The judges’ second day of review grinds on as the first round of the World’s Best-Designed category nears a close. The remaining papers have been whittled to just under 50. We’re eager to get some time with the judging team to hear more about what they’re seeing — and not seeing — in the 301 entries from around the world.
The room is eerily quiet since this portion of the competition doesn’t lend itself to much discussion. Shamus Walker, SND entry audit director and our man in Syracuse in general, circulates around the room, moving entries from one judging station to the next with fierce efficiency. The judges leaf through edition after edition of papers from Europe and Asia, North and South America, and everywhere in between. Each entry gets a sticker (to keep track of who has seen which entry). Some get a judge’s signature indicating a “yes” vote, but most do not.
To survive the first cut in Category One, a paper’s entry has to receive three out of five positive votes. It needs three signed stickers. But gaining three votes does not result in an automatic award, it simply survives to the second round.
If there’s a conflict of interest (a paper comes up that a judge works or worked for, or competes against, for example), the entry needs to be flagged, and needs two votes in addition to the conflict to survive the round.
Once the field is thinned, in the second round an entry needs four out of five votes to proceed (a conflicted paper would need three votes beyond the conflict itself).
So, have there been a lot of conflict votes yet? “I don’t believe that’s been an issue so far,” said C. Marshall Matlock, SND competition coordinator.
The plan is arrive at the final selections and be ready to announce the World’s Best-Designed papers by Tuesday afternoon. The pace is good so far, said Matlock, but there’s no telling how long it may take to conclude. Each year’s WB team is different. And after the judging itself has been done, the team will still have to render and edit their rationale statement for each/any winners.
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