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Volunteering to judge the contest … FAQ

So you are volunteering to be a judge for the Better Newspaper Contest and you’re wondering, “What did I get myself into?”

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. If you need to know more, just ask.

contest paperWhat will I be judging?

Each year, the Nevada Press Association trades contest judging with another state of similar-size papers. This year, it’s Utah Press Association.

We try to match you, the judge, with a category for which you’re best suited — feature stories, photography, design, advertising, whatever. You’ll be assigned a category (or more than one), and you’ll log onto a judging site to review the entries.

How long will it take?

Some categories go pretty quickly. Say you are reviewing a dozen ads from small weekly newspapers. That won’t take long. Others, however, will involve reading several investigative stories, for example. That will take hours. We’ll give you several weeks to get everything done, though. And the more judges we have, the less for each one to do.

How do I decide the winners?

Your experience as a journalist, or in sales or design, will lead you to recognize the top-quality entries. But you’re also a reader, right? That’s who we’re trying to reach. Sometimes it just comes down to which one appealed to you most.

For most states’ contests, they also want second- and third-place picks too. It’s seldom an easy decision, and good ones get left out. It’s the nature of competition.

What do I get out of it?

The greatest benefit to judging is the ideas and insight you’ll get into your own work. You’ll be exposed to some terrific examples in your field, which can be inspiring and sometimes a bit humbling. Ask anybody who has helped with the judging before — they’ll tell you it’s rewarding.

Haven’t volunteered yet?

Just send me an email. Anybody who has or now works for a Nevada Press Association member publication, we welcome your participation.

Or feel free to ask anything I haven’t answered.



About Barry Smith

Barry Smith is executive director of the Nevada Press Association. Before joining NPA, he was editor of the Nevada Appeal in Carson City and has been an editor, columnist and reporter.

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