There are no major changes to the contest this year.
Your contest chair is Jeff Rosen of the Kansas City Star. His contact info is: email jrosen@kcstar.com | phone 816-234-4706
CONTEST DEADLINE
All section entries must be postmarked on or before Jan. 17, 2017. All writing entries must be submitted by midnight local time that same day.
A few important notes:
Please read the instructions carefully. Try to follow the protocols. Entries which do not adhere to the rules may be disqualified.
HELPFUL HOW TO VIDEO:

COVER LETTERS NOTE
Rules for cover letters are specific. Please adhere to them strictly. DO NOT write a thesis explaining the story, provide only the information allowed under the cover letter guidelines (see below).
ENTRY KEYS NOTE
Entry key example:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CyZVqHMjo8njWsLyTYNDu6tyZQs–6LxqoF3WgfjulI/edit?ts=584ec198
It is ESSENTIAL that all entry keys (see below) have full and complete information on the authors of the work – please DO NOT come back later, after the winners have been revealed, to ask that names to be added to the credit for the work. Take time to do this when you put together your entry and BE THOROUGH. There is a reason for this – once results have been published, to even add one name means doing so on at least four platforms: our website, our closed Facebook group, our open Facebook page AND the report that the Associated Press puts out. And it also has to be relayed to be changed for the program for the awards banquet and for any plaques or certificates. To make one simple change on all these platforms can take the better part of an hour. So PLEASE do this work up front and do not wait until after you see your entry on the winner’s list.
LINKS, WE NEED LINKS
The contest entry key asks for links to all your entries. That needs to be clarified. The links should be the URL (shortened using bitly.com) to your entries as they ran online – links to the stories on your website. Do this even if your shop has a hard paywall.
So, please, DO NOT give us links to the google docs that you are creating for story entries. The purpose of the links is so that when your stories make the top 10, those links can be shared so other people can check out the winners. If there is a paywall, people can choose to pay to see it or not. This also allows the contest chair to look up the stories online if there are any questions, if they end up in the wrong folder or something else goes amiss.
ONE ENTRY PER WRITER PER CATEGORY
Example of an entry:

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vnh_hlJPRmG_bgEmRsnouKRy4dJiLTnJRrM9DOtvtdE/edit?ts=584ec159
You will find this below, but as you put together your entries, start with this understanding:
WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE BEAT WRITING CATEGORY, no article may be entered in more than one writing division. There is a limit of one entry per writer per category, with a single exception: a writer may be entered in the same category a second time (and only a second time) if he/she is a member of a team (two or more writers) entry. A single team may not be entered twice. Example: Writer A could be entered once individually. She also could be entered a second time for an entry co-authored by Writer B. Or, Writer A could be entered twice as a part of a team, as long as the teams were not the same.
This includes the video and multimedia categories. And nothing from an entered project can be also entered in another category. You have to choose.
You also cannot enter material as a project and also as a special section, if it ran that way. Again, you have to choose.
ONE GOOGLE DOC PER ENTRY
When preparing entries for categories that allow multiple stories (including optional material) such as columns or beat writing, put all stories (as well as the cover letter where allowed) for that entry in one google doc. So, if you are entering two columnists, the google doc for your Columns 1 entry should have all five columns, and a separate google doc for your other column entry, Columns 2, would have all five columns from that writer. DO NOT make separate google docs for each story within an entry. And if you are including optional material in, say, breaking news, include that in the same google doc as the story that you are entering, and mark it “Optional material” at the top so the judges know which is the story to be judged. So your Breaking News 1 doc could include the cover letter, the breaking news story and an optional-material story all in one document.
DAILY SECTION MANDATORIES
In recognition of the fact that many newspapers no longer publish seven days per week, and to be as inclusive as possible, APSE has changed the mandatory dates for the Daily Sections contest to a week-long period (of six days, no Sunday papers allowed in the Daily Sections) from which an organization will submit one daily section.
All sections are from 2016.
The mandatory dates already chosen are Daily Feb. 22-27 (one section from this Monday-Saturday period) and Oct. 3-8 (one section from this Monday-Saturday period).
Sunday: Feb. 14 and July 17.
OFF-SITE JUDGES NEEDED
APSE will be utilizing off-site judging in certain categories again this year. If you are unable to make it to Orlando and wish to judge – or if you have a staff member who won’t be going to Orlando who would like to participate – email apsecontest@gmail.com and put OFF-SITE JUDGING in the subject line. Off-site judges will judge in a window from Feb. 13-25.
ANONYMITY AND REDACTION
In most categories, all identifiers of the authors and organization must be redacted (as explained below in the section on how to enter). In the project, video and multimedia categories, entries should be by link so there is no redaction required.
In cases where other publications are cited or credited in an entry, those identifiers SHOULD NOT BE REDACTED.
For instance, if your publication is the Daily Times and your entry mentions your publication AND OTHERS, redact only the Daily Times. As an example, in an entry like this – Coach John Doe has resigned, the Daily Times has learned. The City Chronicle first reported that Coach Doe had not been at practice for the past week. – you would redact the Daily Times reference but NOT the City Chronicle reference. Judges will infer that an unredacted reference to a publication is a reference to another publication.
The contest should work very much as it did last year:
All writing entries will be submitted electronically via Google Drive.
Having trouble? Shoot the contest chair an email (make sure to copy to apsecontest@gmail.com with QUESTION or PROBLEM in the subject line) or call (contact info above). Our goal is that the contest be a breeze to enter. So please help us make that a reality.
Below you’ll find all the info you need to enter. Included are all the contest basics (categories, rules, etc.) at the bottom.
CONTEST ESSENTIALS:
_ All section entries must be postmarked on or before Jan. 17, 2017. All writing entries must be submitted by midnight local time that same day.
_ Mandatory dates: Sunday – Feb. 14, 2016; (with a second Sunday date TBD on Dec. 31, 2016); Daily – One paper chosen from the week of Feb. 22-27, 2016 (Monday through Saturday are eligible), with second group of dates TBD on Dec. 31, 2016)
_ Section catchers can be found below.
