Contest Rules

 
General Rules
  • Nominations can be submitted online only. We prefer PDF documents for submissions. If your entry is a a series of articles, we ask that you combine them into a single PDF. We encourage entrants to include photographs and multimedia with their submissions, if applicable. These can be either included in the PDF (in-text for photographs, or as links for video and interactive content) or submitted as supplementary files.
  • Broadcast entries can be submitted either by uploading a video or audio file, or submitting a link to the desired clip. Submission entries are limited to 50MB in size.
  • All entries must be accompanied by a cover letter, the specific requirements for which vary from contest to contest. Details can be found below.
  • All awards will be presented for journalism published or launched between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2013. Because of the change in the entry period, first-place winners in the previous contest (running from May 1, 2012- April 30, 2013) are not eligible to enter their winning work in the current contest. All other entries are eligible and will be considered by judges. 
  • The deadline for all entries is March 31. 

Entry Fees

  • The entry fees are $75 per entry for APME members and $100 per entry for non-members.
  • The entry fee for the College Innovator of the Year Award is $25.
  • To see if you are an APME member, click here to login. If your newspaper is not listed, consider enrolling or renewing your membership. Benefits of membership include reduced fees to attend the annual APME conference, and to submit your work for consideration for an APME Journalism Excellence Award. See this page for further details.
The awards will be presented at the ASNE/APME Conference Sept. 15-17 in Chicago, and are linked on the APME website. The finalists of the newspaper Innovator of the Year will make presentations at the conference, and the winner will be selected by conference attendees.
 
For more information, contact Josh Schwartz (jsschwartz_NEWS@ap.org) or Sally Jacobsen (sjacobsen@ap.orgat the Associated Press. 

Additional information about each category can be found below.

 

 
Eighth Annual Innovator of the Year Award
 
This award recognizes innovation in print, online, management, structure or other area that demonstrates a bold, creative effort to improve a news or information product and increase audience. Demonstrable success is required for the entry’s standing. The winner will be awarded $1,000. The sponsor is GateHouse Media.
 
Definition of Innovation: A new, creative and forward-thinking concept that has long-lasting effects and attracts new audiences or dollars. It can be a product, a technique or a new structure, but it must be able to show how it met a specific goal over a period of time. It should have potential to become an industry standard over a period of time.
 
Eligibility: The competition is open to any editor or staff member of an AP-member news organization, a team from a member news organization or a member news organization.
 
Submissions: A total of 20 files can be uploaded with each entry. This can include a combination of documents, published pages and multimedia files, if applicable.
 
Online innovation: The entrant is responsible for making the site available to judges through a Web link. A URL should be submitted with the application.
 
Print innovation: Submit electronic files of published tear sheets.
 
Online and print: Combinations are welcome, and should be submitted according to rules for both.
 
Management, structure or other: Explain the innovation thoroughly, as well as how it improved or increased efficiency, effectiveness, coordination and audience or enhanced the newspaper’s competitiveness or ability to improve content. Provide examples of resulting content as appropriate.
 
Judging: A panel of APME board and committee members will judge all entries and select three finalists. The finalists will be presented to attendees of the ASNE/APME joint conference in Chicago, and a vote of attendees will determine the winner. A representative of each finalist will be asked to present his or her news organization’s entry at the conference. Attendance is not required to win, but it will difficult for attendees to select a winner without a representative’s presentation.
 

 
Third Annual Innovator of the Year Award for Television and Radio
 
This awards recognize innovation in television and radio that demonstrates bold, creative efforts to improve a news or information product and increase audience. Demonstrable success is required for the entry’s standing. Two awards will be given: one for TV, and another for radio.
 
Definition of Innovation: A new, creative and forward-thinking concept that has long-lasting effects and attracts new audiences or dollars. It can be a product, a technique or a new structure, but it must be able to show how it met a specific goal over a period of time. It should have potential to become an industry standard over a period of time.
 
Eligibility: The competition is open to any news manager or staffer of an AP-member TV or radio station or network, or a team from a member TV or radio station or network.
 
Submissions: A total of 20 files can be uploaded with each entry. This can include a combination of produced segments or stories, documents, and/or multimedia files as appropriate.
 
Management, structure or other: Explain the innovation thoroughly, as well as how it improved or increased efficiency, effectiveness, coordination and audience or enhanced the station or network’s competitiveness or ability to improve content. Provide examples of resulting content as appropriate.
 
Judging: A panel of APME board members will judge all entries and select the winner.
 

 
Third Annual Innovator of the Year Award for College Students
 
This award recognizes innovation by university students in print, online, management, structure or other area that demonstrates a bold, creative effort to improve a news or information product and increase audience. Demonstrable success can improve the entry’s standing.
 
Definition of Innovation: A new, creative and forward-thinking concept that has long-lasting effects and attracts new audiences or dollars. It can be a product, a technique or a new structure, but must be able to show how it met a specific goal over a period of time. It should have potential to become an industry standard over a period of time.
 
Eligibility: The competition is open to any APME affiliate member who is either an enrolled student or faculty member.
 
