2023 JACC State Publications Contest
The statewide contest is now live on Better BNC, and you can start uploading entries now. The site is the same as past years: https://betternewspapercontest.com/login. The contest entry deadline is at 9 p.m. PDT Jan. 15, 2023.
Some important things to pay attention to:
ENTRY HEADLINES: This is something we’ve consistently struggled to do consistently as an organization, and I’m going to try to do a better job of policing it this time. This is a bit confusing, so as a reminder: The “headline” area of Better BNC should NOT be the actual headline of the story or name of the entry. Instead, include your three-digit college code in the label/title of the entry. Also include the entry category and the entry number (No. 1 or No. 2). Depending on your school code and category of the entry, it should look something like this: 199- Feature Story – 1. (Replace the “199” with your own college’s code.) You can find your college code here: https://jacconline.org/college-codes/
“COMMENTS” AREA: I had a few judges contact me over the past couple contests addressing the “comments” area. Please do NOT use the “comments” area of an entry to divulge personal details about an entrant or to reveal details about a story (such as reporting efforts or roadblocks overcome by student journalists, etc.) that are not apparent in the entry itself. In short, some judges are worried about some entries trying to skew results by giving judges this kind of backstory about a particular story, or student journalist, along with the entry. This is not the role of the “comments” area, which should only be used for clarifying details about the entry itself. Most schools have been great about not misusing this area, so if this doesn’t sound like something you do, then great – keep doing what you’re doing!
TWO-YEAR RULE: For several years now, JACC has had the “two-year rule” in place. We ask member schools to enforce this rule and impose it on their own entries. For example, if a student won a first-through-fourth place or meritorious/unranked award in a publication or on-the-spot contest during or before 2021 State Conference, that student CANNOT compete in publication or on-the-spot contests as part of the 2023 State or later conference in the same class of contests. Classes of contests, as opposed to categories, include Writing/Editing, Graphic Design, Photography and Multimedia. Students may continue to compete in other classes of contests. The rule applies to all competitions (i.e., both publications contests and on-the-spot contests, regardless of which competition the student won the award). If you have any questions on this, please let me know.
PODCASTS: For those of you who came to regionals this fall, you will recall we discussed adding a new podcast/audio news category and removing the student-designed advertisement category. There was great support for this change, and with that in mind, we will run the podcast/audio news category as an experimental category for this competition, with student-designed advertisement scheduled to stop after this year’s state competition. As an experimental category, podcast/audio news will not count toward the Pacesetter.
The guidelines for the Podcast/Audio News category are as follows:
Definition: A single podcast or audio news or feature story edited for online distribution by students. Only one episode may be entered from any podcast series. If the subject/source is off-campus, the podcast or story must affect members of the college community in their on-campus roles and/or their off-campus roles as citizens. Entries must be audio only; podcasts that feature chapter art will not be excluded, but presence or absence of chapter art will not be a factor in judging. The entry may not include copyrighted material from another source without written permission from the copyright holder. Entries containing material that infringe on intellectual property rights, including copyrights, will be disqualified. By submitting an entry, you affirm that you have legal rights to reproduce all of the material within the entry, including music. Podcasts should be freely accessible online through either a link or through an episodic upload on an accessible platform such as Spotify, Apple Music or something similar. Entries that are not accessible by the judges will not be judged. Entries can be of any length, but judges will not be required to listen to more than five minutes of any single entry.
PANDEMIC AND NEWSPAPER GE: Because of the ongoing pandemic, we extended our temporary change to the rule for the Newspaper General Excellence contest. The usual rule requires a minimum of eight (8) print issues during the eligibility period to enter this category. That has been temporarily reduced to from 8 to 3 issues printed and/or posted on Issuu, or a similar platform, as print-designed newspapers, the number of issues required for entry. Note that the print-designed issues do not have to have been distributed in print this year to enter the contest, they may have been distributed electronically. But they must have been designed as broadsheet or tabloid print products as distinguished from an online news site. This contest requires a set of three complete issues.
ENTRY PARTICULARS: The eligibility period for this contest is Jan. 1, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2022, the calendar year. Please remember that the contest entry site accepts writing entries as clips (cropped PDFs of the stories as they appeared in the print edition), or links to the stories in the online edition. Don’t submit Word or other similar document formats, or PDFs of Word documents. Photo entries are JPEGs with embedded captions, and entrants are asked to reproduce the caption in the caption field in the online entry form. Pages are submitted as PDFs, and issues are submitted as links to the complete edition/s on Issuu or another similar platform, or to their online edition as appropriate. Isolated page entries may be entered this way as well. If you find you have entered something in the wrong format, simply delete and re-upload the entry. Please note: Schools with sites that use a subscription or registration model must provide judges easy access to their sites by providing a password entered into the comments section of the Better BNC entry. Also note that for some categories, especially page design, we have had a problem with colleges providing a generic Issuu link rather than links to the specific issues being entered. Check the links from the Manage Entries page after submitting the entry to make sure they go to the right place. And note in the heading or comments section which issue dates you are submitting.
Click here for the guidelines for each contest. Don’t mind the date; these are our most recent contest guidelines.
DOUBLE-CHECK: Don’t forget to double-check before you are finished entering that all your entries are attached. You can see whether files were successfully uploaded or linked by checking your Manage Entries page. If we have the time, we try to notify each of the impacted colleges but you should plan enough time in your entry process to double-check your own entries to make sure everything is there. In addition, if you have plans to update your website over the break, it may be better to submit your contest entries as PDFs rather than links. While links are faster to upload since they take no special preparation, judges may end up with broken links from changes to publication sites. If they can’t access the entry, they can’t judge it.
