NPW 2018 Communications Contest Rules

Following is information on the 2018 contest, which has already been held. While you may use this information as a guide for 2019, the official information for next year’s contest will be available in the late fall.

DEADLINE: Deadline was Jan. 23, 2018. After that date, a $25 late fee will be added. All entries must be submitted by Feb. 6.

Entry fees: $10 for the first entry, $5 each additional entry. After Jan. 23, the entry fee is $35 for the first entry and $5 for each subsequent entry.

STATE AWARDS will be presented at the NPW spring convention on Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Omaha. NATIONAL AWARDS will be presented during the NFPW conference Sept. 6-8, 2018, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

ELIGIBILITY: Anyone who is a member of Nebraska Press Women is eligible to enter. Dues MUST be paid by Feb. 23 in order to be eligible to enter the contest. Nonmembers are invited to join NPW before Feb. 23 to enter. Join now!

Work published from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017, is eligible for entry. Anyone who receives a first-place award in the NPW statewide contest will be eligible to enter the NFPW National Communications Contest, providing 2018 NFPW membership dues have been paid. Winners will be announced at the NPW spring conference in Omaha. State-only members may take advantage of a one-time-only offer to upgrade their membership to NFPW if they have a state entry that earns a first-place award and they want it to advance to national competition.

TO PREPARE YOUR ENTRIES: Entries must be in .pdf, .jpg or Word documents. When saving entries to upload to the contest site, PLEASE name your entries consistently, starting with the category number and name (1A News, for example) and then a couple of key words from the headline, etc. This is a new request and it’s for the benefit of the contest director.


TO ENTER THE CONTEST: Access the 2018 NPW competition through the Communications Contest page of the NFPW website. Or, go to and click on Competitions. The first link on the Competitions page — NFPW Communications Contest — will take you to the information about the professional contest as well as to a link to the electronic contest.

Here are a few tips to give you a running start once you are on the contest Welcome (login) page;


  • READ THE DIRECTIONS to orient yourself, then click the REGISTER link in the upper right corner of the contest site. Enter your email address and click SUBMIT to get the Entrant Form.
  • Entrant Form (about YOU, not the entry): Enter your email address and click SUBMIT. Note that if you entered the contest last year and you submit the SAME email address you used then, your entrant form should appear with all of the information you provided for the 2017 contest. If any of that information has changed, or if you want the 2018 contest based on a different email address, simply update the email address and any other fields needing new information.
  • To put yourself into the contest, click Member.
  • Choose Nebraska from the list of state names
  • Finish filling out or making changes to the Entrant Form.
  • At the end of the form, enter a username and password. Write them down. Keep them simple and know that the username and password a) are case sensitive; b) can be the same username and password you used last year; c) can be identical: you could use your initials or something easy to remember; and d) you can retrieve them through the contest system (or me) if you forget them.
  • Check that you agree to the rules (there is a link to the rules beside the checkbox you may click to read them first).
  • SAVE the Entrant Form (click SAVE button at top or bottom of page).

NAVIGATING THE CONTEST SITE: Anytime you enter the site to submit an entry or to review work you already have entered, type in the username and password, and from the navigation bar that is always visible at the top of the contest page, choose one of the following:

  • ADD ENTRY to get the electronic Entry Form. Read the directions (in red) at the top of the ENTRY FORM (this form is about a specific entry). You will click Add Entry to get a new auto-filled form for each entry. You will see 5 tabs along the top of the form. You MUST click each tab (except for Hard-copy Entries, unless you will be entering a book in hard-copy format) to complete the entry process. Click Add Entry to get a new entry form for each separate entry.
  • VIEW/EDIT ENTRIES to see what you have entered, or to make changes to any of your entries (click the title of the entry to go directly to the Entry Form for that entry, and later on to submit the completed entry. Entries are not official until they have been submitted and paid for.
  • PAY NOW to pay for your entries. If you will be entering work into the contest over time, you do not need to pay until you have submitted all of your entries. To avoid the $25 late fee, be sure to submit and pay for all entries by Jan. 23. You may pay by credit card or by check (instructions as to where to send the check are on the Pay Now page).
  • GET HELP to find answers to questions or get help in entering the contest. Click the FAQ or Contact Us tabs on the contest navigation bar.


For any other questions, call or email the state contest directors:  Terri Hahn: 402-747-4191 or Mary Jane Skala.

Take your time exploring the website and entering your work. You can insert an entry and save it without submitting it. That will give you the opportunity to look it over and make any changes as long as you SUBMIT all your entries by the deadline.



____ PAY 2018 DUES. MUST BE RECEIVED BY Jan. 23, 2018.
Combination NFPW/NPW dues: $100 for professionals, $40 for retired, $35 for students, mail to NFPW Membership Dept., PO Box 3007, Mechanicsville, VA 23116 or pay online.

NPW-only dues: professionals $30, retired and students $15; mail to Lori Potter, NPW Treasurer, P.O. Box 1988 Kearney, NE 68848 or pay online at under Join. Do NOT send dues to the contest director.

First place winners in the state contest will advance to national only if entrant is a member of both NPW and NFPW by Jan. 23, 2018.

____ GET CATEGORIES LIST. View the  2018 Category List  Entries MUST be work done in 2017.

1. Some entries require one story or one-day package; some (e.g., special articles, columns) require two stories; and some (series) have a maximum. Some (e.g., PR) require attached project explanation letters. The online form will have room for everything needed in your entry.
2. If there is no byline, photo credit, design-editing credit or publication date on your digital file, attach a supervisor’s note confirming your work and the date. This can be a word processing file or it can be scanned as a jpg.
3. Read the category descriptions, instructions and numbering system carefully.

____ ONE ENTRY PER PERSON, PER CATEGORY OR SUBCATEGORY. Co-entrants are allowed. Only one of the entrants will submit the entry. After filling out the entry information, click on the co-entrant tab and add that person’s information.

____ EACH STORY, PHOTO OR PAGE DESIGN CAN BE ENTERED ONLY ONCE. For example, a photo entered as a single feature photo can’t be part of a photo page entry. However, a story, photo and design from a single page can be entered in writing, photo and design-editing categories.

____  MAKE SURE THE DATE AND PUBLICATION ARE ON SCANNED ENTRIES. If you are scanning only a portion of a page, put something with the publication name and date on the area that will be scanned.

____ ASSEMBLE A FOLDER WITH ALL THE FILES YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR ENTRIES. Each file you upload must have a name that associates it with the category you are entering (e.g. 01A NEWS Near-record year for rainfall.docx). The directions for this are on the home page of the contest website.


____ ENTRIES CAN BE CHANGED UNTIL YOU CLICK SUBMIT. When working on an entry, you can click SAVE, but that doesn’t submit it. You must click the VIEW ENTRIES tab and then click SUBMIT on EACH entry line in order to submit it.