Submissions: A total of 20 files can be uploaded with each entry. This can include a combination of documents, published pages and multimedia files, if applicable.
 
Online innovation: The entrant is responsible for making the site available to judges through a Web link. URL should be submitted with the application.
 
Print innovation: Submit electronic files of published tear sheets.
 
Online and print: Combinations are welcome, and should be submitted according to rules for both.
 
Management, structure or other: Explain the innovation thoroughly, as well as how it improved or increased efficiency, effectiveness, coordination and audience or enhanced the newspaper’s competitiveness or ability to improve content. Provide examples of resulting content as appropriate.
 
Judging: A panel of APME board members will judge all entries and select the winner.
 

 
The Al Neuharth Award for Innovation Journalism
 
This award recognizes groundbreaking work by a newspaper that creatively uses digital tools in the role of being a community’s watchdog. The winner in each circulation category will be awarded $2,500.
 
Eligibility: The awards are given to Associated Press or Canadian Press member newspapers.
 
Criteria: This award recognizes groundbreaking work by a newspaper that creatively uses digital tools in the role of being a community's watchdog. Special consideration is given to journalism that helps a community understand and address important issues. Criteria for evaluating innovation include interactivity, creation of new tools, innovative adaptation of existing tools, and creative use of any digital medium.
 
Nominations: Nominations may be made by a newspaper itself, other newspapers, by AP bureaus or by civic or cultural organizations.
 
Circulation categories: There shall be two awards: one for newspapers with average daily circulation up to 75,000, and the other for newspapers of 75,000 average daily circulation or more, according to the latest audited figures. The winner in each category will receive $2,500 in prize money. APME reserves the right to decline to award a winner in any category.
 
Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of clippings of stories, series and/or editorials and community reaction. No more than 20 electronic files may be submitted, including a detailed letter outlining the background, accomplishments and results of the effort. Entrants are responsible for making the digital tools available to judges through a Web link. URL should be submitted with the application. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or the approach of the entry, and steps the newspaper took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.
 
Judging: Judging will be done by a panel of APME board members, including the APME president.
 

Best Mobile Platform

This award will be presented to the news organization that produces or made significant improvements to a mobile (smart-phone or tablet) application or platform in 2013, which most advances the state of the art in utility and engagement. The ideal entry will embody improvements in content, design, functionality and technology that set an example worthy of emulation by the industry.
 
Eligibility: The competition is open to any editor or staff member of an AP-member news organization, a team from a member news organization or a member news organization.
 
Submissions: A total of 20 files can be uploaded with each entry. This can include a combination of documents, published pages and multimedia files, if applicable.
 
Online: The entrant is responsible for making the site available to judges through a Web link. URL should be submitted with the application.
 
Management, structure or other: Explain thoroughly the mobile application and how it improved or increased efficiency, effectiveness, coordination and audience or enhanced the newspaper’s competitiveness or ability to improve content.
 
Judging: A panel of APME board and committee members, including one who has experience with development of mobile apps, will judge all entries and select the winner.
 

 
44th Annual Public Service Awards
 
The APME Public Service Awards are given to Associated Press or Canadian Press member newspapers for meritorious service to the community, state or nation. From the three division winners, an Overall Winner will then be chosen and receive $1,500, as provided by the APME Foundation.
 
Criteria: Entries will be judged on the basis of how the newspaper made full use of its resources in serving the public good and on the high quality of journalism exhibited in the work. Work that demonstrates evidence of positive change that has benefited the public or its institutions will be given strong consideration. The entry may be a single article or a series, and, in addition to the primary print coverage, can include sidebars, graphics, online work, commentary and editorials.
 
Nominations: Nominations may be made by a newspaper itself, by other newspapers, by AP bureaus or by civic or cultural organizations.
 
Circulation categories: There shall be three awards: one for newspapers with average daily circulation to 39,999; one for newspapers with average daily circulation of 40,000 to 149,999; another for newspapers of 150,000 average daily circulation or more, according to the latest audited figures. APME reserves the right to decline to award a winner in any category. Only newspapers are eligible to submit entries, except that bureau work may be entered by a single newspaper for judging in the 150,000-and-over circulation category regardless of the size of the paper in which the work appears.
 
Submissions: Entries should include electronic files of clippings of stories, series and/or editorials and community reaction. No more than 20 electronic files may be submitted, including a detailed letter outlining the background, accomplishments and results of the effort. The letter should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or the approach of the entry, and steps the newspaper took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections or clarifications.
 
Judging: Judging will be done by the president and three past presidents of APME plus a senior editor of The Associated Press. Judges will select the Overall Winner from the three division winners.

 


 
First Amendment Award and Citations
 
The 2013 APME First Amendment Awards will be given to journalists or newspapers for work that advances freedom of information, makes good use of FOI principles or statutes, or significantly widens the scope of information available to the public. Other distinguished efforts will be honored with First Amendment citations. The Tom Curley Sweepstakes Award of $1,000 will be given to the winning entry that best exemplifies the spirit of the First Amendment.
 
