Entries are now being accepted for the 2016 digital (website) contest. Deadline to enter has been changed to Jan. 24.

Don’t be confused. The 2015 contest has not yet ended (goes through Dec. 31).

But in 2016, for the first time the website contest will last for the entire year – meaning it will begin in January and end on Dec. 31. The 2016 contest will include three “mandatory weeks” – one from the first four months, one from the second four and one from the final four – in which judges will be asked to look at every website.

Entries should be sent to apsecontest@gmail.com. Please indicated DIGITAL CONTEST in the subject line.

However, I’ve got some great news. If you entered the 2015 contest, and nothing has changed (including passwords, contact information, etc.), all you have to do is send an email with the name of your paper (subject line: 2016 APSE digital contest), say “please enter us,” and “nothing has changed.” You’ll be good to go. If you need to freshen up a cover letter, go ahead and do that, too.

AGAIN, please use the apsecontest@gmail.com address and indicated DIGITAL CONTEST in the subject line.

If you are entering for the first time, or need to make changes, please send me an email with the following information:

  1. The name of the news organization (i.e. Midtown Daily Gazette)
  2. Category the news organization is entering
  3. The URL/web address of the website(s) to be judged: news organizations which utilize more than one website platform should include all pertinent website addresses
  4. For websites with pay walls of any sort, the entry should include a password or passwords which judges can use to access the website(s)
  5. Entries may include a cover letter explaining how the website’s primary focus of coverage and key navigation points (i.e. “All of our prep coverage can be found on www.localpreps.com, while our community sports coverage is under the sports tab on our main website, midtowngazette.com — and you can find our special projects under the ‘sports reports’ tab on the midtowngazette.com website). Please keep the cover letter short. Do NOT send links to specific multimedia work (i.e. nothing along the lines of “Make sure to check out our big college football enterprise project that we did last summer, go to ww.midtowngazzette.com/footballproject” – that work can be submitted for the multimedia contest). The cover letter may also include “suggested” dates and times for judges to look at the site (i.e. Saturday, May 3 between 4-8 p.m. ET, for Kentucky Derby coverage). Please note, judges will not be required to look at the sites during suggested times.
  6. Name, email address, work and cell phone for contact person from the organization.
  7. A url/web address or place to find downloadable application for mobile site, if different from website. If this is not included, it will be assumed that your mobile site is the same as your website.

For the 2016 contest, a top 10 and honorable mentions in each category will be revealed at the start of the 2017 Winter Conference.

Once again, website-only news organizations also are eligible for the digital contest.

Entries will be judged by category determined by average daily circulation for news organizations with daily print products; and by unique monthly visitors for website-only news organizations:

 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

Click here for an explanation of categories.


Websites will be judged on the following criteria, weighted as listed in parenthesis:

* Subject matter: Quality of staff-produced material (30 percent)

* Display: Proper arrangement of content for an enriched user experience (25 percent)

* Timeliness: Up-to-date content that reflects the news organization’s commitment to keeping the online product fresh (25 percent)

* Navigability: Ease of ability to maneuver around the site, user-friendliness (10 percent)

* Mobile site (10 percent)

Also, if you or someone from your organization is interested in helping judge the 2016 contest, please contact us at apsecontest@gmail.com.