Changes proposed for Better Newspaper Contest

The Maine Press Association Contest eligibility year comes to a close on March 31. Rules packages and entry forms will be sent out shortly after that.

At the MPA board meeting on Feb. 23, several changes were proposed. No categories were added for this year, although the trend of combining some weekly categories and the daily/weekend categories continues.

One proposed change is that the “Advertising layout” category would become Advertising Excellence and based on a paper’s complete advertising presentation. It would be elevated to a Special Award and announced at the end of the awards ceremony with overall General Excellence.

This year, the only categories to be judged separately based on circulation in the weekly divisions (Weekly 1 and Weekly 2) would be General Excellence, Advertising Excellence, editorial page, news story and feature story. All other categories would be combined.

In acknowledgement that weekend papers no longer have independent staffs, there would not be separate writing, design and photography categories for daily and weekend papers. Weekend and daily papers would remain separate for consideration only in the General Excellence and Advertising Excellence categories.

Stories, photos and advertisements that appear in the weekend editions, like those that appear online, would still be eligible for entry in all regular categories.

Photo entries would still be made via Troy Bennett’s upload site, with the exception of picture story. That category, which involves multiple photo submissions, would be judged based on tear sheets and considered a design category, as the total package’s presentation to readers would be considered by the judges.

The board plans a final vote on these proposals at its meeting March 22. The MPA welcomes members’ comments, concerns or suggestions for additional changes, which can be sent to