2014 AAN Awards Rules & Guidelines

january 30, 2014  02:17 pm
2014 AAN Awards Rules & Guidelines
The 2014 AAN Awards contest will begin accepting entries on February 3. The deadline to submit entries is Monday, March 3, 2014 at 11 pm EST.

There are two Wild Card topics this year. Diversity Coverage will recognize outstanding coverage of cultural and ethnic diversity, including the LGBT community. Economic Inequality Reporting will recognize outstanding coverage of economic inequality.

Quick Links

2014 AAN Awards Rules

Eligibility
The contest is open to member publications of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) and to cartoonists whose work appears in those papers.

Entries must be submitted by the editor, publisher or another designated representative of the publication. Writers may not enter their own work unless authorized to do so by the publication. Individual cartoonists may enter their own work.

All entries must have been published in the period from Jan. 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013 with the exception of entries in the Investigative Reporting and Public Service categories. Each entry must have been published originally in the member publication or its website, and should not be a reprint.

Entry Deadline
All entries must be submitted online by 11 pm EST on Mon., March 3, 2014. Any hard-copy entries, if applicable, must be received at the AAN office by 5 pm EST on Fri., March 7, 2014.

Even if you are sending hard copies, you still must submit those entries into the contest website by March 3. This is required in order to correctly calculate your total entry fees, and so that we can match your package with the online system.

Entry Fees
  • Papers with circulation of 50,000 and over: $35 per entry
  • Papers with circulation of under 50,000: $25 per entry
  • Cartoons: $25 per entry

Papers may pay by credit card online or send a check. Online payments must be made by the online entry deadline of 11 pm EST on March 3, 2014. Checks should be made payable to the "Association of Alternative Newsmedia" or "AAN."

Using the Contest Website
All participants must enter the contest by completing an online entry form on the contest website.

  • In the dropdown menu, select "2014 AAN Awards" as the contest.
  • Select "Contestant Manager."
  • Select your media organization from the dropdown menu.
  • If you created an account last year, use the password from last year. Otherwise, use "bnc" (lower case) as a temporary password. You will then be asked to create a new password. If you're unsure whether an account has been created, or if you've misplaced your password, contact us at contests[at]aan.org.

The online site will be open from Mon., Feb. 3, 2014, through Mon., March 3, 2014 at 11 pm EST.

All entries for the Writing categories must be submitted electronically. Entrants may submit URLs or PDFs. Work that is submitted in the Writing categories may only be submitted once, unless it is also being submitted in a Design category (Cover Design, Editorial Layout, Illustration or Photography).

Please reduce the size of PDFs. The contest site will not allow the upload of files larger than 5 MB.

Entries for the Design categories may be submitted electronically OR in hard copy. Any work submitted in a Design category also may be submitted in a Writing category. See Category Definitions for each specific category's criteria.

If submitting hard-copies, the entry must include three (3) tear sheets per entry. Please cross out any extraneous articles that appear on the submitted pages so judges don't misconstrue them to be part of the entry.

Ship hard-copies, if applicable, to:
Association of Alternative Newsmedia
1156 15th Street NW, Suite 1005
Washington, DC 20005

Restriction on Entering the Same Work in More Than One Category
The same work may not be submitted in more than one category with two exceptions:
  • A work submitted in a Writing category (where it is being judged on content) also may compete in a Design category (where it is being judged for design).
  • A work submitted in the Illustration or Photography category also may be submitted as part of an entry in the Cover Design category.

Size Divisions
With the exception of the Cartoon, Innovation/Format Buster, and Online Categories, competition will be separated into two size divisions based on circulation figures: papers with circulation under 50,000 and papers with circulation of 50,000 and over. (Check AAN's latest circulation data here.)

Participating papers will be automatically assigned to a circulation category based on the latest audit circulation figures obtained through a third-party auditing agency. If a newspaper isn’t audited by a third party, AAN uses the latest information submitted by the publisher.

Awards Presentation
Finalists will be announced in June. The order of finish will be announced during a reception at the annual AAN Convention in Nashville in July.

Reprint Permission
All entries become the property of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and will not be returned. AAN reserves the right to republish the winning entries in part or in whole for promotional or educational purposes. Winning articles in select categories may be printed in a "Best of" book published through a partnership between AAN and an outside publisher.

