FPA Better Weekly Contest

The judging of the 2016 Better Weekly Newspaper Contest is now complete. For a list of winners in random order, please click here.

Winners will be announced at an awards presentation at noon on Friday, August 11 during the 2017 Florida Media Conference. Register for the Better Weekly Awards Luncheon or full conference here.

Entry Period: 2/1 – 3/13 3/14

Enter Contest

RULES

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO ENTER?

The contest is open to all Florida Press Association monthly, semi-monthly, weekly, semi-weekly and tri-weekly newspaper members, active and affiliates, in good standing, and whose 2017 dues are current by the date of contest entry and were FPA members in 2016. Entries may not be submitted from sister publications unless they are also members of FPA.

All contest entries must be the sole work of the newspaper staff and/or regular contributors.

CONTEST RULES

  1. The deadline for ALL uploaded entries 11:59 p.m. EDT, March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017. All mailed entries must be postmarked/ dated on or before March 13.
  2. Membership dues for your newspaper must be paid by March 13, 2017 in order to be eligible to enter the contest.
  3. The Circulation Verification form must be submitted by March 13, 2017 in order for your entries to be judged.
  4. Submit all entries online unless absolutely unable. For entries that need to be mailed please follow the instructions in the following "How to Enter" section.
  5. To aid the judges, in the photography category if there is more than one photograph on the page, indicate which photos are in the competition by adding an arrow pointing at, but not on, those photos.
  6. All entries must have been published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016.
  7. All mailed entries from a single newspaper must be submitted at one time in one package.
  8. The entry fee for each individual entry you submit is $11. Payment can be made online or checks should be made payable to the Florida Press Association and mailed in compliance with the entry deadline.

 

CIRCULATION DIVISIONS

For this contest, FPA newspapers are divided into three divisions based on circulation. Your entries will be judged in the division that you select on the Circulation Verification Form. You must fill out a new circulation verification form every year.

Division A: Circulation over 15,000
Division B: Circulation 7,000 - 15,000
Division C: Circulation under 7,000

*Newspapers with a circulation exceeding 50,000 are ineligible to win sweepstakes awards due to their significantly greater resources.

HOW TO ENTER

Entries this year will be submitted using a new online contest platform. Go to florida.awardsplatform.com to submit your entries.

How to submit an entry on the website

  1. On the contest site: https://florida.awardsplatform.com/ register by entering your first and last names, email address and a password that you create.
  2. If you are already registered, log-in using your email and password.
  3. On the left menu bar click “Entries” then “Manage entries”
  4. At the top of the page click the button “Start Entry”
  5. Under “Contest” select “Florida Magazine Association Charlie Awards”
  6. Under “Category” select your category. Category rules will appear on the page when the category is selected.
  7. Under “Entry name” type in a title for your entry
  8. Under “Publication name” type in the publication for which you are submitting the entry
  9. Click “Save + next”
  10. This will take you to the next tab “Staff credits” where you can enter contributors by clicking the “Add contributor” button. You can click it multiple times to add multiple people.
  11. Click “Save + next”
  12. This will take you to the “Attachments” tab where you can upload attachments and/or submit a URL
  13. When you are done with the entry click “Save + close” at the bottom
  14. When you are done submitting all of your entries and are ready to submit payment, go into each entry and click the "Submit Entry" button to add it to your cart.
  15. IMPORTANT!
    Please do not click the "Submit Entry" button until you are finished editing all of your entries and are ready to checkout and pay. The payment cart clears itself out after 24 hours so if you submit your entry and do not complete the checkout process within the same 24 hours you will have to go back into each entry and hit the "Submit Entry" button again.

Additional Information

Accepted formats are PDF, JPG, GIF or PNG. Remember that judges will view your entries online so strive to make the file size small enough to make downloading easier.

No explanatory or background material may accompany entries unless specifically permitted by the category.

If you need to mail in hard copies for judging, abide by the following rules:

