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2019 WNAF Better Newspaper Contest

Recognizing the best journalism and advertising in Wisconsin

Rules & deadline

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

All entries must have published between Sept. 1, 2018, and Aug. 31, 2019.

2019 Updates

In order to ease the burden on judges, we are strongly encouraging the use of PDFs whenever possible. Certain categories have also been put on the “endangered” list.

Read about all 2019 updates here.

Contest entry portal

Submissions to the 2019 WNAF Better Newspaper Contest can be made at

Newspapers compete in the circulation division that corresponds to their 2017 Statement of Ownership. If you believe you are in the incorrect circulation category — or you don’t see your organization listed, please contact us.

  1. After going to the contest portal website, select your organization from the dropdown and enter your password.

    If you didn’t create a password last year, but are a contestant manager, your password is “bnc.”

  2. After logging in for the first time, create your new password and confirm your email.

    If you haven’t previously entered a contestant manager’s email, this will default to the publisher’s email address.

  3. Submit your first two entries.

  4. Upon submitting your second entry, you will be logged out of the site. 

    Check your inbox for a confirmation email. After confirming your email, you may add additional “authorized entrants” who may submit entries on the newspaper’s behalf. (See more about this in the Contestant Manager User Guide. Authorized entrants can learn about setting up their account in the Authorized Entrant User Guide.)

Online contest display

The contest display is no longer just available during the convention. Access award-winning stories, photos, graphics and advertising entries year-round.

Entries in the online gallery are divided by category, then circulation group. Each entry is displayed with all assets that were uploaded with the entry.

The 2018 WNAF Better Newspaper Contest featured 2,799 entries from 121 newspapers and was judged by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

Looking for the judges’ comments? Download the 2018 WNAF Better Newspaper Contest Tab, which includes all awards and the judges’ comments.

Contest display

Fees & payment

There is a $10 entry fee for each entry. Please send a check with any mail-in entries or complete credit card payment on or before the contest deadline. Make checks payable to the WNA Foundation. Please follow these instructions when submitting payment:

  1. After you’ve submitted all entries, choose the “Select Allbox under “Select Entries to Pay.”

  2. Select Pay by Check or Pay by Card.

  3. If you require an invoice, select “Pay by Check” option and type “INVOICE” in the check number box.

WNAF Contest FAQ

Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. Don’t see your question? Contact WNA Membership & Program Specialist Jordan Schelling.

Newspapers compete in the circulation division that corresponds to their 2017 Statement of Ownership. If you believe you are in the incorrect circulation category or you don’t see your organization listed, please contact us.

Some categories require full-page digital tear sheets. Access instructions for working with PDFs here. Having other PDF-related issues? Learn more about working with PDFs here.

Contact WNA Media Services Director Denise Guttery for access to your digital archive.

The entry limit should be considered the maximum number of entries that an individual’s name can appear within. (Even if an entry is comprised of five stories all written by the same individual, it still only constitutes a single entry.)

Yes, on occasion. There may be a story that is part of another entry or would qualify for more than one category. Unless the category instructions prohibit entry in multiple or specific other categories (example: Category 13 – Breaking News), entries may overlap. That being said, they must fit the criteria for both categories.

This depends on who the section’s target audience is.

  • If it has general appeal across your newspaper’s readership, it should be entered in Category 51, Best Special Section (Advertising). 
  • If it targets a more specific, niche audience instead (like mothers, hunters, tourists, automobile enthusiasts or people looking to buy a home), it should be entered in either Category 59 or 60. 
  • If it was only published once during a one-year period, it belongs in Category 59, Best Annual Niche Publication. 
  • If it publishes at least two times per year, it belongs in Category 60, Best Ongoing Niche Publication.

This is the number of PDF uploaded or URLs submitted.

In an effort to make the process slightly less tedious for judges, this year’s rules require all stories appear as single PDFs. So, in this case, there should be three 2-page PDFs included as attachments.

Still not sure? Contact WNA Membership & Program Specialist Jordan Schelling.