CONTEST ENTRY FEE: The contest entry fee for both the state and regional publication contests is $100 each and the Wild Apricot event site is live for member colleges to generate contest fee invoices http://jaocc.wildapricot.org/. The contest entry fee deadline is also January 15, 2023. This deadline may be satisfied by creating a contest fee invoice in Wild Apricot even if it takes your Business Office longer to process payment. If you are one of the JACC member colleges that opted to pre-pay contest entry fees last spring as part of a 2022-23 membership bundle ($500 membership fee plus $200 for the 2022 state and regional contests), you do not need to generate an entry fee invoice. If you don’t know whether you opted for the bundle or paid standard membership, you can check your account in Wild Apricot, or contact Joe Wirt at CNPA, which manages our organization ([email protected]).
JUDGES: One of the responsibilities of entering JACC contests is helping to provide judges to evaluate entries. Thanks to all of you, we have created a list of judges that have been suggested over the past several years that we have been working from, but we would like to add to that list because not everyone can continue to judge our contests twice a year, and some of the contact information is no longer current. So if you have any suggestions of new judges, we would really appreciate it. We will be assigning judges in the following broad categories: Design, General Excellence, Magazine, Multimedia, Photo and Writing. Most categories require only a couple hours of evaluation time. General Excellence categories require a bit more as we ask GE judges to complete evaluation forms to score publications based on specific criteria, so if you know anyone who would be willing to judge GE specifically, that would be awesome. Please send along the name and contact information of someone you have confirmed would like to help with judging, and the broad category/ies they would like to judge to Patrick Schmiedt ([email protected]) as soon as possible. We prefer working journalism professionals, and those who have recently retired may have time to spare. Ask those you know or have networked with. Former JACC alums now working in the field always do a wonderful job, too, as do retired journalism professors no longer connected with a JACC journalism program.
PASSWORD ISSUES: If you encounter issues remembering your login and password, here’s a tip — the login to the Better BNC site is by specific contest so some folks have two different logins and passwords, one for the state contest and one for regionals. If you try the login/PW combination you used for regionals last year and it does not work, try the one you used for state. If that fails, shoot me an email and I will look it up for you. If you cannot reach me, you can start a Trouble Ticket with Better BNC.
PACESETTER: One last note – after a long delay precipitated by COVID-19, we are ready to bring back Pacesetter awards for the first time since 2019. As discussed at regional conferences, we will change Pacesetter awards slightly, acknowledging six programs – three in print, three in digital – as statewide Pacesetters. Pacesetter award parameters have been expanded to include more categories and to allow digital-only publications and programs a more equitable chance at winning JACC’s highest award. Here is the updated language we will use to determine Pacesetter winners:
The Pacesetter Award is a sweepstakes award to honor the top-performing schools in publication and on-the-spot competition at the annual state convention. Schools must win a newspaper or online general excellence award to qualify. Qualifying schools receive sweepstakes points for newspaper/digital publications competitions and on-the-spot competitions. Magazine competitions are not included. Pacesetter Awards will be unranked. Schools receive points for each eligible award they win:
First place = 5 points
Second place = 4 points
Third place = 3 points
Fourth place = 2 points
Honorable mention = 1 point
Unranked general excellence = 5 points
Unranked meritorious = 3 points
Pacesetter Awards will be split into two divisions – print and online. The top three performing schools in each division will earn Pacesetter Awards. However, schools can only win one Pacesetter Award, either print or online, in any given year. Schools will be given the Pacesetter Award in the category in which they rank highest or, in the case of an equal ranking, attain the most points.
For example, the schools in bold would win their respective Pacesetter Awards:
1: School A: 50 points 1. School A: 53 points
2: School B: 47 points 2. School C: 45 points
3. School D: 42 points 3. School B: 44 points
4. School C: 40 points 4. School E: 41 points
5. School F: 39 points 5. School D: 37 points
Print winners would be: School B; School D; School F.
Online winners would be: School A; School C; School E.
Since School A – ranked first in both – received more points for the online division, it would win that award. School B and School D then move up in the print standings and win print Pacesetters. School C would win an online Pacesetter due to being higher ranked in that division than in print. School B would not win the online Pacesetter due to being higher ranked in the print division and winning that Pacesetter. This leaves School F for the last print Pacesetter honor and School E for the last online Pacesetter honor.
Publication competitions counting toward both divisions include:
Writing: (1) News Story; (2) Enterprise News Story/Series; (3) Feature Story; (4) Profile Feature Story; (5) Editorial; (6) Critical Review; (7) Opinion Story; (8) Column Writing; (9) Sports Game Story.
Art/Design: (1) Editorial Cartoon; (2) Informational Graphic; (3) Illustration; (4) Photo Illustration; (5) Student Designed Advertisement.
Photography: (1) News Photo; (2) Sports Action Photo; (3) Feature Photo; (4) Sports Feature Photo; (5) Environmental Portrait.
Print-only categories will include:
Publication: (1) Newspaper General Excellence.
Art/Design: (1) Inside Page Layout; (2) Front Page Layout.
Photography: (1) Photo Story/Essay.
Online-only categories will include:
Publication: (1) Online General Excellence.
Multimedia: (1) Online Photo Essay; (2) Webcast/Broadcast News; (3) Video Journalism; (4) Podcast/Audio News. (Note that Podcast/Audio News is experimental for 2023 and won’t be used for Pacesetter points this year.)