_ Judging will take place Feb. 22-27 (Wednesday through Sunday) at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Orlando – Lake Buena Vista (address Walt Disney World, 2305 Hotel Plaza Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830-2811, phone number 407-842-1054). Rate is $155. Use the group code APS.
_ If you are attending judging, be there for a 4 p.m. meeting Wednesday, Feb. 22. With the move to online entries, rather than paper, please please please make this meeting.
_ Bring your laptop or tablet. Paperless judging means we have to access the entries digitally.
_ To enter, you must sign up for a Google account. You’ll need this both to submit entries and to judge come February.
_ If you’re a judge, please send an email to apsecontest@gmail.com with your cell phone, work email and gmail – and make sure to include your news organization and circulation category:
Category A: Over 175,000/more than 2 million unique monthly visitors
Category B: 75,001 to 175,000/from 750,001 to 1.999 million unique monthly visitors
Category C: 30,000 to 75,000/from 250,000 to 750,000 unique monthly visitors
Category D: Under 30,000/less than 250,000 unique monthly visitors
_ You must notify contest chairman Jeff Rosen that you have submitted all writing entries. Include your entries key with this note. Send those to apsecontest@gmail.com – all entries will be checked as quickly as possible, but may not be checked immediately. Please be patient.
_ Questions? Contact Jeff Rosen at jrosen@kcstar.com or 816-234-4706 (please copy to apsecontest@gmail.com and put CONTEST QUESTION in the subject line). I’ll respond to everyone as quickly as I can, but some responses may not be immediate. Please do what you can to avoid waiting until the last minute before the entry deadline.
HOW TO ENTER:
A. How to prepare writing entries
Copy and paste story from electronic library copy or from your website (TEXT ONLY, NO HEADLINES OR PHOTOS) into a Google doc. (If you only have hard copies contact me, and we’ll work out a solution.) For ease of use, please do use Google Docs. Thank you.
All entries must include the following information at the first page of the story. For example:
USA TODAY Sports
Writing division: Breaking News
Circulation category: Over 175
Numbered entry: Breaking News 1 (This MUST match your entry key. This is how we know what story belongs to which publication and which author — so if you have two Breaking News entries, make them Breaking News 1 and Breaking News 2.)
Date entry was published: June 18, 2016
You must redact any mention of the publication within the copy. To do this, highlight the text you want to redact. Next, click on the “A” in the formatting bar across the top of the Google Doc. It will give you the option of text or highlight. Click on highlight, then choose the first box in the first row (black.) Done. It will look like this: XXXBLACKOUTXXX.
DO NOT redact mentions of other publications. For instance, if your publication is the Daily Times and your entry mentions your publication AND OTHERS, redact only the Daily Times. As an example, in an entry like this – Coach John Doe has resigned, the Daily Times has learned. The City Chronicle first reported that Coach Doe had not been at practice for the past week. – you would redact the Daily Times reference but NOT the City Chronicle reference. Judges will infer that an unredacted reference to a publication is from a reference to another publication.
B. How to submit your writing entries:
1. Log in to Google Drive.
2. Get your upload link. The links are included at the bottom of this document and posted separately on the site. Don’t see your site? Email me (Jeff Rosen) at apsecontest@gmail.com, and I’ll get you set up. Put NEED UPLOAD LINK in the subject line.
3. The link takes you directly to your publication’s folder, which includes subfolders for each writing category.
4. Ready? Click on the link.
5. In the top right corner there is a blue button that says “Open in Drive.” Click on that.
6. Now we come to a fork in the road.
7. Have you already created your writing entries and just need to upload? Yes? Great. On the left is a red button titled “NEW.” Click on it to reveal its menu. You want “file upload.” Find the files on your desktop and upload them. Please put the breaking news entries in the breaking news folder, etc.
8. Need help uploading? Directions straight from google: https://support.google.com/drive/answer/2424368)
9. Wait, you say you have NOT created your writing entries yet? No problem. Let’s get started.
10. On the left is a red button titled “NEW.” Click on it to reveal its menu.
11. You want “Google Docs.” Click on it. You’ll get the following message: “Create in a shared folder? The created item will have the same sharing permissions as the selected folder.” Click yes.
12. Name the document. In the left-hand corner you’ll see “unnamed document.” Click on that text and enter your title — “Breaking News 1,” “Columns 1,” etc. This is the title you’ll put on your entry key.
13. Now you’re ready to create a writing entry. Just follow the instructions for how to prepare writing entries
14. The bonus for you is the google doc has been created right there in your publication’s folder, no need to upload. When all your entries are ready, you’ll just need to drag and drop each into the appropriate subfolder
C. Let us know you’ve finished your entries.
_ Send an email to apsecontest@gmail.com – IMPORTANT: Put the name of the news organization plus ENTRY COMPLETE in subject line. Make this a fresh, new email, and not part of a chain of any earlier correspondence.
_ Include the ENTRY KEY as an attachment. This is ESSENTIAL for the judges to make sure the entries are properly logged so credit is given to the correct writers or content producers when the winners are selected, and to make sure your stories are in the right folders, etc.
HOW TO PREPARE AN ENTRY KEY
_ Create a Google doc.
_ Label it “USA TODAY Sports (name of your org) Entry Key”
_ Break down entries by category, including separate links (use bitly.com) for each story submitted. Please be very mindful of the spellings as it’s what we will use.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These need to be links to your stories on your website, NOT links to your google docs. Please read the explanation above for clarification.
(If you are not familiar with bitly, it is a URL-shortener. Go to bitly.com online and you’ll see where to drop your original link, hit the shorten tab and copy the new, shortened link. It gives you the option to sign up, but you don’t have to do that.)
For example:
Beat Writing
1. Jane Doe
http://usat.ly/1CEgwaS
http://usat.ly/1aZBfgi
http://usat.ly/1CEgwaS
http://usat.ly/1aZBfgi
http://usat.ly/1CEgwaS
2. Harry Hairshirt
http://usat.ly/1CEgwaS
http://usat.ly/1aZBfgi
http://usat.ly/1CEgwaS
http://usat.ly/1aZBfgi
http://usat.ly/1CEgwaS
CONTEST BASICS
Who can enter?