  • Upload the front cover of the entry to the online system.
  • From the My Entries section of your account, the last column is called PDF. Click on the image of the PDF next to the entry(s) you wish to mail in, and print. Use one staple to attach this page to the upper left corner of each entry.
  • Bind together all sections or editions that make up one entry with rubber bands or large clips.
  • All entries from a single newspaper must be mailed at one time in one box or container.
  • Ship to: FPA Better Weekly Contest, 610 Crescent Executive Ct, Ste 112, Lake Mary, FL 32746.
  • It must be postmarked by March 14, 2017.
CATEGORIES
  1. General Excellence
    Submit any two consecutive issues. Also, submit one issue from the week beginning Apr. 17 or Nov. 6 of 2016. The judges will evaluate: general and departmental news; mechanical excellence; advertising enterprise; editorial page; general appearance; makeup and style; photography and promotion of community interest.
  2. Community Service
    In recognition of outstanding service rendered by a newspaper to its local community. The entry may include news stories, features, editorials, photographs, etc. Projects must be promoted and/or developed and completed by the newspaper’s own efforts.
    IMPORTANT!: A cover letter should be included to explain the origin of the project, any many difficulties encountered and the results obtained. Also include one follow-up story showing how the project/series impacted the community.
  3. Editorial Page
    IMPORTANT!:  Limited to one entry per newspaper
    In recognition of outstanding examples of editorial pages concerned with local issues. Submit only tearsheet of entire editorial page from two consecutive issues. One entry per newspaper. Judges will consider content of editorials, columns and other materials on the page with emphasis on artwork, editorial cartoons or photographs, typography, and makeup of pages.
  4. Editorial Award
    Judging will be based on general excellence of writing and clarity of thinking. Submit tearsheet with editorial clearly marked. Tearsheet must bear the name of the newspaper, and date of publication. Publishers may, if they so desire, submit a short statement of circumstances bringing about publication of the editorial.
  5. Original Local Editorial Award
    Submit tearsheets of cartoons with name of newspaper, and date of publication and any pertinent information about the cartoonist. Each cartoon counts as one entry.
  6. Humorous Column
    A locally written column devoted to the lighter side of life. Judges will evaluate significance of the material presented to the community, suitable handling of the topic appearance, originality and overall humor. Judging will be done on the basis of the individual merit of a single humorous column. Submitted tearsheet must bear the name of newspaper, date of publication and name of columnist(s).
  7. Serious Column (Sally Latham Memorial Award)
    A locally written column on a serious or issue related topic. Judging will be based on the best single column with consideration given to the significance of the material presented to the community, suitable handing of the topic, appearance and originality. Submitted tearsheet must clearly mark the column.
  8. First Amendment Defense (Jon A. Roosenraad Award)
    The Jon. A. Roosenraad First Amendment Defense is given to a newspaper who has worked to keep government open and accessible to citizens and the press, and who actively defends the principles of the First Amendment and the public’s right to know. This entry may be composed of one or a series of articles or editorials concerning the First Amendment or freedom of information in general. Judging will be based primarily on the newspapers active pursuit of First Amendment and/ or protection. Open circulation. Submitted tearsheet must list the name of newspaper, date of publication, and name of writer(s).
  9. General News Story (Gwen Stevenson Memorial Award)
    IMPORTANT!: Category does not include breaking news stories
    A news story (other than sports) should be submitted with tearsheet. Judges will consider the importance of the story to the community, timeliness, thoroughness of fact finding, reporting, sentence and paragraph structure and impact of headline and lead. Tearsheet must include the name of the newspaper. Date of publication and name of writer(s).
    Note: The memorial award is chosen from the 1st place winners in each Division with the overall winner receiving the Gwen Stevenson Memorial Award.
  10. Breaking News Story
    Focus of coverage of an unplanned, unexpected news event. Tearsheet must bear the name of newspaper, date of publication, and name of writer(s). Judges will consider speed of coverage, impact, community interest and clarity of approach. A short statement of less than 200 words may be included on specific circumstances surrounding your entry.
  11. Investigative Reporting (Claudia Ross Memorial Award)
    A single article or series of articles based on extensive investigation of an event or issue. Material must be locally reported and/or written. Entries many combine elements of news and/or editorials, which exhibit a measurable degree of investigative research. Tearsheet must include name of newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s.) This award is sponsored by the University of Florida College of Journalism & Communications.
    Note: The memorial award is chosen from the 1st place winners in each Division with the overall winner receiving the Claudia Ross Memorial Award.
  12. In-Depth Reporting (Non-Investigative)
    A single story or series on one topic. Awarded to individual reporter or team. Tearsheet must include the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s). Judges will examine straight, in-depth reporting, giving particular emphasis to community-wide importance of the story or series, thoroughness of fact reporting and research.
  13. Feature Story: Profile
    A single feature article profiling a person or persons. Subject can be from any walk of life – a celebrity, a philanthropist, a local “character” or a neighbor. Judging will be based on local appeal, originality and quality of writing. Submit tearsheet with profile clearly marked. Tearsheet must bear the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s).
  14. Feature Story: Non-profile
    A single article or series (except sports and personality profile features) Judges will consider effectiveness of writing style, originality of approach and human interest. No profiles may be entered in this category. Submit tearsheet with feature clearly marked. Tearsheet must bear the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s).
  15. Education Reporting
