NPW 2019 Communications Contest Rules

The final deadline for the 2019 contest was Jan. 22, 2019.

While the contest is not now open, the following provides information on the conference in general. Watch for information on the 2020 contest in the late fall. It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s contest entries.

2019 entry fees: $15 for the first entry, $7 each additional entry. After Jan. 9, the entry fee was $40 for the first entry and $7 for each subsequent entry.

STATE AWARDS will be presented at the NPW spring convention on Saturday, April 27, 2019, in Broken Bow. NATIONAL AWARDS will be presented during the NFPW conference June 27 – 29, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La.

ELIGIBILITY: Anyone who is a member of Nebraska Press Women is eligible to enter. Dues MUST be paid by Jan. 9, 2019, in order to be eligible to enter the contest. Nonmembers are invited to join NPW before Jan. 9 to enter. Join now!

Work published from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, 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 2019 NFPW membership dues have been paid. Winners will be announced at the NPW spring conference in Broken Bow. 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 2019 NPW competition through the Communications Contest page of the NFPW website. Or, go to and click on Professional Contest under the Events page. Or, access the direct link to enter the contest.

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

What you need to know to enter:

The online contest is live now, so you can start entering. Don’t worry that if you write a better article on Dec. 31. You can change your entry and add more entries later. Nothing is final until you hit “submit.”

Deadlines are earlier than in the past. The early-bird deadline is Jan. 9 and the final deadline (with a $25 late fee added to your first entry) is Jan. 22. No entries will be allowed after this date.

Entry fees must be paid online.

To get started, take a close look at the contest categories as found on the NFPW website. There have been some changes in categories and entry requirements from last year. For example, four news writing categories have been merged into one, and the number of specialty articles required has been reduced from two examples per entry to just one. The same holds true for other categories BUT some categories still require two. You’ll have to read through these very carefully to make sure you get it correct. The specialty articles category has also been reorganized. Fashion and home, for example, have been merged into Style. There are other changes as well, so just be careful.

Also, while looking at the categories, take a look at the Web and Social Media division. There have been lots of new categories added here, so you might be able to enter something you wouldn’t have been able to before. While you’re there, make note of the categories you might consider entering.

With these category changes, comes another big change for NPW: For the first time, entrants will be allowed TWO entries per category.  It doesn’t matter how many examples a category requires, you’ll still be able to submit two entries. For example, columns still require two samples per entry; that means you can submit four columns over two entries. Specialty articles require just ONE sample, so you can enter two stories total.

Important note: When uploading your entries — and you’re adding a second entry — make sure you start a whole new entry. DO NOT upload four columns as one entry; separate them and upload TWO samples in TWO separate entries. Follow this procedure for every category. If you don’t, chances are the entire entry will be disqualified.

And finally, your dues must be paid by the early bird deadline. NPW/NFPW dues are $102 and must be paid through the national office (it can be done online). State-only dues are $30 and should be mailed to Lori Potter, Kearney Hub, P.O. Box 1988, Kearney, NE 68847. Dues paid now will carry over to 2019.

If you’re looking at the contest information on the NFPW website, you will see a note that says “Entrants from Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota must be NFPW members to enter.” You do not have to be an NFPW member to enter the state contest, but you must be an NPW member. Some states allow non-members to enter, NPW does not.

However, if you have never been a member of NFPW and choose to be a state-only member for now, you are eligible for a one-time “upgrade” should you have an entry that earns a first-place award at the state level and you want it to move on to the national contest.

Winners in the state contest will have until Feb. 24 to become NFPW members and move their entries to the national level contest. National level judging will begin Feb. 25.

If you have any questions about the contest (apart from technical issues), call or email the state contest directors:  Terri Hahn: 402-747-4191 or Mary Jane Skala. If you have problems uploading your entries, email Michele Cook at the NFPW office.

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.


2019 CHECKLIST: (2020 information will be available in the late fall)

____ PAY 2019 DUES. MUST BE RECEIVED BY Jan. 9, 2019.
Combination NFPW/NPW dues: $102 for professionals or $40 for retired; 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 Feb. 24, 2019.

____ GET CATEGORIES LIST. View the  2019 category list.  Entries MUST be work done in 2018.

1. Some entries require one story or one-day package; some 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.

____ TWO ENTRIES PER PERSON, PER CATEGORY OR SUBCATEGORY ARE ALLOWED. 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.