Annual Contest


The following are the general rules and categories for the Vermont Press Association’s annual contest.

For information about the 2017-18 contest and to submit your entries, click here.


GENERAL RULES

Click here for a printable PDF of the rules.

  1. Stories that appeared only on a newspaper’s website but not in print MAY be entered in any category.
  2. All entries will be PDF files uploaded to the VPA Google Drive. Please follow specific instructions within the category.
  3. 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.
  4. Newspapers may submit only those stories that have been published in their newspapers or on their websites. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Judges retain the right to disqualify entries entered in incorrect categories.
  7. All entries must be clearly marked with the category and the date published.
  8. All newspapers shall submit a $65 entry fee along with $10 for each entry submitted in each category. (Click here to download the payment form.)
  9. No newspaper may submit more than the noted limit for entries in each award category. Submitting more than the maximum numbers of entries subjects the entire entry to disqualification.
  10. All participating organizations must be eligible for regular membership in the Vermont Press Association.
  11. 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.
  12. Entries are submitted in the name of the newspaper. Extra copies of awards may be purchased from the VPA.
  13. Failure to follow these rules will result in disqualification.

 


CATEGORIES

Click here for a printable PDF of the categories.

The John D. Donoghue Award for Arts Criticism

  • One category for all newspapers.
  • Maximum of up to three entries per newspaper. Each entry includes three articles.

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. An entry consists of either three reviews, or two reviews and one analysis. Entries must deal with the performing arts, film or visual arts, whether created and performed by amateurs or professionals, or literary criticism. 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.
  • Maximum 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:

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

Best Local Story

  • Two categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum 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.
  • Maximum 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.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

This covers any story of human interest, including profiles. 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.

Best Arts & Entertainment Story

  • Two categories: Daily and Non-Daily
  • Maximum 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.

Photography Awards: Sports

  • Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

Any photos from any kind of sporting event.

An entry is a single photograph, not a series or a picture page.

Photography Awards: General News

  • Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

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.

An entry is a single photograph, not a series or a picture page.

Photography Awards: Features

  • Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

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

An entry is a single photograph, not a series or a picture page.

Outstanding Sportswriter Awards

  • Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

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.
  • Maximum 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, 2014, that the reporter was hired.

Entries should consist of three unrelated stories.

Editorial Writing

  • Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

This award is presented for a single, locally produced editorial that reflects the point of view of the newspaper. This award recognizes only one editorial, not a body of work.

Column writing: Political/Hard News

  • Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

This award recognizes the art of column writing for political/hard news. Each entry will contain three (3) columns by a single writer. Sports columns are acceptable. This award recognizes a body of work by a single columnist.

Column writing: Features/Lifestyle/Humor

  • Two Categories: Daily and Non-Daily.
  • Maximum three entries per newspaper.

This award recognizes the art of column writing for Features/Lifestyle/Humor. Each entry will contain three (3) 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, one chosen by the newspaper and one selected randomly by the VPA.

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?

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