    Any single article or series of articles on any single education subject is eligible. Judging will be based on quality of writing, timeliness, and impact and community interest. Material must be locally prepared and must focus on a single subject.  Submit tearsheet with article(s) clearly marked. Tearsheet should include name of newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s).
  16. Health, Medical & Science Reporting
    Any single article or series of articles on any single health, medical or science subject. Content should include community related issue. Material must be locally prepared and must focus on a single subject. Submit tearsheet with article(s) clearly marked. Tearsheet should include name of newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s).
  17. Arts, Entertainment & Review Reporting
    Any single article or series of articles including reviews or criticism on any single local or regional arts or entertainment subject is eligible including dining, literature, arts and entertainment. Judging will be based on quality of writing, timeliness, and impact and community interest. Submit tearsheet with clearly labeled article.
  18. Faith and Family Reporting
    Any single article or series of articles relating to religion and/ or family. Judging will be based on quality of writing, timeliness, and impact and community interest. Submit tearsheets with clearly labeled article.
  19. Local Government Reporting
    Any single article or series of articles relating to local (city or county) government issues. Material must be locally prepared and must focus on a single subject. Submit tearsheets with clearly labeled article. Tearsheet should include name of newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s). Judging will be based on originality, style of writing and reader interest.
  20. Business Reporting
    Any single article or series of articles on any single business and/or consumer subject is eligible. Judging will be based on quality of writing, timeliness, and impact and community interest. Submit tearsheet with clearly labeled article.
  21. State & Local Tax Reporting (The TaxWatch Award)
    Any single article or series of articles on any single state, county or city tax-related issue. Entries should provide the reader with a clear assessment of the issue. Materials must be locally prepared and must deal with single subject. Submit tearsheet with article(s) clearly marked. The name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of the writer(s) must appear on the tearsheet. Judging will be based on originality, style of writing and reader interest. Open Circulation.
  22. Agricultural & Environmental Reporting
    Any single article or series of articles on any single agricultural, environmental or conversation story. This may also include photos, editorials, news stories or accounts of leadership actions taken by a newspaper to improve some environmental condition.  Entrants are urged to present material showing their efforts above and beyond the routine coverage normally given to the topics. Submit tearsheet with article(s) clearly marked. If necessary, include a brief summary of the results. Material must be locally prepared.
  23. Outdoor & Recreation
    Any single article or series of articles on any single Florida-specific outdoor writing including, but not limited to, outdoor recreational activities, hunting, fishing, camping and non-competitive sports. Submit tearsheet with article(s) clearly labeled. The name of the newspaper, date of publication, and name of the writer must appear on the tearsheet. Must be locally prepared and must deal with a single subject. Judging will be based on originality, style of writing and reader interest.
  24. Best Obituary
    This category is designed to recognize well-written local obituary stories. Submit tearsheet with the obituary clearly marked. Each entry must be locally prepared. Obituary must be written by a staff member. Judges will consider creativity, ingenuity, quality of writing, reader interest and presentation.
  25. Community History
    Any single article or series of articles highlighting the history of the community. This includes, but is not limited to, founders, people, growth, changes, events and location. Judges will take into consideration significance of the material presented to the community, handling of the topic, appearance and originality. Awarded to individual reporter or team. Materials must be locally produced and written. Tearsheet(s) must bear the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of writer(s).
  26. Special Issue, Section or Supplement
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to three entries per newspaper.
    Any locally prepared special edition or section including, but not limited to, industrial progress, fair celebration, fashion, centennial, building, historical, patriotic or anniversary issues. Issue may also be one in which a sizable part of the paper was devoted to a particular interest or importance to the community. Limited to three entries per newspaper. A statement on circumstances connected with the issue may be submitted as part of the entry. Judges will consider the excellence and depth of supporting material and use of photography and illustrative material.
  27. Spot News Photo
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to three entries per photographer.
    One published picture of a single news event. Must submit a photo, print or print-out of a digital photo accompanied by its tearsheet, both bearing the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of photographer. Sports photos will not be considered for this category. Must be locally prepared. Judging will be based on the timeliness of news value, composition, camera technique, imagination and immediacy of the event. Quality of reproduction will not be considered. Up to three entries per photographer.
  28. Feature Photo
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to three entries per photographer.
    A single picture excluding sports. Must submit photo, print or print-out of a digital photo accompanied by a tearsheet, both bearing the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of the person who took the picture. Judges will consider human interest, reader appeal, action, creativity, and quality of the photograph. Quality of reproduction will not be considered. Must be locally prepared.
  29. Photo Series in One Issue
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to three entries per photographer.
    A series of photos on the same subject published in one issue. Must submit photos, prints, or print-outs of a digital photo accompanied by their tearsheets, each bearing the name of the newspaper, date of publication, and name of the photographer(s). Judging will be based on completeness of presentation and quality of photos. Up to three entries per photographer.
  30. Portfolio Photography (Robert J. Ellision Memorial Award)
