Call for Entries: The 2007 AltWeekly Awards Contest

Following a record number of entries in 2006, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ AltWeekly Awards contest has expanded once again, with four new categories added for the 2007 competition.

Three of the new categories focus on the Web. The AAN Editorial Committee, recognizing the growing importance of online publishing, split last year’s single online category, Web Site, into three separate competitions: Blog, Web Site Content Feature and Web Site Design.

Also new to this year’s contest is a single ad-design category, Self-Promotional House Ad or Ad Campaign. This new competition, which was requested by the Design and Production Committee, is the first ad-design category AAN has hosted since the Advertising and Marketing Awards were discontinued several years ago.

The 2007 Wild Card category is Immigration. A new Wild Card category is chosen at random each year by the AAN staff, from among a dozen different topics selected in advance by the Editorial Committee.

A PDF of the contest rules can downloaded here.

As in previous years, competition in each category is separated into two divisions based on circulation figures. This year the circulation cut-off has increased from 50,000 to 60,000.

Entry fees have increased by $10 for all categories except cartoons, bringing them back to the level they were at in 2000. For larger papers (circulation of 60,000 and over), the fee is once again $35 per entry, and for smaller papers (circulation under 60,000), the entry fee is back to $25 per entry. The entry fee for cartoons remains unchanged at $25.

Like last year’s contest, member papers must complete an online form for each entry. The contest Web site opened on Friday, Dec. 22, 2006, and will close on the contest deadline, Friday, Feb. 2, 2007.

Each member paper will be assigned a single username and password, which may be shared by several people at the paper. If your paper entered the contest in 2006, you must use the same username and password this year to enter the contest site. (The username is the e-mail address for the representative from your paper who registered on the site. If you can’t recall your password, just enter that e-mail address in the appropriate field to request that the password be e-mailed to you. If you can’t remember the username or password, contact the contest administrator at or 202/289-8484.)

If two or more employees at a paper are responsible for submitting entries, they should stagger their work to avoid being logged onto the contest site simultaneously.

In the writing and reporting categories, contest entrants have the option of submitting PDFs through the contest Web site, instead of mailing tearsheets. For those entrants who need help creating PDF files, here’s some information to get you started. You’ll need a program like the full Adobe Acrobat, or you could try a shareware program like Pdf995. Adobe also has an online conversion service, which allows you to convert up to five documents on a free trial. Simple instructions on how to save a file as a PDF with Adobe Acrobat can be found here.

It’s really important to reduce the size of your PDFs in order to speed up the uploading and downloading process and to make it easier for judges to print out entries. You can do this by removing all ads and extraneous articles on the pages that are not part of the entry, and using only the low-resolution version of art and photos. But be sure you don’t remove the name of the newspaper, date and page numbers.

You can also reduce file size by using functions within PDF creation programs. Here are some links to assist you:

Create Adobe PDF Online
PDF995 (Scroll down to the question “How can I configure PDF995 to create PDFs with reduced file size?”)
PDF Writer

If you have a file that’s over 5 MB (megabytes), you either need to reduce its size to below 5 MB and re-upload the file at the smaller size to the contest site, or mail in six full-sized copies of the article to the AAN office as a supplement to the uploaded version. If you try to upload a file of more than 5 MB, it will be rejected.

A careful reading of the rules should resolve most questions about how to prepare entries. Further questions can be addressed to the contest administrator at contests at or 202/289-8484.