Excellence Awards Entry Categories

The Excellence Awards serve to recognize the passion, commitment, skills and creativity of all aspects and forms of publishing in Minnesota and with our members. In recognition of the outstanding talent in our community, as well as the continued evolution of the industry, new award categories have been added. Up to 249 awards will be presented at our Excellence Awards Program in November. Below are the criteria and submission requirements.

*Note, you must first select the correct publication division for the publication: General Interest, Special Interest, Business/Trade, or Education/Association publication. Failure to submit in the correct publication division, circulation grouping, and/or failure to include required information may result in disqualification. Unless otherwise stated, submission is open to both members and non-members of MMPA.

Your company must use the new digital entry system to submit all entries (Note: some categories require physical copies). Please review the entry information below and start gathering your materials together now.

IMPORTANT: Before entering, be sure you have all necessary materials at hand; see individual entries for materials that are required.

·         All entries must have a cover date between July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

·         Please read each category description carefully; it will tell you what materials to submit.

·         Every entry requires a representative PDF image and one JPG of the entry that may be used in the PowerPoint presentation at the gala. For example, depending on the entry, this might show a magazine cover, an inside page or spread, or a screenshot.

·         In addition, many entries require a PDF of the entry materials — for example, a complete feature article. See individual categories for information. These will be used by the judges to evaluate your entries. These should generally have an 8.5" x 11" format.

·         Some entries require physical copies to be mailed to the MMPA office. The categories requiring physical copies are: OVERALL EXCELLENCE, DIRECTORY, and SINGLE-TOPIC ISSUE, SPECIAL SECTION OR SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT.

·         Every entry requires a brief editorial profile describing the publication’s editorial goals or mission as well as its audience. The judges rely on accurate descriptions to evaluate how well entries meet the publication’s goals.

·         Every entry also needs identifying information, such as complete article titles and issue/publication dates.

Entry Fees

o   Early bird entry fees (April 29-May 14): $75 per entry for MMPA members and $130 per entry for non-members.

o   Regular rate fees (May 15 to July 12): $85 per entry for MMPA members and $150 per entry for nonmembers.

To complete your entry process, you'll need to submit immediate payment by credit card or you can request to have an invoice generated if you prefer to pay by check. Please contact the MMPA office (office@mmpa.net) for any questions regarding payment or invoices at 952-564-3052.

NOTE: MMPA reserves the right to change an entry’s category, disqualify any inappropriate or incorrectly submitted entry and eliminate categories as deemed necessary. Entry fees for disqualified entries will not be refunded. MMPA also reserves the right not to award a prize in every category. Publications that won at least one MMPA award will be notified by October 8, 2018 (although they won’t be told if they’ve won Gold, Silver or Bronze).  A $50 administrative fee will be applied to any refunds processed.

There are five different categories for entries:

  1. Outstanding Performance – New for 2019!

  2. General Categories

  3. Editorial Categories

  4. Design Categories

  5. Digital Media Categories


Outstanding Performance

Magazine of the Year - New selection process for 2019

One award winner, up to six finalists

Eligibility:

  1. MMPA Members only

  2. Must win Gold in Overall Excellence for your publication division 

 Selection Method: Non-Member Panel

No entry submission required. Nominees will be the Gold winners in Overall Excellence category.

Best in Show - New for 2019

One award winner

Eligibility: All publications are automatically entered for Best in Show. 

Selection Method: The publication that compiles the highest total score across all submissions wins Best in Show. Increased submission will increase chances to compile the highest total score.

No entry submission required. Nominees will be publications that compile highest total across submissions.

Rising Star - New for 2019

One award winner, up to three finalists

This new award celebrates a professional new to the industry who is achieving a successful career within the media and publishing industry, has made innovative contributions to their company/project(s) and has distinguished themselves within the industry.   

Eligibility: Must be an employee of a MMPA member company under the age of 35 who has been working in the industry for at least two years but no longer than within five years of the submission deadline. The nominee must be nominated by two individuals, one of whom must be the Lead Nominator. Self-nomination is not permitted. Current MMPA board members, IntrinXec staff and/or contracted suppliers of MMPA are not eligible for this award.