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to one entry per photographer. Each entry may include up to five photographs.
    Must submit no more than five photographs, or print-outs of digital photos, along with actual tearsheets bearing the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of photographer. Judges will consider creativity, human interest, imagination, and camera technique and photo quality. Judges will not consider newspaper reproduction of photos. These photos need not run together in a series or be related. This category will honor a photographer’s best work all year. One entry per photographer.
  31. Sports Photo
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to three entries per photographer.
    One photo of a sports event.  Must submit photo, print or print-out of a digital photo accompanied by a tearsheet, both bearing the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of the photographer. Photos of all sports activities at all levels will be considered in the category. Action, newsworthiness, creativity and quality of the picture will be considered. Up to three entries per photographer.
  32. Sports Feature Story
    A single article on local or national sports topic of sports personality. Submit tearsheet with story clearly marked. The name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of the writer must appear on the tearsheet. Originality, style of writing and reader interest will be factors in judging.
  33. Sports Spot News Story
    A single article on local or national coverage of a single sports event, including game day coverage. Submit tearsheet with story clearly marked. The name of the newspaper, date of publication, date of game and name of the writer must appear on the tearsheet. Judging will be based on quality of writing and reader interest.
  34. Sports Page or Section
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to one entry per newspaper. Must include two consecutive issues.
    This category includes the entire sports sections from two consecutive issues. The name of the newspaper, the city and date of publication must appear on the entry. Indicate publication dates of all the tearsheets. Judging will include newsworthiness, style, reader interest and use of photos. One entry per newspaper.
  35. Sports Column
    A locally written column on a sports topic. Submit tearsheet with column clearly labeled. The name of the newspaper, date of publication, and name of the sports writer must appear on each tearsheet. Judges will consider timeliness of sports topic, significance to community and originality of a single column.
  36. Best Headline
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to three headlines per writer.
    Up to three headlines highlighting your best work. An entry must include full-page tearsheets with the headlines clearly marked. Judges will consider the use of the headline as a hook, the information the headline conveys and how accurate it is.
  37. Informational Graphic
    IMPORTANT!: Limited to three entries per graphic artist.
    Entries may include map, graph, chart or other non-photographic illustration. Entry may not be a cartoon. Must submit tearsheet bearing the name of the newspaper, date of publication and name of the graphic artist. Judges will consider quality of artwork and overall effectiveness. Graphic submitted may be part of a news, feature or editorial story, or may stand alone. Graphic artists may submit up to three individual entries.
  38. Overall Graphic Design
    Submit any two consecutive issues. Also, submit one issue from the week beginning Apr. 17 or Nov. 6 of 2016. Judges will analyze your use of all graphics including typography, use of photography, line art, effectiveness of presentation and page design.
  39. Front Page Makeup
    Submit any two consecutive front pages. Also, submit one front page from the week beginning Apr. 17 or Nov. 6, 2016. Judges will consider the general appearance of your front page including the news value of your stories; mechanical excellence, style and impact.
  40. Website Excellence
    Submit a URL with a password, if needed to gain access to entire website.
    Websites will be judged based on the following criteria: Content: Quality of the news & editorial matter, timeliness, selection and organization of the items; Navigation: Ease of retrieving information from the website; Visual/Design: layout, use of graphics, photographs, animation, color and related elements; Advertising: Innovative strategies and/or evidence of revenue generation; Community: Demonstration that the website fulfills a “Gatekeeper to the community” role; Interactivity: Incorporation of the elements that take advantage of the medium.
  41. Online Breaking News Coverage
    Overall work on an online breaking news story within the first 24 hours after the story breaks. Judges will consider speed at which the postings were made, updates, overall coverage and supplementary information. Please provide a specific URL for all postings including a username and password if needed. Entrants are responsible for Web availability of entries between the deadline date and the following three months. Incorrect URLS will not be judged. If your story is unavailable via your website by the contest deadline, then you may submit PDFs or screenshots. A short statement of less than 200 words can be included on the specific circumstances surrounding your entry. Date of content must be verified by time stamp or signed statement from the publication’s editor.
  42. Online Slideshow
    For slideshows utilizing still photography and produced in Flash, Soundslides or other web tools. Photographs may be duplicates of those submitted in other categories. Please provide a specific URL for all postings including a username and password if needed. Entrants are responsible for Web availability of entries between the deadline date and the following three months. Incorrect URLs will not be judged. If your story is unavailable via your website by the contest deadline, you may submit PDFs or screenshots. Date of content must be verified by time stamp or signed statement from the publication’s editor.
  43. Multimedia Storytelling
    Any presentation that supports the telling of or enhances the impact of a single news story. May include but is not limited to audio, video, animation. Please provide a specific URL for all postings including a username and password if needed. Entrants are responsible for Web availability of entries between the deadline date and the following three months. Incorrect URLs will not be judged. If your story is unavailable via your website by the contest deadline, you may submit PDFs or screenshots. Date of content must be verified by time stamp or signed statement from the publication’s editor.
PAYING FOR YOUR ENTRIES