Dues must be paid to be contest eligible.
If you haven’t paid your 2016 APSE dues, there’s still time to pay them and become eligible to enter APSE’s annual contests. Sign up here: http://pay.apsportseditors.com/
What are the writing categories?
BREAKING NEWS
Three entries per organization; one article per entry; cover letter allowed.
Article of a sports news development (trades, hirings, firings, franchise shifts, etc.) that occurred in the most recent news cycle.
Online or print stories can be submitted.
A cover letter should explain:
Who broke the story
When the news was obtained relative to publication
Publication time online
How it might have been expanded upon for print.
For judging purposes, only the final story and cover letter must be read, but up to three examples of complementary material may be included and read at the judges’ discretion. Judges, using their discretion, will weigh the various elements of a breaking news story: timeliness, thoroughness, exclusivity, significance. These should be explained in the cover letter.
EXPLANATORY
Two entries per organization; one article per entry; cover letter allowed.
Article along with any accompanying sidebars or graphics/charts that help supplement the story.
Sidebars will not be required reading by the judges. They will be included to answer judges’ questions concerning why material may be missing from the single-story entry. An editor also can attach a cover letter that is a synopsis of the sidebars.
NOTE: If you include optional sidebar material, place it in the same google doc along with the entry and the cover letter. Label it “Optional Material” at the top.
Explanatory stories include trends, issues and original ideas. They shed new light on issues and personalities in the news. They are more than the feature and less than the project entry. They go beyond the “yesterday” of the breaking news story.
GAME STORY (Class D/Under 30K only)
Three entries per organization; one article per entry.
The best single article by a single author. No series; no sidebars. No cover letters.
Judging will be on reader interest, and quality of writing and thoroughness of reporting.
BEAT WRITING
Two entries per organization; five articles per entry; cover letter allowed.
Collection of articles by a single author that shows authoritative, newsy and innovative coverage of a beat.
Each entry should consist of five pieces: at least one breaking news story; one event or game coverage story; one enterprise piece and two wild-card stories from any of the aforementioned categories (or other stories or analysis related to the beat).
Entries should include a cover letter with a synopsis of how the combined submissions demonstrate excellence on the beat. The cover letter should note other metrics that show authority and audience engagement on the beat.
This is the only category where stories can be entered for a second time — the five articles that make up the entry can (but do not have to) be also entered in other categories (for instance, a breaking news story can be entered in Breaking News and also as part of the Beat Writing entry).
NOTE: Place all stories that make up the entry in the same google doc along with the entry and the cover letter.
FEATURES
Three entries per organization; one article per entry; no cover letter.
The best single article. No series; no sidebars.
Judging will be on human interest, reader interest, quality of writing and thoroughness of reporting.
COLUMNS
Two entries per organization; five articles per entry; no cover letter.
Judged based on style, writing quality, originality and local appeal.
No restriction on subject matter and no requirement that they appear regularly.
NOTE: Place all columns that make up the entry in the same google doc.
PROJECTS
One entry per paper; 1-10 articles per entry (refer to category explanation for more detail); cover letter allowed.
Collection of articles that sheds new light on personalities and issues in the news, including trends and original ideas.
For judging purposes, the project is limited to 10 stories. Additional material may be attached and read at the judges’ discretion.
There should be a synopsis of the supplementary material in the cover letter. The material is not required to have appeared in a single day or on consecutive days.
Multimedia can be entered as a project to allow the full scope of the project to be judged. This should be done by linking to the project in the cover letter (there is NO NEED to also drop individual stories into your folder – the cover letter and link therein can comprise the full entry, but the ENTRY KEY must include the link and information on who produced the work).
NOTE: You CANNOT enter the same work in both Projects and Multimedia, or Video or any other category. You have to choose. Just like you can’t take a sidebar from your project entry and enter it in Features and three more pieces of an entered project and enter them in Explanatory. Discovery of the same material entered under Project and in Multimedia or any other category will result in the entries being disqualified.
ALSO NOTE: Stories and material entered as a special section entry may not also be entered as a project writing entry.
FINALLY, if you are not entering by link, place all stories that make up the entry in the same google doc along with the cover letter.
INVESTIGATIVE
One entry per paper; 1+ articles per entry; cover letter allowed. (There are no circulation categories in Investigative: all entries are judged across all categories)
Best single article or best series.
Judging will be based on the entry’s enterprise, initiative, documentation, resourcefulness and original reporting in uncovering newsworthy and significant facts and developments that otherwise might not have been reported. Impact and aftermath of the work should be considered.
Investigative work should rely on reporting of facts discovered or uncovered by the author rather than reports from anonymous sources offering unverified statements.
Investigative entries must not include articles for which payments were made for information. Pure and truly significant investigative reporting is rare. Relying solely on quotes from an FBI source does not make a story investigative. Doing the work the FBI would do in order to build a story might be investigative.
NOTE: Place all stories that make up the entry in the same google doc along with the entry and the cover letter.
MULTIMEDIA
Multimedia includes interactive graphics, audio, slideshows or combinations thereof, or anything else that falls under the broad description of multimedia other than simple videos (which must be entered in the video portion of the contest). Entries will be judged, foremost, on the strength of storytelling. Visual and auditory quality will be considered.
A single story may be a series on the same topic (such as following a team through a season) with a limit of five installments per entry.
A cover letter (follow standard format above) can be submitted with the entry. In instances where the multimedia entry supplemented a written story, that should be summarized in the cover letter. The story itself may be submitted for background purposes and can be read at the judges’ discretion. The written story will not be a part of the material judged.
Judges will select a Top 5 and up to five honorable mention entries — unless the number of entries, at the contest chair’s discretion, supports expanding the number of entries.
Categories are the same as for all other divisions:
Category A: Over 175,000/more than 2 million unique monthly visitors
Category B: 75,001 to 175,000/from 750,001 to 1.999 million unique monthly visitors
Category C: 30,000 to 75,000/from 250,000 to 750,000 unique monthly visitors
Category D: Under 30,000/less than 250,000 unique monthly visitors
_ Two entries per organization.
