Better Newspaper Contest portal now open

Start gathering your best work of the last year, because the 2019 Better Newspaper Contest portal is now open!

Contestant managers and newspaper members will receive this year’s rules and categories via email. They have also been posted to the WNA website, as well as the contest website.

This year’s deadline to submit entries is Monday, Oct. 21. Hard-copy entries must be postmarked by Oct. 18.

Changes to this year’s contest include the elimination of one advertising category, the addition of categories with low entry totals being placed “on the bubble” and an added emphasis on judges’ preference for PDFs over URLs.

The entry publication period is Sept. 1, 2018, through Aug. 31, 2019, and winners will be recognized at the WNA Better Newspaper Contest Awards Banquet on March 20, 2020, at The Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee.

Category changes

The Better Newspaper Contest committee approved two changes to this year’s category lineup. Due to low entry totals, the Innovative Online Advertising category has been eliminated.

On the editorial side, there is just one small change, to the entry requirements for the “Rookie” Reporter of the Year category. To encourage more participation in the category, the number of work samples required from entrants has been reduced from five to three.

‘On the bubble’

In reviewing the number of entries in 2018, the Better Newspaper Contest committee noticed a number of categories just above the threshold that would make them candidates for elimination. With that in mind, the following categories have placed “on the bubble.”

If the categories do not receive greater entry totals in the 2019 contest, they will be placed up for elimination consideration during the 2020 contest committee meeting.

Daily Categories

  • Community Service/Engagement Award
  • Feature/Lifestyle Section
  • Special Pages
  • “Rookie” Reporter of the Year
  • Local Outdoor Column
  • Page Design – Sports
  • Best Grocery Ad
  • Best Real Estate Ad
  • Best Use of Humor
  • Best Newspaper Promotion

Weekly Categories

  • Feature/Lifestyle Section
  • Open Records/FOI Award
  • “Rookie” Reporter of the Year

Judges prefer PDFs

When submitting entries in the Better Newspaper Contest, it’s important to remember the workload of our judges. With this in mind, we are encouraging members to use PDFs whenever possible, as we’ve received increasingly negative feedback from judges about their experience with entries submitted via URL.

Navigating paywalls, Google surveys and broken links can make judging into a tedious process.

You may be thinking, “what if my entry was never published in print?” Don’t worry, you can still submit online-only entries as PDFs.

Print to PDF

  1. Open your story in your web browser and click “Print.”

    This is typically located within the upper right-hand side settings area of your window.

  2. Select “Save to PDF.”

    Choose this option from the “Destination” dropdown. (Depending on your browser, your print dialog box might instead require you to select “Adobe PDF” from the printer menu.)

    2019 better newspaper contest, pdfs

  3. Save your file.

    Name your file, select where you’d like to save it and click “Save.”

Google Chrome extension

Another option for saving online stories to PDF is to use the Chrome Extension “Full Page Screen Capture,” which allows users to save a screen capture of the entire browser window as a PDF with the click of a button.

Multimedia elements

Of course, not all online-only entries should be submitted as PDFs. If there are digital elements such as videos or photo galleries that enhance your entry, submit it as a URL.

Our hope is not to eliminate URLs from all entries, but rather decrease the number of entries submitted via URL in order to simplify the judging experience.

If you have any questions about submitting online stories as PDFs — or anything else contest-related — please contact WNA Membership & Programming Specialist Jordan Schelling at or 608-283-7624.