Entry Limits and Requirements

Writing CategoriesRequired Pieces
Per Entry
Max Entries
Per Paper
Arts CriticismUp to 33
Arts Feature1 or 1 Series3
Beat ReportingUp to 53
Column33
Column (Political)31
Diversity Coverage1 or 1 Series3
Economic Inequality Reporting1 or 1 Series3
Feature Story1 or 1 Series3
Food WritingUp to 31
Investigative Reporting1 or 1 Series1
Music CriticismUp to 31
Long-Form News Story13
Public ServiceUp to 101


Design CategoriesRequired Pieces
Per Entry
Max Entries
Per Paper
Cover Design31
Editorial Layout13
Illustration1 or 1 Series3
PhotographyUp to 101


Online CategoriesRequired Pieces
Per Entry
Max Entries
Per Paper
Individual BlogUp to 5 Posts3
Multimedia1 or 1 Series3
Music BlogUp to 5 Posts1
Staff BlogUp to 5 Posts1


Outside-the-Box
Categories
Required Pieces
Per Entry
Max Entries
Per Paper
CartoonUp to 51
Innovation/Format Buster1 or 1 Series3
Special SectionEntire Section1

Category Guidelines

WRITING CATEGORIES


Arts Criticism
Each entry must consist of one to three pieces of criticism by the same author or writing team. The criticism may pertain to any cultural genre except music, food or the media. The acceptable genres include (but are not limited to) film, literature, dance, video, video games, multimedia, photography, painting, sculpture, theater and performance art.

Arts Feature
Each entry must consist of a single feature or a series of features written by the same author or writing team. It may pertain to any arts genre, including (but not limited to) film, music, literature, dance, video, video games, multimedia, photography, painting, sculpture, theater and performance art.

Beat Reporting
Each entry must consist of up to five pieces showing breadth and depth of coverage on a specific area of interest (e.g., education, environment, sports) by a single author. Entries may include blog posts, features, and/or multimedia components as part of the overall body of work.

Column
Each entry must consist of three representative columns by the same author or writing team on any topic other than politics. Unsigned editorials may be entered in this category as long as all three editorials are written by the same author or writing team.

Column-Political
Each entry must consist of three representative columns by the same author or same writing team that focus on politics or government. Unsigned editorials may be entered in this category as long as all three editorials are written by the same author or writing team.

Diversity Coverage
Each entry must consist of a single story or series focusing on issues affecting culturally and ethnically diverse communities, including the LGBT community.

Economic Inequality Reporting
Each entry must consist of a single story or series focusing on economic inequality.

Feature Story
Each entry must consist of a single, non-arts-related feature or series of features by the same author or writing team. Features are human-interest stories that may be inspired by the news but are more vividly written and generally delve deeper into the character of a person, group, thing or place than a straight-news story would.

Food Writing
Each entry must consist of one to three unrelated pieces by the same author or writing team that focus on food or restaurants.

Investigative Reporting
Each entry must consist of a single news story or a series by the same author or writing team that displays evidence of extensive research and investigation. This category allows work that was published outside of the Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013 contest period, but the bulk of the reporting must have been published in 2013. Each entry must also include a letter from the member paper explaining what reporting techniques were required, what obstacles were overcome and what impact, if any, the story had on the community.

Long-Form News Story
Each entry must consist of a single multi-sourced hard-news story of more than 1,500 words. Additionally, up to two stories following up on that initial story, written by the same author or writing team, may be included (but are not required).

Music Criticism
Each entry must consist of up to three unrelated pieces by the same author or same writing team that focus on any genre of music.

Public Service
The Public Service category recognizes outstanding use of a newspaper’s resources to cover an issue vital to its community. This award is intended to recognize newspaper projects that produce notable results or make extraordinary efforts to stand up for important principles. Entries may include articles, editorials, cartoons, house ads, graphics or online material. This category allows work that was published outside of the Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013 contest period, but the impact of ongoing work must have had an impact during that timeframe. Each entry must also include a letter from the member paper explaining what reporting techniques were required, what obstacles were overcome and what impact the paper’s work had on the community.

DESIGN CATEGORIES


Cover Design
Each entry must consist of three separate front covers that appeared in the member paper in 2013. The covers of inserts and inside sections are not eligible. Photos and illustrations used in one of the submitted cover designs may also be entered in the Photography or Illustration category.

