2017 NAAJ Writing Contest

Start compiling your best work from this year in a folder on your computer desktop. It’s NAAJ contest time again!

Contest entries must be published during calendar year 2016 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31).  The deadline for all entries is Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.

Contest categories are unchanged: News, Spot News, Features, Series, Columns, Editorials, Best Blog and Special Projects. There also is a Student category. See below for detailed descriptions of each category.

The $10 fee per entry for members is unchanged. The fee for non-members also is unchanged at $75 (the same cost of becoming a member).

As usual, winners will be announced as the category judges turn in their results between mid-February and the March 12 judging deadline. The awards will be presented at an April 24 dinner at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., during NAAJ’s annual spring meeting April 23-25, 2017. Contact NAAJ executive secretary-treasurer Kathleen Phillips (979-845-2872 or ka-phillips@tamu.edu ) for membership and meeting information.

Below are directions for preparing and submitting entries. If you have contest questions, please contact contest coordinator David Hendee at 402-444-1127, or david.hendee@owh.com.

For more information about NAAJ, go to www.naaj.net

Again this year, entries to the NAAJ writing contest will be submitted using BetterBNC Media Awards Platform. The entry process is unchanged from last year

IMPORTANT: BetterBNC is optimized for the Google Chrome browser; and Firefox for PC and Macintosh/Apple. Please have a recent version downloaded and installed for the best contest experience.

How to start:

  1. Login.

a. Go to www.betterbnc.com.

b. Click contestant login

c. Select the appropriate contestant type:

1. If you are the single point of contact for your organization, select Contestant Manager, then skip to “d. Contestant Manager Login”.

2. If you have received an email authorizing you to submit entries on behalf of your media organization, select “Authorized Entrant” on the log in page, then skip to “e. Authorized Entrant Login” below

3. If you are an individual submitting your own entries (including nonmembers and freelancers), please see the “Open Call Contestant Only” instructions below

d. Contestant Manager Login:

  1. Select the contest you would like to enter
  1. Select your Media Organization
  1. Enter your password**
  1. Click “Login”

**Note: If it is your first time logging into your account, use the temporary password: bnc(lower case). After you log in using that temporary password, the system will require you to update your password. Going forward (including future years) you will log in with the password you set. If the designated Contestant Manager should leave your media organization, please contact your Contest Administrator to have the contact info in your account updated.

e. Authorized Entrant Login:

  1. Select the contest you would like to enter
  1. Select your Media Organization
  1. Enter your email address
  1. Enter your password
  1. Click “Login”

f. Open Call Login:

  1. Click “Open Call Login” in the blue bar at the top of the page
  1. If you already have an Open Call Contestant account, enter your email address and password, then click “Login” and skip to section “g.

Request to make entries in a contest” below

  1. If you do not already have an Open Call Contestant account, click

“Create your Open Call account”

  1. Fill out the form
  1. Click “Submit” at the bottom of the page

Once you fill out the form to create your Open Call Contestant account, the system will send you a validation email with a link that must be clicked before you can log into your account.

g. Request to make entries in a contest (Open Call Only):

  1. Hover over the red “Open Call Contestant” text in the blue bar at the top of the page
  1. Select “My Contests” in the menu that appears
  1. In the “Available Contests” section, check the box next to the contest you would like to enter
  1. Hover over the red “Open Call Contestant” text again
  1. Select “Manage Entries”


2.Submit Entries

a. Click “Submit Entry” from the Manage Entries page

b. Select a Division (group of Categories)

c. Select a Category

d. Select the Media Organization where the entry was published or performed

(Open Call Only)

e. Enter the entry headline or title

f. Add entry content (may vary by category)

  1. To upload digital file attachments (other than audio/video), click “Browse”, navigate to the desired file, and then click “Open”. Allowed file types are PDF, DOC/DOCX, TXT, JPG, GIF, and PNG. To upload additional attachments to a single entry, click the “Browse and Attach More Files” button. BetterBNC will allow up to about a 20MB file, however, we suggest keeping your files around 5MB in case the judges have a slow connection. For files larger than 20MB, you can click the “RealView” icon on the Submit Entry page to create a free account, upload your files, and then copy and paste the URL into the URL field on the Submit Entry page. You may also use a similar 3rd-party website that provides hosting services (scribd.com, issuu.com, etc.)
  1. To add web/audio/video content, copy and paste the content’s URL address into the provided Website URL field. To host your content online, either upload it to a free streaming content website (e.g.YouTube) or talk to your IT person about adding it to your publication’s website. Make sure the content will be accessible online throughout the duration of the contest and awards process.Here are some examples of free streaming content websites where you can upload audio and video content:

a. Audio: www.kiwi6.com, www.tindeck.com

b. Video: www.youtube.com, www.vimeo.com

  1. IMPORTANT: Please be sure that items are not behind a paywall or a password-protected area. If they are, you must provide username/password info in the Comments section of your entry.Judges may disqualify your entry if work samples are inaccessible.

g. Add Comments

h. Enter Credits

i. Click “Submit Entry”

  1. Pay for Entries

a. When all entries are submitted log into your account

b. Navigate to the Manage Entries page

c. Click “Calculate Entry Fees”

d. Follow the on-screen instructions to pay for your entries


NAAJ Contest Categories

News: Informs readers about a timely, important, interesting agricultural issue or event in an objective, thorough manner.

Spot News: Covers breaking news–news that is time-sensitive and written under tight deadline. Entries in this category would include (but not be limited to) stories written for wire services and the Internet. A statement of 100 words or less describing the conditions under which the story was written and/or the time significance of the story MUST accompany entries in the spot news category.

Feature: Takes a broader or more human look at an important or interesting agricultural issue, event or experience. It may be longer and more in-depth than a news story. This category includes human interest and technical articles.

Series: Contains multiple stories focused on an agricultural issue or event. The series objectively explores the subject in great depth from various points of view.

Column: Allows the writer to express personal observations, humor or feelings on a topic. Include three selected examples to submit as a single entry.

Editorial: Requires the writer to build arguments on fact and logic to address a certain issue. An editorial should state a position and convince the reader of the need for action. Include three selected examples to submit as a single entry.

Best Blog: Can be on any agricultural topic posted by one writer and updated regularly. A blog can include various writing styles to share the writer’s insight and expertise, but should encourage audience reaction. Blogs must have appeared on a media website or standalone, and were first online rather than in a publication. Blogs generally have features such as reader feedback and links to other sites. Include three examples of blog posts, along with any reader comments, to submit as a single entry.

Special Projects: Takes reporting to a higher level. The overall entry shows careful planning and enterprise. The entry also shows that time, talent, and in some cases, monetary commitments were made to produce the project. May be a team effort.

Student: There are no sub-categories for students. Each student may submit up to two entries, published in 2016 in a student publication or a publication that would have employees eligible for NAAJ membership.


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