Criteria: The objective is to honor journalists and newspapers for significant or breakthrough work that protects or advances the First Amendment or federal and state FOI statutes. A story or project that makes good use of an FOIA law does not necessarily meet the criteria for the APME First Amendment Award, and may be deserving of consideration in the APME Public Service competition. Judges in the First Amendment contest will give preference to entries that break ground in the use of freedom of information principles or overcome significant official resistance to legal application of the First Amendment or FOI laws. Newspapers must choose whether to enter their projects in the First Amendment or Public Service contests.
 
Nominations: Nominations will be made by individuals, newspapers, professional societies, journalism schools, state AP associations and others.
 
Circulation categories: There shall be three awards: one for newspapers with average daily circulation to 39,999; one for newspapers with average daily circulation of 40,000 to 149,999; another for newspapers of 150,000 average daily circulation or more, according to the latest audited figures. The Tom Curley Sweepstakes Award, carrying a $1,000 prize, will be given to the winning entry that best exemplifies the spirit of the First Amendment. APME reserves the right to decline to award a winner in any category.
Eligibility: Individual staff members of The Associated Press or Canadian Press member newspapers, or the newspapers themselves, are eligible. However, an individual or newspaper may be nominated for contributions to freedom of information over the years.
 
Submissions: The objective is to honor newsmen, newswomen and newspapers for efforts to obtain information to which the public otherwise would not have access. It is important that entries emphasize and document those efforts. Electronic images of pages must include publication dates. A total of 20 files may be uploaded and can be a combination of published pages, documentation and/or multimedia files. A detailed explanation of the entry to be submitted as a document file to your online application should discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or the approach of the entry, and steps the newspaper took to address those concerns. The entry must include all published corrections.
 
Judging: Nominations will be judged by members of the APME Executive Committee, the chairman of the APME First Amendment Committee and distinguished experts on public access issues.
 

 
Digital Storytelling Awards
 
This award recognizes Associated Press or Canadian Press member newspaper, television, radio and online partners for the effective use of digital storytelling.
 
Criteria: These awards recognize print-online or broadcast-online combinations that draw on feature storytelling, data visualization, social media, use of apps, games, video and/or blogs in presenting the story. The article can be on any topic, but it must have a narrative or feature approach to it. Entries should demonstrate the effective use of the digital medium, highlighting its ability to engage readers, viewers or listeners and present information in compelling new ways.
 
Nominations: Nominations may be made by a newspaper or broadcast outlet itself or its online partner.
 
Circulation categories: There shall be three awards: one for newspapers with average daily circulation to 39,999; one for newspapers with average daily circulation of 40,000 to 149,999; another for newspapers of 150,000 average daily circulation or more, according to the latest audited figures. APME reserves the right to decline to award a winner in any category.
 
Submissions: Entry should include main URL, three supporting URLs, plus a 500-word (max) statement explaining why the work deserves recognition. Judges will give special weight to entries that highlight reader engagement and interactivity. You can include electronic files of stories, series and/or editorials and community reaction. No more than 20 electronic files may be submitted, including a letter describing the nominated story and how it was developed. The letter should discuss additional elements produced for online and how the online efforts contributed to development of the story in print or broadcast. The letter also should discuss any action resulting from the coverage. It also should mention significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, as well as steps the news media outlet and/or the online unit took to address those concerns. Published corrections or clarifications must be included.
 
Judging: Judging will be done by a committee appointed by the president of APME.
 

 
International Perspective Awards
 
The 2013 APME International Perspective Awards will be given to Associated Press and Canadian Press member newspapers for outstanding coverage of international news for local readers.
 
Criteria: These awards recognize newspapers that provide effective and thoughtful coverage of world events for a local audience. This could be reflected in coverage from the newspaper's own foreign staff; consistent, discriminating selection of news agency and syndicate material with an eye to overall importance, the quality of writing and the specific interests of the local community; locally produced stories tracing the international connections of people, businesses and other organizations in the newspaper's circulation area; articles about, or by, local people living or traveling abroad; and the effective use of local experts to provide background on international developments.
 
Nominations: Nominations may be made by a newspaper itself, by other newspapers, by AP bureaus or by civic or cultural organizations.
 
Circulation categories: There shall be three awards: one for newspapers with average daily circulation to 39,999; one for newspapers with average daily circulation of 40,000 to 149,999; another for newspapers of 150,000 average daily circulation or more, according to the latest audited figures. APME reserves the right to decline to award a winner in any category.
 
Submissions: An entry can include electronic files of stories, series and/or editorials and community reaction. The files should include proof of publication date. A total of 20 files may be uploaded, and should include a letter with a description of the newspaper’s criteria and philosophy for internationally related coverage. The letter also should discuss any accomplishments resulting from the coverage. It should also discuss significant challenges to the accuracy or approach of the entry, and steps the newspaper took to address those concerns. Published corrections or clarifications must be included.
 
Judging: Judging will be done by a committee appointed by the president of APME, to include a senior online editor of The Associated Press and other top online journalists.

 

 


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