Editorial Layout
Each entry must consist of a complete layout that is no longer than seven pages. The layout may be single article, an article with sidebars or several articles that were clearly published together as part of a package. Special Sections are excluded from this category. The photos, illustrations or front cover of the editorial layout may not be submitted in one of the other Design categories.

Illustration
Each entry must consist of a single illustration or set of illustrations for a single story. The illustration(s) must be original to the member paper. If a set of illustrations is submitted, all must be by the same artist or same team of artists. Illustrations submitted to this category may also be submitted in the Cover Design category.

Photography
Each entry may consist of up to ten photos by the same photographer or team of photographers. If the photos have been digitally altered in any way beyond conventional cropping and sizing, please attach a description of the alteration and how it was achieved to each copy of the entry. Photos submitted to this category may also be submitted in the Cover Design category.

ONLINE CATEGORIES


Individual Blog
Each entry consists of one blog written by a single author, which must be accessible through the publication’s website and either hosted on the publication’s domain or written by an employee of the paper. The entrant must select up to five representative posts published within a 14-day period in 2013, to be given special attention by the judges. Judges will consider blog’s content (quality, consistency and originality of writing) and functionality (interactivity and multimedia features).

The name of the blog must be typed into the “Entry Title” field of the contest site. The URL of the blog and permalink URLs for up to five representative posts must be pasted into the URL fields of the contest site.

Multimedia
This category recognizes the best use of multimedia–­such as a slide show, web video, audio clip, interactive feature, or combination of format–on a single topic. Advertorial content is not allowed. Permalink URLs for each work must be pasted into the URL fields of the contest site. If more than one component shares a web page, please submit an explanatory letter to make clear which components are being judged. Do not submit files for features that are no longer active on your site.

Music Blog
Each entry consists of one music-related blog, which must be accessible through the publication’s website and either hosted on the publication’s domain or written by an employee of the paper. The entrant must select up to five representative posts published within a 14-day period in 2013, to be given special attention by the judges. Judges will consider blog’s content (quality, consistency and originality of writing) and functionality (interactivity and multimedia features).

The name of the blog must be typed into the “Entry Title” field of the contest site. The URL of the blog and permalink URLs for up to five representative posts must be pasted into the URL fields of the contest site.

Staff Blog
Each entry consists of one blog, which must be accessible through the publication’s website and either hosted on the publication’s domain or written by an employee of the paper. The entrant must select up to five representative posts published within a 14-day period in 2013, to be given special attention by the judges. Judges will consider blog’s content (quality, consistency and originality of writing) and functionality (interactivity and multimedia features).

The name of the blog must be typed into the “Entry Title” field of the contest site. The URL of the blog and permalink URLs for up to five representative posts must be pasted into the URL fields of the contest site.

OUTSIDE-THE-BOX CATEGORIES


Cartoon
Entries may be submitted in this category by member papers or by individual cartoonists. Each entry must consist of up to five (5) cartoons published in an AAN-member paper. Only stand-alone cartoons qualify; cartoons drawn to illustrate an article are ineligible. All cartoons compete in one size division, regardless of how many papers the cartoon appears in. Cartoons should be submitted in the same size and color scheme (b&w or color) as they appeared when they were originally published.

Innovation/Format Buster
This category recognizes work on a single topic that is presented in an unconventional format in print, or a combination of web and print. While a web component is not required, the entry must have a print component. The print component may present information with an atypical juxtaposition of graphics, art and text. The web component may incorporate video, audio, slideshows or maps to convey information. Entries may include an accompanying letter, but it is not required.

All entries in this category compete in one size division. Works in the Innovation category may not be submitted in another category.

Special Section
Each entry must consist of a special section or supplement that is not part of the regular weekly lineup. Examples are a "Best Of" issue, Holiday Gift Guide, Fashion Guide or Summer Guide.

If submitting hard copies, please submit copies of the entire section. Each tear sheet must have an entry form stapled to the front. If necessary, cross out any extraneous articles that appear on the submitted pages so judges don't misconstrue them to be part of the entry.

Questions about entry rules and issues should be directed to Jason Zaragoza at contests[at]aan.org.

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