Selection Method: The MMPA board will select the Rising Star recipient. MMPA reserves the right to not award in any given year.

Submission: Nominators must complete the Nomination form and adhere to the additionally specified rules.

No entry fee required; however, the entry form must be filled out via the online entry system.

Editor of the Year – New for 2019

One award winner, up to three finalists

This award will recognize an individual who has consistently demonstrated superior editorial know-how and leadership. The jury will be looking for evidence of outstanding editorial talent and quality, commitment, market knowledge, innovation, commercial savvy, relevance to audience, and impact to the brand or industry in the submissions of original work. 

Eligibility: Must be an employee with a title of “Editor” of an MMPA member company. Submissions are welcome from any magazine or digital section, managing, or senior editor/editorial director.

The features/sections can be within a title or it can be a ‘special’, supplement or project. Should you wish to enter more than one person for this category a separate entry should be submitted for each person.

Selection Method: Non-member Panel

Submission:

Editors should submit files for three separate pieces of work.

Please submit a supporting statement of no more than 500 words (please include a word count - PDF format).

Key points to address might be:

  1. Who is your audience?

  2. How your brand fits into the marketplace

  3. What your brand objectives are and how you have met them

  4. The key things you have done to improve, change or consistently maintain your title

  5. How you have made use of your resources

  6. How have your contributions impacted the Minnesota publishing industry?

Note: The publication’s/website’s most senior editor must sign the supporting statement on behalf of their nominated individual but may not be listed as the entrant.  Senior editors and editorial directors must have their publisher/president sign the supporting statement on their behalf.

Judging Criteria

  1. Demonstrated superior editing skills

  2. Market knowledge

  3. Innovation

  4. Relevance of work to audience

  5. Impact to brand and/or industry as demonstrated by work

Designer of the Year – New for 2019

One award winner, up to three finalists

This award will recognize an individual who has demonstrated consistently brilliant print or digital design. Submissions should clearly explain how the designer’s work has contributed to the magazine’s or digital title’s success, paying attention to any innovations. For digital titles, judges will also be looking for brilliant design and ease of navigation created by a person whose designs cannot be and are not replicated in print.

Eligibility: Must be an employee of a MMPA member company. Submissions are welcome from any magazine or digital designer, art director, or senior art director/creative director.

The features/sections can be within a title or it can be a ‘special’, supplement or project. Should you wish to enter more than one person for this category a separate entry should be submitted for each person.

Selection Method: Non-member Panel

Submission:

  1. Please submit a supporting statement of 300 or less words (PDF format). Please include a word count.

  2. Submissions must include PDF files for three separate pieces of published work on behalf of the designer being entered for this award.

  3. For digital titles, please submit links to three separate pieces of online work in the form of a screen grab of each one on behalf of the designer being put forward. 

Judging Criteria:

  1. Quality of design

  2. Innovation and originality

  3. Creative vision

  4. Relevance to audience

Note: The most senior member of the Art Team (Art Director/Creative Director/Editor/Publisher) must sign the supporting statement on behalf of their nominated individual, but may not be listed as the entrant. Art Directors or Creative Directors must have their Editor or Publisher sign the supporting statement.

Contributor of the Year - New for 2019

One award winner, up to three finalists

Judges will be looking for creative flair, quality and originality of an individual who has produced content for a brand appropriate to the magazine’s readership or online audience.

Eligibility: This award is open to both MMPA members and non-members.  Only freelance/contract writers, designers, contributing editors, photographers, stylists are eligible to submit (cannot be PTE or FTE of a publishing company). If you choose to enter more than one person for this category a separate entry should be submitted for each person.

Selection Method: Member Panel

Submission:

  1. Please submit a supporting statement of 300 words or less (PDF format). Please include a word count. The magazine editor or most sr. creative art director must sign the supporting statement

  2. Entrants files submitted must be for three separate pieces of work which should be as varied as possible (PDF format).