Contest fee: $11 per entry. This fee is non-refundable. Full payment must a be received by FPA by the contest deadline or your entries will be disqualified. FPA will not invoice newspapers for their contest fees.

Payment Instructions:

  1. Log in to your florida.awardsplatform.com account
  2. Go to "My Entries" page
  3. Open each entry and click "Submit Entry"
  4. This will take you to the payment cart
  5. Click "Add more entries to cart" which will take you back to your "My Entries" page
  6. Repeat Steps 3-5 until you have submitted all of your entries
  7. Verify that the number of entries in your cart match the number of entries you are submitting
  8. Fill out required billing information
  9. Select to either pay by credit card or select the invoice option to pay by check
  10. Click the "Proceed to Payment" button to complete payment

If paying by check please include a copy of your invoice with your payment. Make checks payable to Florida Press Association.

Send checks to:
FPA Better Weekly Contest c/o Devon Dunkle
610 Crescent Executive Ct., Suite 112
Lake Mary, FL 32746-2111

Deadline for receiving payment is March 14, 2017.

JUDGING

Entries will be judged by out-of-state industry executives with newsroom experience. Final decision on value and applicability of all entries is up to the judges. Judges have complete discretion in making awards, and are not required to grant awards in any category.

In categories with circulation divisions, if there are fewer than five entries by three newspapers in any division, those entries will be combined with the next closest division for judging.

AWARDS

All awards and plaques are issued in the name of the newspaper as the official contest entrant unless otherwise noted. Judges may select First, Second and Third place winners for each division. Judges may grant only one award per staff member in each category. Awards will be presented during the 2017 convention being held August 10-11 at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples.

Please note: Any awards not picked up at the awards ceremony will be shipped to the winning newspaper at the paper’s expense.

SWEEPSTAKES
Sweepstakes trophies will be awarded to the top newspaper in each circulation division, based on point accumulation. Points are awarded as follows: First Place – 3 points, Second Place – 2 points, Third Place – 1 point. There will be no tie-breaking procedures. If newspapers tie for top awards, duplicate awards will be presented.

FAQ

How many times may I enter each category?
Please see the list of categories, as some categories allow one entry per newspaper, some allow three per person and some allow an unlimited number of entries.

Can the same item be entered in different categories?
In most cases the answer is NO. A photo or story may only be entered once and only in one Division. This does not mean that an individual photo or story entered in one category may not be a part of a full-section entry, such as General Excellence. There are also exceptions for the following awards: Portfolio Photography, Online Slideshow and Multimedia Storytelling.

What file formats are accepted for uploading?
File types are PDF, JPG, GIF, and PNG.

How do I see the entries I’ve created? How do I make changes?
When logged into the website, the black bar on the left-hand side of the screen will have a section called “My entries”. There, you can see all entries you’ve created, as well as their status (“In progress” or “Submitted”). You can edit an entry at any time, even after submission (until the contest period closes), by clicking the name of the entry.

How can I make my PDF files smaller?
Most newspaper PDFs include high-resolution images for printing. However, PDF contest entries will be viewed and judged on a computer monitor, which displays at low resolution (72-96 dpi) in RGB color. Changes in the resolution and color mode of images are the most effective way to reduce file size without sacrificing quality.

What if I cannot make the files small enough?
The system allows files up to 20 megabytes (mb) only. If you cannot make your files small enough to load to the website, then you may host larger files from your corporate server or use the free service online at www.issuu.com.

Why do I have to verify my paper’s circulation to enter the contest?
We prefer to trust our member publishers not to submit their entries into a division that they are not qualified to enter. However, some discrepancies have been brought to our attention. Because of this, a verification of your circulation is needed in order for your entries to be judged. If fraud is suspected with any newspaper, a full investigation will follow.

Where can I get more help for anything I can’t find here?
Email ddunkle@flpress.com or call (321) 283-5272

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