any issue from this year prior to March 31.

Limit one entry per newspaper.

#27 PAGE ONE DESIGN

For excellence in design, including use of photos, graphics, headlines and type faces with an emphasis on drawing the reader into the newspaper.

An entry consists of five separate examples of the front page published at any time during the contest year.

Limit one entry per newspaper.

#28 GRAPHIC DESIGNER

An entry consists of three examples of a page layout, original graphic, illustration or other design element created by a single person or design team. For instance, three illustrations by the same individual would qualify as one entry.  Two page layouts and an illustration would qualify as one entry. One entry per person or team. Criteria:

  • Overall design, layout and readability
  • Effective use of elements to convey information
  • Originality and creativity
#31 HEADLINE WRITING

Submit a full page or post, clearly indicating the headlines being entered. Each entry consists of three separate headlines written by the same writer. Limit of five entries per publication. Headlines for online stories are eligible. Entries are judged on impact, cleverness and accuracy.

Awards will be given in two classifications:

  • One for urban newspapers (classes 1 and 4)
  • One for community newspapers (classes 2 and 3)

Photography

#32 PHOTO OF THE YEAR

Any photo that tells a compelling story and holds the reader’s interest. These photos may be entered in other categories as well.

One category for all newspapers. Criteria:

  • Technical quality
  • Originality/imagination
  • Impact or draw on the viewer
#33 NEWS PHOTO COVERAGE

For a photo or photos of breaking or general news events. This may include more than one photo from the same event, which constitutes one entry, even if the photos were taken by different photographers.

No limit on entries. Criteria:

  • News value
  • Technical quality
  • Originality/creativity
#34 FEATURE PHOTO

For photos that are not directly related to a specific breaking news event. Photos should have a story-telling quality or unusual elements. No portraits (see #36).

  • Originality/creativity
  • Human interest
  • Technical quality
#35 MULTIPLE PHOTO ESSAY OR GALLERY

Single subject told through two or more photos, with or without accompanying text. Photos may appear in more than one edition, such as a series, project or online gallery. Photos are not directly related to a breaking news event. Photos may be by more than one photographer.

  • News value
  • Variety of photos in essay
  • Technical quality
#36 PORTRAIT

A portrait of a person or a small group of people.

  • Storytelling quality
  • Technical quality
  • Photo editing
#37 ILLUSTRATED PHOTO

Artistic photos posed and designed to illustrate a specific article, feature or theme. No commercial photos.

  • Achievement of purpose
  • Originality/creativity
  • Technical quality
#38 SPORTS PHOTO

May be action or feature of a sports-related event or individual.

  • News value
  • Technical quality
  • Originality/creativity

Cartoon

#39 EDITORIAL CARTOON

Original opinion-oriented cartoon created for the newspaper by a staff member or freelancer. One category for all newspapers. Limit: four entries per cartoonist.

  • Originality
  • Clarity of opinion
  • Quality of artwork

Special sections

#40 SPECIAL SECTION (Editorial) (mail in only)

Special edition or section generated and distributed by the newspaper with emphasis on the editorial content. A special section does not include regular weekly publications such as TV books, real-estate sections, entertainment magazines, etc. Submit complete copy of section.

Limit of two entries per newspaper.

Advertising

#41 PRINT AD

The ad is for a single business and must be created and produced locally. Criteria:

  • Concept
  • Layout
  • Originality
  • Effectiveness
#42 BLACK AND WHITE AD

For print advertisements in the traditional black & white format.

  • Concept
  • Layout
  • Originality
  • Effectiveness
#43 ADVERTISING INNOVATION

New ideas in advertising, which could be stickers, flyers, gatefolds or other nontraditional placements, including online advertising.

  • Concept
  • Layout
  • Originality
  • Effectiveness
#44 AD SERIES

A series of ads for a single advertiser. It may fit into any category: sale, promotional, branding, etc.

  • Concept
  • Layout
  • Originality
  • Effectiveness
#45 SPECIAL SECTION OR CAMPAIGN (ADVERTISING) (mail in only)

Featuring multiple advertisers, it may include a page, section, supplement or insert. Emphasis is on uniqueness of product and quality of design. This category is for one-time or annual sections. (See #47 Niche Magazine for regular publications.) Limit of two per newspaper.

  • Concept
  • Design and copy
  • Originality
  • Effectiveness
#46 IN-HOUSE ADVERTISING PROMOTION FOR CIRCULATION, ADVERTISING OR EDITORIAL

May be a single ad, campaign, or include rack cards, radio, TV, flyers, etc. Include an explanation of promotion, purpose and results.

  • Concept
  • Layout
  • Originality
  • Effectiveness
#47 NICHE MAGAZINE (mail-in only)

A publication — not on newsprint — devoted to a particular niche market or segment published regularly by the newspaper. (For one-time or annual sections, see #45 Special Section.) Limit: 2 entries per publication.

  • Service to the market
  • Design
  • Originality
  • Effectiveness
#48 ADVERTISING GENERAL EXCELLENCE (mail in only)

Submit four complete issues:

  • an issue published from April 1 through June 30 last year
  • an issue from July 1 through Sept. 30 last year
  • an issue from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 last year
  • an issue published from Jan. 1 through March 31 this year

Note: For newspapers with weekend or Sunday issues, at least two of the entries must be from weekday editions. We want judges to see more examples than just your Sunday efforts.

Entries will be judged on the overall quality of the advertising content.

Silver Star

#49 SILVER STAR AWARD

For outstanding performers in advertising, circulation, business office, pressroom, etc. outside the newsroom. One award will be given for all classes.

Limit of two entries per publication.

We recognize that a better newspaper can’t be built without superior contributions from all departments. This award recognizes those who shine in your organization and are worthy of a Silver Star.

Online categories

For all online categories, provide a link to the page. If your site requires registration, create an account and password for judges and list both on the entry form.
#W1 BEST WEB SITE

Judged on the overall quality of the site and ease of navigation. Criteria:

  • Timeliness
  • Engagement of readers
  • Quality of content
  • 
Attractiveness of design
#W2 DIGITAL STORYTELLING

Entries may include video, slideshow, audio, interactive graphic or other components that tell the story. On the entry form, provide a link to the story/project. Criteria:

  • Creativity and originality
  • Impact on readers
  • Design and ease of use
#W3 PLATFORM WRITING

News or commentary written by a staff member for a specific online platform, whether that be a blog, Facebook or some other form of publication affiliated with the member publication. Criteria:

  • Quality of writing
  • Timeliness and local appeal
  • Originality

#W4 DIGITAL INNOVATION

A presentation, tool, platform or engagement feature that provides an innovative way to bring news online and tell stories to readers. Include a link to the entry. Criteria:

  • Creativity
  • Engagement of readers
  • Quality of content
  • Attractiveness of design

#W5 BEST ONLINE AD

Any advertisement produced locally for use on digital platforms, either web or mobile.

  • Creativity of concept
  • Engagement of readers
  • Appropriateness of design for digital content

 

Check Also

See the photo winners from the 2017 contest

Here are the photo winners in the Nevada Press Association’s annual contest for newspapers and …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top