_ Create a Google doc with the URL to your multimedia entry and then upload that to your organization’s folder.
VIDEO
Video entries will be placed in one of two categories:
_ Up to 2 Minutes
_ Over 2 Minutes
Entries will be judged, foremost, on the strength of storytelling. Visual and auditory quality will be considered.
A cover letter (follow standard format above) can be submitted with the entry. In instances where the video entry supplemented a written story, that should be summarized in the cover letter. The story itself may be submitted for background purposes and can be read at the judges’ discretion. The written story will not be a part of the material judged.
Judges will select a Top 5 and up to five honorable mention entries — unless the number of entries, at the contest chair’s discretion, supports expanding the number of entries honored.
Categories for video contest entries are the same as for Multimedia and all other contest entries, by circulation for news organizations with a daily print product or unique monthly visitors for website/digital-only members. See above for details
_ One entry per organization per category (i.e. one entry in Up to 2 Minutes and one entry in Over 2 minutes).
_ Create a Google doc with the URL to your multimedia entry and then upload that to your organization’s folder.
COVER LETTER FORMAT
How do I write a cover letter?
A cover letter actually isn’t a letter at all. It’s a form that gives judges pertinent information. You must follow this strict format or your letter may be tossed. So PLEASE take care to adhere to this (in the case of breaking news there is allowance for other material as specified – see above):
Origin of the idea of the story: (Place your explanation here …)
Timeliness of its publication: (Place your explanation here …)
Difficulty in acquiring it: (Place your explanation here …)
Impact, reaction, aftermath: (Place your explanation here …)
Project reporting 1: (The numbered entry)
DO NOT identify the organization or writer. The judges will see the cover letters.
Can I enter the same story in five different categories?
With the exception of the beat writing category, no article may be entered in more than one writing division. There is a limit of one entry per writer per category, with a single exception: a writer may be entered in the same category a second time (and only a second time) if he/she is a member of a team (two or more writers) entry. A single team may not be entered twice. Example: Writer A could be entered once individually. She also could be entered a second time for an entry co-authored by Writer B. Or, Writer A could be entered twice as a part of a team, as long as the teams were not the same.
The same rule applies in the multimedia and video categories (and also note that this applies to projects – see above).
What’s my circulation category?
Entries will be judged by category determined by the level at which the news organization pays APSE dues: for news organizations with daily print products, this is determined by average daily circulation; for website-only news organizations, this is determined by unique monthly visitors:
Here are the categories:
Category A: Over 175,000/more than 2 million unique monthly visitors
Category B: 75,001 to 175,000/from 750,001 to 1.999 million unique monthly visitors
Category C: 30,000 to 75,000/from 250,000 to 750,000 unique monthly visitors
Category D: Under 30,000/less than 250,000 unique monthly visitors
There is a special fifth category for sections: Under 15,000. All papers under 30,000 enter Category D. Papers with a circulation of 15,000 and under — those that are not recognized in the Top 10 for Under 30,000 — are eligible for recognition in the special 15,000 and under division. A paper need not enter twice; it will automatically be judged in both categories, as eligible.
All contest entries – writing and section divisions as well as video and multimedia – must be made in the same category. Editors wanting to compete in a larger category must notify contest chair Jeff Rosen (jrosen@kcstar.com 816-234-4706) before submitting entries. Those “playing up” will be required to pay the higher dues for the higher division.
When one staff publishes sports sections for several papers, they are considered one paper for APSE purposes. To enter individually, these papers need to pay dues individually. Questions on your organization and how it fits in should be directed to APSE President Tommy Deas (tommy.deas@tuscaloosanews.com, 205-722-0224).
When one staff publishes sports sections for several papers, dues must have been paid accordingly, with the combined circulation determining the category. If you didn’t follow this procedure when you paid dues, your contest entries are subject to disqualification.
How are writing entries judged?
Preliminary judges will select the top 10 stories in each group as finalists. Each judge, separately and on a secret ballot, will list the stories in order from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best story. The final 10 will be given to a second judging group, which also will rank the stories 1-10 in the same fashion as the first group. The final judges’ ballots and the final 10 stories will be turned into the contest chair. The chair will tally all the votes awarding points in reverse order (No. 1 story gets 10 points, No. 2 gets 9, etc.). It is the responsibility of the entering news organization, based on the judging guidelines, to select the proper division in which an entry should be placed.
For articles that appeared in the newspaper as columns but are entered in game, feature or breaking news divisions, the judging group will have disqualification authority.
How does the section contest work?
There are section categories for Daily, Sunday and Special sections.
Entries must include a 3-by-5 index card or facsimile with section division, news organization name, city, daily circulation, circulation category, and days of publication.
The information on the card should mirror the following format:
Section division: (Example Daily)
Newspaper: (Example Daily Bugle)
City: (Example Dallas, Texas)
Daily circulation: (Example 212,000)
Dates of publication: (Example Two dates from the mandatory windows and two optionals of your choosing for Daily sections; Two mandatory dates and two optionals for Sunday.)
Circulation category: (Example Over 175,000).
The Daily section entries must contain four issues. This includes the two mandatory dates. The two optional issues in the daily divisions may come from any days except Sunday.
The Sunday section entry must contain four issues, including the two mandatory dates. On mandatory dates, papers enter all sports-related content from that day’s paper, including special sections and page A-1 material.
NOTE: Sunday entries MUST BE published on Sundays – “weekend editions” that are published on Saturday (or Monday or any date other than Sunday) will be disqualified.
Optional day entries may include: self-contained sports sections, sports-related Page A1 material and special sections that may include live (or yesterday) content and regular-scheduled preview content.
Stand-alone special preview (season and major event) sections are not allowed for optional-day entries. Special sections that are not live may not be entered with optional entries. The preponderance of material in such a special preview section must be live for it to be included.
On mandatory dates, papers enter all sports-related content, including special sections and material from other sections of the paper – for instance, A1 outtake or breaking news would be included.
Judges will select – but not rank – the top 10 sections in each circulation category and will select as many as 10 honorable mentions.