Judging Criteria:

  1. Quality of contribution(s)

  2. Innovation and originality

  3. Creative vision

  4. Relevance to audience


General Categories

Entries in the general categories will be judged for their combined editorial and design qualities, including editing/writing/reporting, layout and design, organization, and value to audience. See specific categories for additional criteria.

Overall Excellence

Up to six Gold Awards (one in each of the publication divisions and circulation groupings)

Criteria: This entry must present a strong and consistent publication package. The publication must demonstrate that it is targeted to the audience it serves and that it fulfills its mission. It must be written clearly and authoritatively. The content-driven design must be clean and consistent.

Limitations: This category may only be entered once by each publication.

Submission: Six (6) physical copies of three different complete issues. One PDF representation of entry AND full-color JPG/PNG for use in awards presentation. Click here to see an example of submission.

Single-Topic Issue, Special Section, or Special Supplement

Up to six Gold Awards (one in each of the publication divisions and circulation groupings)

Criteria: A single-topic issue is one in which at least 50 percent of the issue’s editorial content is a clearly defined and labeled editorial-driven single topic.

A special section is an editorial-driven, clearly defined and labeled consecutive group of articles and related material (sidebars, callouts, etc.) of any length focusing on a single topic.

A special supplement is a separately published, editorial-driven single-topic publication packaged or mailed with a regular issue.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Note: No advertising special sections or “advertorials” will be accepted. 

Submission: Three physical copies of the single-topic issue, three copies of the complete issue in which the special section appears or three copies of the special supplement, including the issue it accompanied. One PDF representation of entry AND full-color JPG/PNG for use in awards presentation.

 Directory

One Gold Award, up to three finalists 

Criteria: This entry is for an annual supplement that is a directory of suppliers, entertainment venues or members, or another list pertinent to the parent publication’s mission and audience. A directory may be either a stand-alone supplement or an issue in which the directory comprises at least 50 percent of the editorial content. Judges will consider attractiveness of design and layout, ease of use, consistency of presentation and clarity of information.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: Three physical copies of the directory or three copies of the complete issue in which the directory appears. One PDF representation of entry AND full-color JPG/PNG for use in awards presentation.

Use of Data Visualization/Infographic

One Gold Award, up to three finalists 

Criteria: This entry will demonstrate skillful design that tells a data-driven story, summarizing a more complex concept using any combination of photos, video or text in a single cohesive graphic presentation. Print and digital visuals and/or infographics accepted.

Limitations: Publishers may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: Link or screenshot to source where infographic was displayed, or PDF and JPG of print version.

Multi-Media Storytelling

One Gold Award, up to three finalists 

Criteria: This entry is for a single subject-related package that includes any combination of the following: text articles, blogs, columns, videos, graphics/infographics, social media posts, photos, photo galleries, podcasts, webinars. Packages must clearly reflect a single cohesive editorial subject with all elements published in the same time period. Entries will be judged on the clarity and effectiveness of the cross-platform integration as well as the quality of the content.

Limitations: Do not enter a subject-related series published over successive issues or an extended time period.

Note: This category has only two circulation classifications: over 60,000 and under 60,000.

Submission: Any examples of text articles, blogs, columns, videos, graphics/infographics, social media posts, photos, photo galleries, podcasts, webinars that support one subject matter. One PDF representation of entry AND full-color JPG/PNG for use in awards presentation.

Best Content Marketing Project – New 2019

One Gold Award, up to three finalists 

A best of class content marketing program and custom content piece/body of work created by a publisher or content publisher exclusively for a client and must be a non-company (or publisher) owned title. To be evaluated on originality, creativity and client satisfaction/program results.

Submission:

  1. Describe the communication objective.

  2. Provide details and statistics as to how the client’s objectives were fulfilled.

  3. Use examples of creative marketing strategies.

  4. Document the impact and results of the content using internal or external, non-confidential metrics.

Judging Criteria:


Editorial Categories

Up to six Gold Awards for each of the below categories (one gold in each of the publication divisions and circulation groupings). Entries in the editorial categories will be judged primarily on the quality of the reporting, writing, and editing; development of the subject; and suitability and service to the audience. Presentation will play a factor. See specific categories for additional criteria.

