CNPA contest renamed; new categories added

CNPA’s Better Newspapers Contest is now the California Journalism Awards.

The CNPA Board of Directors approved the name change at its quarterly meeting Oct. 5 in Sacramento. The change is a nod to the increasingly digital future of newspapers and the association’s recent name change to the California News Publishers Association.

Among the new categories this year is Online Coverage of Breaking News. The awards committee will consider and recommend to the board more online-only categories for the 2018 contest.

Other categories added to the 2017 contest:

  • Public Service Journalism
  • Photojournalism (a general excellence category for photography)
  • In-Depth Reporting
  • Land-Use Reporting
  • Special Section Cover
  • Special Publication (a publication delivered separately from the newspaper)

Dropped from this year’s contest is the “Lifestyle” category, due to the low number of entries that category received in the last three contests.

Several other categories will see circulation divisions combined to make them more competitive.

The 2017 California Journalism Awards will also see the return of on-site judging in San Francisco by a select group of experienced, out-of-state journalists for the second round, or “Blue Ribbon,” judging of the contest. The change is an attempt to provide a more thorough evaluation of the contest finalists in each category.

In-state judges from participating newspapers will continue to provide the first round of judging. Blue Ribbon judges will review all finalists.

The board approved a modest increase in entry fees to offset the additional cost of bringing in out-of-state judges. The exact amount of the increase will be announced in the coming weeks but will not exceed $5 per entry in any division.

There are also a couple of rule changes this year:

  • The same story, series or photograph may be entered in multiple categories. Previously, entries were restricted to a single category.
  • Entries that appeared in multiple newspapers should be submitted by the paper whose staff was primarily responsible for creating the entry. However, papers have the option to submit the entry under a higher-circulation newspaper from among those that published the entry. Previously, the newspaper with the highest circulation was required to post the entry.

The contest period will continue to be the calendar year (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31). Contest entry materials will be mailed to members and posted online in November. Deadline for entries is tentatively set for the third week of January.

Members are encouraged to contact CNPA with their up-to-date circulation numbers or changes to their publication frequency so that they can compete in the correct division.

Contact Simon Birch at (916) 288-6010 with the information or if you have questions about the California Journalism Awards.