NOTE: Sunday entries must be published on Sundays – not weekend editions that publish on Saturdays or Monday editions for papers that do not publish on Sunday.
Section mandatory dates:
Sunday: February 14 and July 17, 2016
Daily: One paper chosen from the week of February 22-27 (Monday through Saturday are eligible), with the second from Oct. 3-8.
Section catchers:
Under 30:
Dana Sulonen, Sports Editor
Opelika-Auburn News
2901 Society Hill Road
Opelika, AL 36804
30-75:
Roger Simmons / Sports
Orlando Sentinel
633 N. Orange Ave.
Orlando, FL 32801
75-175:
Jorge Rojas
Miami Herald
Attn: Sports
3511 NW 91st Ave.
Doral, FL. 33172
Over 175:
Kathy Laughlin
Sports Department
Sun Sentinel
500 E. Broward Blvd. # 900
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
How are Daily/Sunday sections judged?
The best sections offer coverage, news, features and opinion, supported by scores, results and standings of the day’s activities as needed to reflect the interest of the readership. There should be an appeal to the fanatic as well as the casual fan – and an attempt to satisfy a range of readership diversity. Judges should look closely at three areas of content:
Subject matter: Determine the quality of staff-written material. Space should be used wisely. Big-event coverage should be coordinated to avoid overlap. News should be played properly, and judges should look at reaction to breaking news. Where there are few professional teams, judges should look for strong treatment of college, high school and other results. Even where there are no professional teams, there should be coverage of such national stories as the Super Bowl, World Series, etc. Game coverage should reflect the reality of the web and have strong analytical and commentary components. Judges should look at the agate package – are there scores, statistics, standings and box scores to fit the needs of the readership within the confines of available space? Examples: Does a paper with interest in pro teams run enough information in home team and league-wide box scores? Does a paper in a prep-dominated area run enough names and statistical leaders?
Enterprise: Judges must note if there is an effort to bring something extra. Does the section offer features, trend pieces, scoops, innovative standing features or reader nuggets? Do efforts show originality and a high level of reporting and writing? Is there an effort to entertain as well as inform? Are there light touches? Is there over-reliance on wires? Reliance on wires is OK on some days, but not as a steady diet.
Organization and editing: The section should be easy on the reader. Look for consistency in positioning of standing features. See if related material is grouped. Headlines should be clear, yet appealing. There should be the proper mix of breakout boxes or pullouts that enhance stories. At-a-glance information should be organized and well positioned. Judges should look for staff editing that improves content of wires. A section’s editing should reflect its space. A small section, for example, should be tightly edited and what it does have room to do, it does exceptionally well.
How do I enter a special section?
Must be accompanied by a 3-by-5 index card or facsimile that specifies the section as a special section entry and lists the name of the newspaper, city, daily circulation and circulation category. (See format above).
Examples: Commemorative to mark the success of a team, a sports event (like Olympics) or the death of a major personality; a theme section on running, fishing, hunting, auto racing, etc. The section may contain live news (stories in which a team wins a championship) related to the theme, but it may not include unrelated articles.
One per paper: Newspapers may submit only one special section. This includes one-subject or one-theme sections issued one time.
What’s not eligible: Special sections sold only as stand-alone products on newsstands or elsewhere are not eligible. The special section must have been part of the regular newspaper run.
What else is not eligible: Stories entered as a special section entry may not also be entered as a project writing entry.
How are special sections judged?
Does the section have spunk? Does it project impact on big events?
Does it grab? Is it distinctive? Does it have imagination and originality?
Photos and graphics: Is there a coordinated presentation of pictures, graphics and articles that give a grasp of the big stories? Does it make sense? Is it attractive? Does it help the reader understand? Does it illustrate? Do the graphics go with the articles they are supposed to illustrate? Are there enough pictures or perhaps too many? Are they properly sized? Are they easily understood? Judges may consider color reproduction.
Is it well written, well edited and truly special. Is the content useful, informative and/or entertaining?
Judges will select – but not rank – the top 10 sections in each circulation category and will select as many as 10 honorable mentions.
____________________
UPLOAD LINKS for all news organizations to use for entries:
UNDER 30,000
Aiken Standard http://tinyurl.com/zwgyorh
American News http://tinyurl.com/hgrc69g