Print or Online Feature Article

Criteria: This entry is a feature story, unique to the publication in which it appears, that treats a subject, idea, event or trend with imagination, originality and stylish writing.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Note: Do not submit profile articles in this category.

Submission: PDF of one article per entry.

Print or Online Profile Article

Criteria: This entry is a feature article that profiles an individual, organization, company or other entity pertinent to the publication’s area of interest. Article should bring the subject to life with depth, originality and stylish writing.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: PDF of one article per entry. 

Editor's or Publisher's Editorial or Letter To The Readers

Criteria: This entry is a single editor's or publisher's editorial or letter to the readers that demonstrates intelligence, wit (where appropriate), stylish writing and connection to the readers on a topic pertinent to the publication's mission.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: PDF of one letter or editorial per entry.

Print or Online Regular Column

Criteria: This entry is a short feature that appears with predictable frequency and that comments on or interprets issues of interest to the publication’s audience. The column or blog should incorporate strong reporting, commentary or criticism and demonstrate intelligence, stylish writing, a clear purpose and connection to the readers.

Note: Author may be on the publication's regular staff or not, but no syndicated columns or blogs will be accepted. DO NOT submit the publisher's or editor's editorial or letter to the readers in this category.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: A PDF of one column.

Print or Online Technical Article

Criteria: This article focuses on science, technology or industry-specific developments and combines theory, methodologies, analysis and discussion of relevance to the publication’s readers. Judges will also consider documentation.

Note: Do not submit general business articles in this category.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: PDF of one complete article per entry.

Print or Online How-To Article

Criteria: This article provides clear steps to perform a specific activity, presented in an interesting manner with or without illustrations.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: PDF of one complete article per entry.


Design Categories

Up to six gold awards for each of the below categories (one gold in each of the publication divisions and circulation groupings), unless otherwise noted.

Design entries will be judged on layout and composition, use of illustrations or photos, typography, image quality, originality and effectiveness in helping the article or publication convey its message. See specific categories for additional criteria. Design categories will be judged the same as all other categories. A high-res PDF of the design is required for each submission.

Overall Design

Criteria: This entry should demonstrate not only how the publication’s design and graphic elements flow together to create a consistent, inviting and stimulating overall look, but also how effective graphic design enhances the value of the information.

Limitations: One entry per publication

Submission:  Three high-res PDFs of three different issues. One full-color JPG/PNG for Gala.

Cover Design

Criteria: This entry should represent the best use of design, typography, information and photo or illustration to both entice the reader into the issue and reflect the publication’s mission.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission:  One high-res PDF of entry only AND full-color JPG/PNG for Gala

Typography

Criteria: This entry will demonstrate skillful design expression through typography. Entries will demonstrate the use of typography to reinforce and illustrate the editorial intent while communicating the content clearly. Typography will be judged for full article, not just headline or title treatment.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: One high-res PDF of entry only AND full-color JPG/PNG for Gala

Single Page or Spread Design

Criteria: This entry will be a well-designed example of a one- or two-page design. A successful design will have a clear point of entry (a focal point) and visual elements that strengthen and clarify the editorial content. The entry may open an article or be an interior page. This category is not judged on an entire article; it will be judged as a standalone spread or one page.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Note: Do not submit an entire article only upload the single page or spread.

Submission: One high-res PDF of the entry only AND full-color JPG/PNG for Gala

Feature Design

Criteria: This entry will demonstrate the skillful design of an entire magazine feature. Judges will take into account how the design elements (typography, images, color, layout, callouts, sidebars, etc.) combine to communicate the meaning of the story.

Limitations: Publications may enter this category multiple times.

