The Northern Illinois Newspaper Association‘s Better Newspaper Contest is a better newspaper contest this year — with three new categories that recognize change in the industry and offer more ways to reward outstanding work.
The NINA contest is one of Illinois’ least expensive — at just $6 per entry —giving news organizations and individuals more opportunities to earn recognition.
Entries are open NOW, and the deadline is set at 11:59 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21. Click this link for he 2020 Competition Rules And Entry Information.
NEW This Year!
Three new categories make this year special.
The first is a relatively big change: a GENERAL EXCELLENCE AWARD that replaces the traditional sweepstakes competition.
Beginning with this contest year, the James S. Copley and the Donald R. Grubb traveling awards will be presented in the Daily and Non-Daily categories for overall General Excellence rather than accumulation of points from other contest categories.
Each paper will submit PDFs of three complete editions. Each nameplate or flag will be judged individually.
For this contest year, papers should submit one date of submitter’s choosing and the issues from May 6, 2019, and Oct. 5, 2019. News organizations that did not publish on these dates should submit the issues closest to those dates.
- Judges will use a 100-point system to review each entry. Points will be assigned as follows:
- 1-20 points – Quality of local news and feature content
- 1-20 points – Enterprise, In-depth/watchdog reporting
- 1-20 points – Editorial page leadership/reader engagement
- 1-15 points – Quality of Sports content
- 1-15 points – Use of Photos/multimedia content
- 1-10 points – Design: Page layout; Headlines; Use of art, graphics, infoboxes, effective flags to related online content.
A second new category recognizes excellence in reporting of what arguably is the most important health and economic story of our lifetime.
MOST IMPACTFUL COVERAGE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC rewards excellence in a single story or an unscheduled series of stories that follows a public service theme.
Judges will consider civic impact and evaluate the circumstances prompting the coverage and how it helped the community through the crisis.
Of course, COVID-19 coverage without a public service theme may be entered into the appropriate contest category.
In an effort to engage a greater variety of news sources and to reward work that has a positive impact on the communities we serve, NINA this year is introducing the BEST SPANISH COVERAGE OF LATINO COMMUNITY category.
The award will give special consideration to stories that address issues positively impacting the Latino community such as jobs, immigration, crime reduction, education, entrepreneurial enterprise, sports and economic impact.
Stories should be written in Spanish. Judges will consider quality of writing, graphics, photography and layout.
More Fun, Interesting, Different Categories
If you haven’t entered the NINA contest in recent years, you should take a look to see some of the categories that you might not find in other competitions.
A few of the categories we’ve added in recent years include BEST COVERAGE OF SOCIAL ISSUES, which awards work that sheds a light on issues such as poverty, violence, justice, human rights and equality, and BEST GOVERNMENT/PUBLIC AFFAIRS REPORTING, which is designed to reward the excellent work reporters do every day covering local, state and federal government actions that affect a newspaper’s community.
NINA has added a BEST HISTORICAL FEATURE to honor the role of a newspaper in recording and remembering the history of the communities we serve.
Other fun categories that make NINA a little different include BEST USE OF HUMOR, BEST TECHNOLOGY/MEDICAL STORY, BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA BY AN INDIVIDUAL, and the OWEN PHELPS AWARD / BEST RELIGION STORY.
This year has been a challenge for all of us. Let’s not miss this chance to celebrate the herculean efforts of news organizations and individuals who have advanced the art and science of journalism during this astonishing year of global pandemic, economic hardship and social unrest.
Got Questions About The Contest?
Contact Shelley Hendricks, NINA’s communications coordinator, at 815-753-4239; firstname.lastname@example.org.