Ames Tribune http://tinyurl.com/h3rzf6h
Anderson Independent Mail http://tinyurl.com/hhenw2u
Antelope Valley Press http://tinyurl.com/h6gw95z
Ashtabula Star Beacon http://tinyurl.com/hctdmhp
Athens Banner-Herald http://tinyurl.com/hzbqxwv
Beaver County Times http://tinyurl.com/z668ywx
Billings Gazette http://tinyurl.com/zurmw9t
Bottineau Courant http://tinyurl.com/ztennza
Burlington Times-News http://tinyurl.com/je7rxme
Carroll County Times http://tinyurl.com/hxendu6
Casa Grande Dispatch http://tinyurl.com/hzwznm5
Casper Star-Tribune http://tinyurl.com/haue2ty
Cherokee Tribune http://tinyurl.com/z75vlh4
Columbia Daily Tribune http://tinyurl.com/jjdfdf9
Columbia Missourian http://tinyurl.com/h8kcp7e
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer http://tinyurl.com/jzrxg3k
Concord Monitor http://tinyurl.com/hdsmmlc
Dailey American Republic http://tinyurl.com/jdfroar
Daily Chronicle http://tinyurl.com/h4m6967
Daily Dunklin Democrat http://tinyurl.com/zkqqyzq
Daily Hampshire Gazette http://tinyurl.com/zk2yyuv
Daily Record http://tinyurl.com/z5n3zdn
Decatur Daily Sports http://tinyurl.com/hgrc69g
Denton Record-Chronicle http://tinyurl.com/gtpwu8r
Dothan Eagle http://tinyurl.com/zded2bw
Durham Herald Sun http://tinyurl.com/gmaa6rc
Enid News-Eagle http://tinyurl.com/jdz89me
Fort Collins Coloradoan http://tinyurl.com/jajwmu3
Gaston Gazette http://tinyurl.com/jynehsy
Grand Forks Herald http://tinyurl.com/hvsro8x
Greeley Tribune http://tinyurl.com/z7pcta2
Herald and News http://tinyurl.com/jes4ebd
Herald-Journal http://tinyurl.com/hwmc2ku
Idaho State Journal http://tinyurl.com/hewqgxu
Index Journal http://tinyurl.com/hz6tsjz
Janesville Gazette http://tinyurl.com/jrq6g8y
Journal-Courier http://tinyurl.com/jxfaov4
Kennebec Journal http://tinyurl.com/jgvwgrq
Kerrville Daily Times http://tinyurl.com/jcvbpt8
Killeen Daily Herald http://tinyurl.com/jd8vuek
Kitsap Sun http://tinyurl.com/hptmx28
La Crosse Tribune http://tinyurl.com/zrjuyx8
Lake City Reporter http://tinyurl.com/j8hmmfx
Laramie Boomerang http://tinyurl.com/juc9tdn
Lawrence Journal-World http://tinyurl.com/j6toqq5
Log Cabin Democrat http://tinyurl.com/hsvmk2f
Longview Daily News http://tinyurl.com/jexv6q7
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal http://tinyurl.com/hhzxnaz
Mail Tribune http://tinyurl.com/jsgddrj
Marietta Daily Journal http://tinyurl.com/hcaz4jn
Marin Independent Journal http://tinyurl.com/jtacbmx
Messenger Post Media http://tinyurl.com/zev4bbe
Midland Daily News http://tinyurl.com/jdwkefm
Midland Reporter-Telegram http://tinyurl.com/helwyoq
Montgomery Advertiser http://tinyurl.com/hhzf9p2
Morning Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/hu44sb9
Muscatine Journal http://tinyurl.com/jtsv34l
Napa Valley Register http://tinyurl.com/jx5uobe
Northwest Floria Daily News http://tinyurl.com/hxypx7l
Northwest Herald http://tinyurl.com/j4o8xtj
Olean Times Herald http://tinyurl.com/z3zts8v
Opelika-Auburn News http://tinyurl.com/j9c6s2r
Peninsula Daily News http://tinyurl.com/zs3r22n
Pierre Capital Journal http://tinyurl.com/znmygym
Pioneer Local http://tinyurl.com/j8zmgmu
Quad-City Times http://tinyurl.com/zmsvo39
Quincy Herald-Whig http://tinyurl.com/h8gnnpn
San Angelo Standard-Times http://tinyurl.com/gomeram
Santa Cruz Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/gtswcwz
Sauk Valley Media http://tinyurl.com/h3dnskv
Savannah Morning News http://tinyurl.com/j4l4tqw
Southeast Missourian http://tinyurl.com/j96f6c4
St. Cloud Times http://tinyurl.com/j6uhbaa
Steamboat Pilot & Today http://tinyurl.com/zgzgw6t
Steubenville Herald-Star/Weirton Daily http://tinyurl.com/joepsl4
Sun Journal http://tinyurl.com/zygjrqs
The Altoona Mirror http://tinyurl.com/hlzhpu7
The Anniston Star http://tinyurl.com/zfpsqnx
The Beaumont Enterprise http://tinyurl.com/hrfywet
The Berkshire Eagle http://tinyurl.com/jrvk6t3
The Chronicle-Telegram http://tinyurl.com/hc9k4ho
The Citizens’ Voice http://tinyurl.com/zuknhyq
The Daily News Journal http://tinyurl.com/h58gsk9
The Daily Progress http://tinyurl.com/zjo9jew
The Daily Record http://tinyurl.com/j4vholj
The Daily Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/gswj77q
The Daily World http://tinyurl.com/zkajy8r
The Day http://tinyurl.com/zc285ag
The Dominion Post http://tinyurl.com/hj4bmp5
The Frederick News-Post http://tinyurl.com/jv6st7f
The Free Press http://tinyurl.com/j9xpbrc
The Gadsden Times http://tinyurl.com/jphe3oy
The Hawk Eye http://tinyurl.com/jrlnplv
The Herald (Rock Hill) http://tinyurl.com/hk8up4v
The Herald Times http://tinyurl.com/j52bj2d
The Indiana Gazette http://tinyurl.com/gtja8g5
The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette http://tinyurl.com/jc2bcd2
The Journal Times http://tinyurl.com/hyz3gvh
The Medina Gazette http://tinyurl.com/hosbh9t
The Meridian Star http://tinyurl.com/j7ecz6r
The Minot Daily News http://tinyurl.com/grlsnso
The Missoulian http://tinyurl.com/zuoayos
The Morning Sun http://tinyurl.com/j5bdljf
The News Leader (of Staunton) http://tinyurl.com/hzffhg5
The News-Gazette (Champaign) http://tinyurl.com/zhddu39
The News-Herald http://tinyurl.com/zr3gdz8
The North Platte Telegraph http://tinyurl.com/zdufoob
The Oakland Press http://tinyurl.com/zy6g3sv