Submission:  One high-res PDF of the entry only AND full-color JPG/PNG for Gala

Best Use of Feature Photography

One Gold Award, up to three finalists 

This category honors the use of original photography in a feature story, photo-essay or photo portfolio. The category is intended to recognize the outstanding use of photojournalism; portraiture; fashion, travel and nature photography; food, shelter and other still-life photography; conceptual photography; and photo-illustration. Judges will evaluate entries based on photographic achievement, art direction and editorial value. Judges may also consider the quality of the text in relation to the images. An entry consists of one article or a clearly branded editorial package incorporating one or more photographs. Entries may include a related cover image. All photos must accurately reflect the subject matter as it appeared in the viewfinder. Normal processing of RAW image files and minor adjustments to color and contrast are acceptable, as is minimal cropping. HDR and focus stacking are permitted as long as all manipulation is disclosed upon entry. Entrants must not infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.

Limitations: Publishers may enter this category up to three (3) times.

Submission: Save photos as low-resolution RGB .jpg files that are no smaller than 500KB at 72ppi. Sizes will vary and should be about 1000-2000 pixels on the longest side. Submit one PDF representation of the entry for use in awards presentation.


Digital Media Categories

One gold award, up to three finalists for each of the categories below

Entries in the digital media categories will be judged for their editing/writing/reporting, usability and how well they convey or complement the publication's editorial mission. Entries must provide content that is of value to the reader and may not have the sole purpose of advertising products. See specific categories for additional criteria.

Blog for Publication

Criteria: This category is for a blog produced for a publication. The blog should incorporate strong reporting, commentary or criticism and demonstrate intelligence, stylish writing, a clear purpose and connection to the readers.

Note: To be considered for this award, the blog's link and linked content items must be live (or archived and accessible to the judges and MMPA) through November 1, 2019. If access to the blog is by password or subscription only, provide information that will allow the judges access.

Limitations: Publishing companies may enter this category once for each different blog.

Submission: In the online editorial profile box, enter the blog's URL, along with a description of its editorial goals or mission, including how it supports the parent publication's editorial mission. One PDF representation of the entry for awards presentation.

E-Newsletter

Criteria: This category is for an email newsletter produced for a publishing company and delivered on a regular basis. Entries should demonstrate compelling execution and clear purpose and will be judged on how the e-newsletter is used to drive readers to the publication and its website (through links, video, photo galleries, etc.).

Note: DO NOT enter websites in this category. To be considered for this award, the e-newsletter's link and linked content items must be live (or archived and accessible to the judges and MMPA organization) through October 6, 2017.

Limitations: Publishing companies may enter this category multiple times.

Submission: In the online editorial profile box, enter a link to one issue of the e-newsletter, along with a description of its publication frequency and its editorial goals or mission, including how it supports the parent publication's editorial mission. One PDF representation of the entry for awards presentation.

Social Media

Criteria: This entry is for use of one or multiple publisher-branded social media channels for a single strategic outcome. Entry will be judged on a combination of content quality and measurable results. Content will be for one or a series of social media posts and will be judged on engagement and shareability characteristics and fit with the overall content mix regularly provided by the publisher. Measurable results will not be judged on any one metric, but by an informed description of metrics showing how the social media effort compared to the desired outcome.

Limitations: Publishers may enter this category multiple times.

Note: This category includes both B-to-B and B-to-C entrants.

Submission: Links to and screenshots of relevant social media posts; if video, than links to actual video content. A description of the desired outcome for the social posts, defined by metrics of entrant’s choosing, and the related results.

Video Storytelling

Criteria: This entry is for a single, original video or video series, produced by a digital and/or print publisher and delivered by that publisher via its branded website or any of its branded social media channels. The video will have a clear, purposeful storyline that fits with the overall content mix regularly provided by the publisher. As such, the video content will reinforce the publisher’s position in the market it serves.

Limitations: Publishers may enter this category multiple times.

Note: This category includes both B-to-B and B-to-C entrants.

Submission: Link or links to the videos; screenshot(s) of the video(s) as presented on the website or social media channel; a brief description of the video(s) storyline and how it supports the publisher’s editorial mission.