Thank you to all the member organizations who submitted contest entries last week. We have more than 140 entries across our four divisions, which are being vetted by APSE officers this week.
Due to the number of entries we had in the revived Special Section category, I have made a change. Divisions A and B will now be separated rather than being combined. So Special Section divisions will be A, B and C/D.
The number of entries in the digital contest are lagging, though. I have heard, “We didn’t do anything digital,” from people. We had hoped by changing the rules a few years ago and making it less about websites, we would make it easier for places to enter and do well.
To those who think they “didn’t do anything digital,” I say, “If you have a website or use any off-platform apps to promote your work or engage your readers, you have options.” Particularly in D Division, there are not a lot of entries in this category, so if you can come up with five good links, you are automatically in the mix. As my predecessor Jorge Rojas says, you can’t win if you don’t enter. (For what it’s worth, after D, the division where digital entries are lagging the most is A.)
To that end, entry keys for the digital contest will remain open until Wednesday for anyone, in any division, who wants to throw their hat in the ring.
Send any questions to email@example.com.
Here are the rules for the digital contest to refresh your memories:
- One entry per organization; five components per entry; no cover letters.
- A Top 10 in Digital is now part of the Triple Crown and Grand Slam, so you must enter this contest if you aspire to win a Triple Crown/Grand Slam.
- The digital contest is broken down into publishing examples (a recommended 85 percent weight) and live judging of your website (a recommended 15 percent).
- A story entered in a writing category can be entered as one of the five “publishing examples” in the Digital Contest.
- **NEW ** Videos entered in the digital contest are eligible for “Excellence in Video” certificates. More details below.
Entries will be judged, foremost, on how well your staff uses digital tools, on and off platform, to tell stories and engage readers. What do you do digitally for your readers and what can your staff accomplish at its most creative?
In your five publishing examples, you can include but are not limited to:
Individual story: Example of a story that is particularly effective online because it ties together multiple elements that play particularly well for a mobile or online audience. So the story and the art are the furniture — photos, graphics, interactive elements, video, podcasting that’s tied to the subject matter of the story, details boxes, pull quotes that enhance the reader experience are the emphasis for this score.
Video: Video can stand alone or be embedded as supplementary material in an article, but it must be produced by your editorial department. Examples include feature videos like player profiles, live panel discussions and game highlights with analysis. Video produced by affiliated television stations is not allowed. Reporter stand-ups and press conference/locker room scrums can be included but would score lower. Videos will be judged on the strength of storytelling and expertise; visual and audio quality will be considered.
Other multimedia: Charts/lists/graphics that tell a story, game film reviews with original reporting, photo galleries, podcasts (just one episode, please).
Interactives: “Stay or Go” graphics, quizzes, games, reader callouts.
Social Media: Demonstrate how you promote your content and engage with readers/sources off platform. Examples include Facebook groups, Instagram Live, TikTok video, a Reddit AMA, Twitter threads, Twitter Spaces.
Newsletters: A staff-written, -edited and -published newsletter (automated newsletters do not count)
Live judging of websites
The digital contest is not about who has the best website because sports editors often have no control over things like design, story placement and navigability, but here are some things for judges to consider when looking at entries:
- Something that stands out: Did the site offer a variety of elements such as photo galleries, videos, graphics in addition to stories?
- Freshness of content, emphasis of content, mix of content
- Enticing headlines that draw readers in.
- Smart related content to keep you on the site
- Did you enjoy the experience? Would you keep coming back?
Excellence in video
** NEW ** In an effort to recognize the video work of our members as suggested in a recent survey about the APSE contest, judges in this year’s digital contest can also award up to five “excellence in video” citations in each division. Any video entered among the five publishing examples in the digital contest will be eligible for this award. This is intended to recognize individual videos. Long-form multimedia like video series can be entered as Projects, which is a Triple Crown category.