Poll: Are contests worth it?

IN RECENT WEEKS, two of my clients received strong recognition for their efforts. The Western Catholic Reporter was named best-designed by the Canadian Church Press. And the Hood County News in Granbury, TX, won General Excellence and Best Page Design from the Texas Press Assn. Both are good newspapers and their design makes me look good, too.

But I know there’s always some question about awards and contests and how they’re run and who the judges are and categories and the like. I’ve judged quite a few contests myself and I understand the difficulties involved in the process.

Nevertheless, I know there are quite a few journalists out there who think that contests are a waste of time, effort and money. Even though they may have won their share of awards, they don’t place much stock in contests.

What are your thoughts? Are contests good for the industry? Do they help your newspaper? Do they make you a better journalist?

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2 Comments

Filed under Poll | survey

2 responses to “Poll: Are contests worth it?

  1. zenlizzie

    We always enter and sometimes win, but the judging process is very subjective and varies so greatly from contest to contest and year to year. It is always nice to be recognized for hard work or good design, but sometimes looking at the winners just shows “Oh, so that is what the judges were looking for,” rather than “Wow, this is a great design/story/headline/etc.”

  2. Last year, we only won one award – even with a redesign by Ed himself – and we think it’s because the judges didn’t know what to do with an ACBJ paper in the business news categories. So we lost to small dailies that wrote about a store opening. This year, we won eight awards in huge categories of the same contest. So what does that tell you? The contests are inconsistent and very subjective.

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