The Post Star http://tinyurl.com/j6m5w4f
The Recorder http://tinyurl.com/zzgm75h
The Rome News-Tribune http://tinyurl.com/hw8ypxk
The Southern Illinoisan http://tinyurl.com/j24sgr7
The Standard-Times http://tinyurl.com/zq243jv
The Star Press http://bit.ly/2hPl7Gz
The Times Argus http://ow.ly/sFL0307cxVp
The Tribune (SLO, Calif.) http://ow.ly/Bpka307cxQk
The Tuscaloosa News http://ow.ly/5Yt7307cxLK
The World http://ow.ly/m4rV307cxJv
The York Dispatch http://ow.ly/FAZG307cxHi
Times Daily (Florence, Ala.) http://ow.ly/G98N307cxDB
Times Leader http://ow.ly/iSKE307cxqk
Times West Virginian http://bit.ly/2h97kqB
Tri-City Herald http://bit.ly/2hDDqMe
Tribune Chronicle http://bit.ly/2h9ftLE
Twin Falls Times-News http://bit.ly/2hPqPbr
Venice Gondolier Sun http://bit.ly/2hPqBkB
Victoria Advocate http://bit.ly/2hX4pBd
Virgin Island Daily News http://bit.ly/2hsy6xd
Watertown Daily Times http://bit.ly/2hGfFTi
West Bend Daily News http://bit.ly/2hDFtQc
Williamsport Sun-Gazette http://bit.ly/2hGhbEH
Wilmington Star News http://bit.ly/2gJLFUM
Winona Daily News http://bit.ly/2h98ceU
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle http://bit.ly/2hGjN5O
Yakima Herald Republic http://bit.ly/2hCL0ZZ
30-75
Argus Leader http://tinyurl.com/jfr7ocv
Asbury Park Press http://tinyurl.com/jayj6fy
Boulder Daily Camera http://tinyurl.com/jr9wuwz
Cape Cod Times http://tinyurl.com/hluh9er
Cedar Rapids Gazette http://tinyurl.com/jjl3wct
Charlotte Sun-Sun Coast Media Group http://tinyurl.com/zh8wq5t
Chattanooga Times Free Press http://tinyurl.com/zbf449a
Commercial Appeal (Memphis) http://tinyurl.com/h22b8jc
Connecticut Post http://tinyurl.com/hf64w6n
Corpus Christi Caller-Times http://tinyurl.com/j6dpz8e
Courier-Post http://tinyurl.com/jgjp8hv
Daily Press (Hampston Roads, Va.) http://tinyurl.com/jkdazf8
Dayton Daily News http://tinyurl.com/z5284fj
Daytona Beach News-Journal http://tinyurl.com/hbn6qrp
Deseret News http://tinyurl.com/zfee2ua
Detroit News http://tinyurl.com/hgr2rsz
El Paso Times http://tinyurl.com/zbhb2ft
Erie Times-News http://tinyurl.com/z2owh37
Evansville Courier-Press http://tinyurl.com/z5w2tls
Florida Today http://tinyurl.com/h67k5lr
Free Lance-Star Publishing http://tinyurl.com/hv6m7z2
Galveston County Daily News http://tinyurl.com/zvwvruu
Green Bay Press-Gazette http://tinyurl.com/hhtzkdl
Idaho Statesman http://tinyurl.com/j3lqsx6
Knoxville News Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/jyx96u6
Lafayette Daily Advertiser-Baton Rouge http://tinyurl.com/hyod5vc
Lexington Herald-Leader http://tinyurl.com/h6uuok8
Lincoln Journal Star http://tinyurl.com/ztzgkt5
Minnesota Hockey Hub http://tinyurl.com/zgemu8r
Naples Daily News http://tinyurl.com/jmm4p56
News-Record http://tinyurl.com/zspdsup
Pensacola News Journal http://tinyurl.com/ho38c25
Peoria Journal Star http://tinyurl.com/hgg4p7z
Portland Press-Herald-Maine Sunday Telegram http://tinyurl.com/j9zpkwc
Post-Tribune (Merrillville, Ind.) http://tinyurl.com/hl2b7lo
Press-Sun-Bulletin http://tinyurl.com/zz9n6vu
Reno Gazette-Journal http://tinyurl.com/znzx4cs
Santa Rosa Press Democrat http://tinyurl.com/z95donb
Sarasota Herald Tribune http://tinyurl.com/jybz7kr
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers http://tinyurl.com/zgwjpj6
South Bend Tribune http://tinyurl.com/zx3zhc3
St. Joseph News-Press http://tinyurl.com/zzaqmzn
Staten Island Advance http://tinyurl.com/zsuv7un
Syracuse Media Group http://tinyurl.com/jfjyrou
Tacoma News Tribune http://tinyurl.com/zpufmvq
Tallahassee Democrat http://tinyurl.com/jlbjoav
The (Lakeland) Ledger http://tinyurl.com/j5qpd3c
The Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle http://tinyurl.com/hedropf
The Bakersfield Californian http://tinyurl.com/hpfydvy
The Clarion-Ledger http://tinyurl.com/jk3rqjl
The Desert Sun http://tinyurl.com/jtxcvln
The Fayetteville Observer http://tinyurl.com/j9pzyxv
The Gainesville Sun http://tinyurl.com/hv2nrmd
The Gazette (Colorado Springs) http://tinyurl.com/h2jrez6
The Journal Gazette http://tinyurl.com/jbmamg3
The Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.) http://tinyurl.com/z6rs3ba
The Monitor http://tinyurl.com/hrjb2sv
The Morning Call http://tinyurl.com/z86gjpb
The Morning Sun http://tinyurl.com/ha3rua6
The National http://tinyurl.com/zgr6wy3
The News-Press http://tinyurl.com/zg9hdeg
The Patriot News/PennLive.com http://tinyurl.com/zfrgcfw
The Post and Courier http://tinyurl.com/hok6a7j
The Post-Tribune http://tinyurl.com/jamcq77
The Providence Journal http://tinyurl.com/zppopzw
The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.) http://tinyurl.com/z4wkguf
The Repository http://tinyurl.com/hhfby28
The Roanoke Times http://tinyurl.com/zbj4bau
The Spokesman-Review http://tinyurl.com/hf4dhhk
The State http://tinyurl.com/gnyqp48
The Sun News http://tinyurl.com/jdqrl4p
The Telegraph http://tinyurl.com/jrafehy
The Times of Northwest Indiana http://tinyurl.com/gwaodgo
The Times-Tribune http://tinyurl.com/h89ggpc
The Topeka Capital-Journal http://tinyurl.com/gmvnlyl
The Villages Daily Sun http://tinyurl.com/hc3yqmm
The Vindicator http://tinyurl.com/jp9ng38
The Wichita Eagle http://tinyurl.com/jhng24m
Times Herald-Record http://tinyurl.com/hop92qx
Times Union http://tinyurl.com/j4ohrcx
