2016 VPA Contest Rules


Contest Period: July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

Deadline: Received by 11 a.m. Friday Oct. 30, 2015, at the VPA Office

Announcement of Winners: Annual VPA Meeting Thursday March 17, 2016

The John D. Donoghue Award for Arts Criticism

One Category for all newspapers (Three entries per newspaper)

This award is in the memory of John D. Donoghue, longtime arts reviewer for The Burlington Free Press. This contest is designed to encourage and reward arts criticism that enhances the understanding and appreciation of the arts in Vermont.

Entries consist of three articles by each reviewer. Two articles must be reviews; the third may be an arts-related story, interview or analysis. Entries must deal with the performing arts, film or visual arts, whether created and performed by amateurs or professionals. Entries must be bylined stories by a staff writer or a regular contributor. Syndicated material will not be considered.

Stories will be judged on quality of writing, comprehension of topic, and the degree to which the review increase readers’ understanding of an appreciation for arts.

The Mavis Doyle Award

One Category for all newspapers (Three entries per newspaper)

This award is for the daily or non-daily reporter in Vermont who best exemplifies the qualities demonstrated by the late Mavis Doyle, the former “Dean of the State House Press Corps.”

Judging will take into account the reporter’s aggressiveness, determination, compassion, commitment to journalism, dedication to social justice, and unwavering belief that journalism should be the watchdog of the government and the voice of the people.

Entries, representing a body of work during the year, consist of the following:

  1. a package of four other unrelated stories and a series* OR

  2. a package of six stories that does not include a series

*For the Mavis Doyle Award, a series is defined as no more than six stories published consecutively. Columns are not allowed for the Doyle award.

Best Local Story

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(Three entries per newspaper)

For outstanding local reporting on a single topic demonstrated by a package of no more than three stories for each entry.

Best State Story

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(Three entries per newspaper)

For outstanding state reporting on a single topic demonstrated by a package of no more than six

stories for each entry.

Feature Writing

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(Three entries per newspaper)

This covers any story of human interest. It may or may not be of a timely nature and it may or may not be news related. It should not be a regular feature (like a column). Up to one sidebar is allowed. Judging will be based on quality of writing, interest, significance and clarity.

Photography Awards

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily. Three Divisions: General News, Features, Sports

(Three entries per newspaper per division)

Sports Photo – Any photos from any kind of sporting event.

General news photo – Can include photos of unexpected news events (fires, accidents and disasters) where there is no advanced planning. Can also include events in which there is advanced notice (political rallies, town meetings, celebrations) and are known, assigned and planned for by the paper.

Feature photo – Any photo, not necessarily of a specific news happening, showing an unusual event, item, portrait, landscape, building, or street scene.

Submit only tear sheets of photograph as printed in the newspaper for each entry. (No prints, slides or halftones)

Label back of tear sheets with category (Daily or Non-Daily); photographer’s name; newspaper’s name; date of publication; entry division (General News, Feature, Sports).

Do not enter a series or picture page. One from a group is acceptable if clearly marked.

Outstanding Sportswriter Awards

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(Three entries per newspaper per respective category)

This award recognizes outstanding sportswriting by an individual.

Entries consist of four deadline or non-deadline stories, including at least one game story. News, feature or game stories may be included. Sports columns are ineligible. Judges will consider content, clarity, writing style and completeness.

Rookie Reporter Award

One Category for all newspapers

(Three entries per newspaper)

This award will be given to a reporter who has worked as a professional journalist fewer than two years (full-time or the equivalent), and whose work best represents the energy and commitment that an exemplary journalist brings to the profession. (Publisher should submit in writing the date after July 1, 2013 that the reporter was hired.)

Entries should consist of three unrelated stories.

Editorial Writing

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(Three entries per newspaper)

This award is presented for a single, locally produced editorial that reflects the point of view of the newspaper.

Column writing: Political/Hard News

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(Two entries per newspaper)

This award recognizes the art of column writing for political/hard news. Each entry will contain two (2) columns by a single writer. Sports columns are acceptable.

Column writing: Features/Lifestyle/Humor

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(Two entries per newspaper)

This award recognizes the art of column writing for Features/Lifestyle/Humor. Each entry will contain two (2) columns by a single writer. Sports columns are acceptable.

The Best of Vermont — General Excellence

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(One entry per newspaper per respective category)

This award will be given to newspaper for its overall presentation. This includes news content, writing, editing, layout, photography and graphics. The entry will actually be two editions of the paper.The submission should be any edition of your choice from 7/1/14 to 6/30/15 and the edition of the paper for Sunday April 12, 2015 (or in the case of non-daily newspaper the one closest to that date.)

Outstanding Website Awards

Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily

(One entry per newspaper per respective category)

This award recognizes outstanding websites that have excellent design usability and navigation, comments, reader interactivity, multimedia and archive access. Also how posting of online corrections, local/town information (archive), events calendar is done. Is it easy to contact staffers and/or provide feedback? Does browsing the Website give you a feel for the community?

List your website on the entry form and include the fee.


Send nominations to:

VPA Contest
Department of Journalism
Saint Michael’s College
Winooski Park
Colchester, VT.05439-0284

If you have questions or need more information, contact the VPA Office at (802) 654-2442


GENERAL RULES

  1. With the exception of the Donoghue and Photography Awards, entrants should be full-time reporters or regular correspondents with a newspaper circulating in Vermont. Student newspaper entrants shall be regular members of the editorial staff.

  2. Newspapers may submit only those stories that have been published in their newspapers. In other words, no newspaper may submit the work of a new hire if the work was originally published by the journalist’s previous employer.

  3. There may be three place awards (first, second and third) in each category, with the exception of the Mavis Doyle and Rookie Reporter Awards, for which there will likely be only one winner. Judges retain the right to award all or none of the three places in each category, depending upon their evaluation of entries.

  4. Judges retain the right to disqualify entries entered in incorrect categories.

  5. All entries must be clearly marked with the category and the date published.

  6. All newspapers shall submit a $65 entry fee along with $5 for each entry submitted in each category. ($10 for General Excellence and $10 for Website awards.)

  7. No newspaper may submit more than the noted limit for entries in each award category.

  8. In all reporting categories, photocopies of articles are acceptable, but should be of acceptable print size for the judges to read.

  9. Nominations from non-members are acceptable, but all nominating organizations must be eligible for regular membership in the Vermont Press Association.

  10. Do not send nominating letters explaining details of entries. They will be discarded.

  1. Send clips only. Do not send full pages. (The one exception is for full editions in the General Excellence category.)

  1. Winners are announced at the annual banquet. All journalists with submissions are encouraged to attend the publicly announced VPA banquet. Individual winners should not expect advance notice or special invitation to the banquet.

  2. Entries are submitted in the name of the newspaper.Extra copies of awards may be purchased from the VPA.

  3. Failure to follow these rules will result in disqualification.