Better Newspaper Contest 2019



» Upload entries at

» Download step-by-step instruction guide on how to upload entries (PDF)

» Download all contest rules, categories and more (PDF)

» Frequently asked questions

» Managing large files (over 5-7 MB limit)

» Pay for entries with credit/debit card by deadline (Type in total amount due)



Most entries will be judged online as full-page digital tearsheets in PDF format. To submit contest entries, go to All entries must be submitted by Monday, February 3, 2020. Entry materials that must be mailed (Categories 1, 2 and 3) must also be postmarked by the February 3 deadline.

Twenty categories offer opportunities for newspapers and staff members to be honored. Contest rules, categories and tips for uploading entries are available to download in PDF format. If you have questions, e-mail Lisa Sutliff or Jennifer Gilliland or call (405) 499-0020 or 1-888-815-2672 (toll-free in Oklahoma).

ENTRY FEE AND PAYMENT: The entry fee is $10 per entry in each category. Entry fees must be paid at the conclusion of entry submission by any of these three options:

  1. Pay online with a credit card or debit card via Paypal (you do not need a PayPal account to pay).
  2. Call OPA at 405-499-0026 to provide credit card over the phone, or
  3. Mail a check to OPA, 3601 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

CONTEST PERIOD: The 2019 OPA Better Newspaper Contest period is from January 1 through Dec. 31, 2019. 

DIVISIONS: There are 9 divisions – 8 for OPA Business Membership Newspapers and 1 for college newspapers.
Divisions 1-8 are determined by newspaper circulation and frequency shown on the October 2018 U.S. Postal Service statement of total paid circulation (PS Form 3526, line 15C) plus the number of paid electronic subscriptions.
Following are the nine divisions:

  • DIVISION 1 – Daily newspapers with circulation of more than 6,200
  • DIVISION 2 – Daily newspapers with circulation between 3,000 and 6,200
  • DIVISION 3 – Daily newspapers with circulation of less than 3,000
  • DIVISION 4 – Weekly newspapers with circulation of more than 1,600
  • DIVISION 5 – Weekly newspapers with circulation between 1,050 and 1,600
  • DIVISION 6 – Weekly newspapers with circulation between 725 and 1,049
  • DIVISION 7 – Weekly newspapers with circulation of less than 725
  • DIVISION 8 – Semi- and Tri-Weekly Newspapers
  • DIVISION 9 – College Newspapers

AWARDS: Every category will have first through third place winners. All winners will be announced on Saturday, June 20, 2020, during the annual OPA Convention at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.

CATEGORIES: Categories 1 through 9 are limited to one entry per newspaper and awards are presented to the newspaper. Categories 10 through 20 allow for more than one entry per newspaper. For a complete list of contest categories, click here.


IMPORTANT: Please review the Rules document and category requirements. Also, instructions and screen captures of the entry process are available in our step-by-step Instruction Guide. Please review it first if you have questions. 

What is the password to log in? 
The password is the same as your newspaper chose last year. If your newspaper did not enter last year's contest, “bnc” is the password the first time you log in. If “bnc” does not work, it means someone in your organization has already accessed the site and changed the password. If you cannot retrieve your password, contact Lisa at or call 405-499-0026 during business hours (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Do I log in as a Contestant Manager or an Authorized Entrant?  
A Contestant Manager.
The contestant manager has the option of creating one or more Authorized Entrant accounts for other staff members to upload their own entries to the newspaper's main account.

In which circulation division is my newspaper competing?  
Each newspaper's circulation division is determined by the total paid circulation (including paid electronic copies) recorded on its U.S. Postal Service statement of ownership published in October 2019. You can find out which division you're competing in when you log into Each newspaper has already been assigned to its division. If you want to compete in a higher division of the same frequency, email notice to so it can be changed before you submit entries. 

I didn’t receive the system’s verification email. 
The first time you log in, note the email address in your account or change it to the email you want to use. After submitting your first two entries, the system will stop and make you verify your email address. A verification email will be sent to the email address in the newspaper’s account. If it doesn’t arrive in a short period of time, check your junk/spam folder. If you don’t receive the verification within a few hours, email to request that it be resent to you - perhaps to a different email account.

Editorial Writing and Column Writing entries each require THREE examples. The categories recognize the writer(s), not the individual piece. If only one opinion piece is submitted in either category, it will be disqualified.

Managing large files:  Four categories – Sports Coverage, Sales Promotion, Community Leadership and In-Depth Reporting – may exceed the 5MB file limit. For large files in those categories, we recommend using or If do not already have an account with ISSUU, follow these instructions:

I’ve uploaded four PDFs. The system won’t let me upload any more. 
Combine multiple pages into one or more files. Judges will have to download and open every file. It takes less time to scroll between pages in a single file, so please combine pages and upload as few PDFs as possible.  

What file formats may be used to enter the contest? 
The best file format to use is a medium- or low-resolution PDF of the page. Please combine multiple PDFs and compress to the recommended size of 5MB or lower. Acceptable file types are PDF, JPG, GIF, and PNG — NO Word files, except as a letter to judges in the Sales Promotion or Community Leadership categories. URLs may be used for the designated categories that require website links (Digital Media) or possibly large files stored on an off-site server, such as (see “Managing large files” above). Photo categories may include the image file, but a PDF of the full page where the photo appeared must also be uploaded.

Where do I get an entry form for the categories to be mailed in – News Content, Layout & Design and Advertising?
Create a new entry in the system, complete the couple of required fields and click Submit. The “Official Entry Form” will appear on your screen and you’ll see it includes the information you previously typed in. Click the Printer icon to PRINT the form, then affix it to the issues for that entry.  Easy as that!

Where do I mail issues to be judged in categories for News Content, Layout & Design and Advertising, which require three different issues of the printed paper?
Mail on or before Feb. 3 to:
        Better Newspaper Contest
        Oklahoma Press Association
        3601 N. Lincoln Blvd.
        Oklahoma City, OK 73105.
Include the appropriate printed entry form with each set of issues. Also include a payment check for all of your entries or pay online at Paypal.

What is the deadline to mail entries for those three categories to OPA?
February 3 is the deadline to postmark your mail-in entries.

How do I pay for my entries?
Pay with a credit or debit card. Type in the total amount due in the field for "price per item." Payment should be submitted by the Feb. 3 deadline unless you've made other arrangements with Lisa Sutliff at OPA.

Who do I contact with other questions?


Four categories – Sports Coverage, Sales Promotion, Community Leadership and In-Depth Reporting – may exceed the 5MB file limit.

For large files in those categories, we recommend using or

If do not already have an account with ISSUU, follow these instructions:

  • Go to
  • Create an acount in the upper right-hand side or login using your Facebook or GooglePlus account. 
  • Select the free "Basic" option and fill out the information. 
  • Once done, click on "Publish" and pull down to "Upload." 
  • Select the file to upload (combine multiple pages into one PDF before uploading). 
  • Give the file a name and click "Publish Now." 
  • Click on publications list and open the file you uploaded. 
  • Copy the direct link and paste it into the URL field on the Better Newspaper Contest website.

Previous Contest Results

Contact Information

3601 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

(405) 499-0020
(888) 815-2672

Toll-Free in OK