Washington Times http://tinyurl.com/jl86j8m
Wausau Daily Herald http://tinyurl.com/hqs7wdc
Wisconsin State Journal http://tinyurl.com/j78akw7
York Daily Record http://tinyurl.com/gpp7db6
75-175
Akron Beacon Journal http://tinyurl.com/j9obc3p
Arizona Daily Star http://tinyurl.com/hd8dsl3
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette http://tinyurl.com/jkpkpz8
Asbury Park Press http://tinyurl.com/jasuegz
Austin American-Statesman http://tinyurl.com/z34vkbg
BamaOnline http://tinyurl.com/gp6tdkq
Bay Area News Group http://tinyurl.com/gnjrnrw
Boston Herald http://tinyurl.com/h43fh78
Buffalo News http://tinyurl.com/h5los8x
Charlotte Observer http://tinyurl.com/jqtlwzm
Cincinnati Enquirer http://tinyurl.com/zpuh238
Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch http://tinyurl.com/jp56dcn
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Ill.) http://tinyurl.com/zdmel2d
Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, N.Y.) http://tinyurl.com/j6kb3ko
Des Moines Register http://tinyurl.com/jbourwo
Florida Times-Union http://tinyurl.com/jnw434z
Fresno Bee http://tinyurl.com/hrubeoc
Hartford Courant http://tinyurl.com/jj4wxq3
Indianapolis Star http://tinyurl.com/jhn7d9f
Las Vegas Review-Journal http://tinyurl.com/zwfw82s
Louisville Courier-Journal http://tinyurl.com/hd9j5dr
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/z2c4w9q
News Journal (Wilmington, Del.) http://tinyurl.com/glwkzhb
News-Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) http://tinyurl.com/jbv434v
NOLA.com/Times Picayune http://tinyurl.com/jluycd7
Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald http://tinyurl.com/zed4w9d
Palm Beach Post http://tinyurl.com/ztt6vou
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette http://tinyurl.com/gmj2ftx
Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) http://tinyurl.com/zewjtl2
Richmond Times-Dispatch http://tinyurl.com/hmux47n
Salt Lake Tribune http://tinyurl.com/h7x7t47
San Antonio Express-News http://tinyurl.com/znh74r7
Seattle Times http://tinyurl.com/hutuqr8
St. Louis Post-Dispatch http://tinyurl.com/zerodqd
St. Paul Pioneer Press http://tinyurl.com/hnf498r
Star-Advertiser (Honolulu) http://tinyurl.com/gqmqau5
Tampa Tribune http://tinyurl.com/jgl9shp
The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) http://tinyurl.com/zb5kx98
The Blade (Toledo, Ohio) http://tinyurl.com/gvgvd8k
The Oklahoman http://tinyurl.com/zov2jer
The Oregonian http://tinyurl.com/jnet3wf
The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.) http://tinyurl.com/gnhfa3j
The Tennessean http://tinyurl.com/jnpg8hr
Tulsa World http://tinyurl.com/h2nwm34
Virginian-Pilot http://tinyurl.com/zgbfmps
WEEI http://tinyurl.com/jywsnyv
Worcester Telegram-Gazette http://tinyurl.com/z28cwyu
OVER 175
247Sports http://tinyurl.com/hhpoavb
AL.com http://tinyurl.com/zy5scat
Arizona Republic http://tinyurl.com/gsqn7jg
Associated Press http://tinyurl.com/haw52gl
Atlanta Journal Constitution http://tinyurl.com/zxqftxf
Baltimore Sun http://tinyurl.com/hw9vtop
Bleacher Report http://tinyurl.com/hrkma7w
Boston Globe http://tinyurl.com/hxrg4hm
CBSSports.com http://tinyurl.com/hkssdzb
Chicago Sun-Times http://tinyurl.com/j6hzukp
Chicago Tribune http://tinyurl.com/hpvs8n3
CineSport http://tinyurl.com/gsog9cu
Cleveland Plain Dealer http://tinyurl.com/gnzrtk2
Dallas Morning News http://tinyurl.com/gualq9n
Denver Post http://tinyurl.com/hb8eeof
Detroit Free Press http://tinyurl.com/zhs8pv8
ESPN http://tinyurl.com/j3uql9r
ESPN New York http://tinyurl.com/jmyh2wa
Fort Worth Star-Telegram http://tinyurl.com/h6cjots
FoxSports.com http://tinyurl.com/h26lvm4
GamecockCentral.com http://tinyurl.com/h9lfg7z
Houston Chronicle http://tinyurl.com/jrtbmxr
Kansas City Star http://tinyurl.com/j5g5njg
Los Angeles Times http://tinyurl.com/j292bxs
Miami Herald http://tinyurl.com/gqawwg3
Minneapolis Star-Tribune http://tinyurl.com/jox4rfe
NESN.com http://tinyurl.com/zcaal3t
New York Daily News http://tinyurl.com/jacwajy
New York Times http://tinyurl.com/jtrtm8y
Newark Star Ledger http://tinyurl.com/ht6ychl
Newsday http://tinyurl.com/gwjtmb6
Northeast Ohio Media Group http://tinyurl.com/hrzaqjz
OnMilwaukee.com http://tinyurl.com/zcbe3nm
Orange County Register http://tinyurl.com/h7oxvk4
Orlando Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/gl7b862
Philadelphia Daily News http://tinyurl.com/j6gwpod
Philadelphia Inquirer http://tinyurl.com/jc9w8ov
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://tinyurl.com/jj8sjfr
San Francisco Chronicle http://tinyurl.com/j8p8okv
Saturday Down South http://tinyurl.com/h6j7jgj
SI.com http://tinyurl.com/zboaa6o
South Florida Sun-Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/zk35tm6
Southern California News Group http://tinyurl.com/hjcspx2
Sporting News http://tinyurl.com/z5tzfe4
STATS http://tinyurl.com/jlb5juu
Tampa Bay Times http://tinyurl.com/jr5y8rg
Toronto Star http://tinyurl.com/jr5y8rg
U-T San Diego http://tinyurl.com/zfbmbvr
USA Today http://tinyurl.com/jpau5xe
Wall Street Journal http://tinyurl.com/zavm4ms
Washington Post http://tinyurl.com/hdbum28
Yahoo! Sports http://tinyurl.com/j4cfr2o

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