In 1979, the Society for News Design founded the “Best of Newspaper Design™” Creative Competition. In 1988, The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University became a co-sponsor. In 2009, the name was changed to the “Best of News Design™” Creative Competition and opened to all magazines.
The competition invites entries from all magazines and general circulation newspapers — daily or non-daily, broadsheet or tabloid, traditional or alternative — published anywhere in the world, as well as syndicates and cooperatives providing material used in newspapers.
Each annual design competition covers one calendar year. Entry deadlines are in January of the following year, with judging in February. Winners are announced as soon as they are verified. The competition typically offers 19 categories, each with a number of subcategories. All newspaper entrants become eligible for the “World’s Best-Designed™ Newspaper” category.
Competition judges may issue Awards of Excellence, Silver Medals, Gold Medals, Judges’ Special Recognitions and Best of Show honors:
Award of Excellence — This is granted for truly excellent work, going beyond mere technical or aesthetic competency. It honors outstanding entries for such things as being daring and innovative, even if they are less than 100 percent in every respect. Judges were asked to be tough, but fair.
Silver Medal — This award should be granted for work that rises above excellence. The Silver Medal can be given for work that represents an elevated level of execution, originality of concept, or high end work done with a high degree of difficulty. Even among Award of Excellence winners, these entries should shine.
Gold Medal — This award should be granted for work that clearly stands out even among Silver Medal winners. It should be nearly impossible to find anything deficient in a gold-winning entry. These entries will define the state of the art.
Judges’ Special Recognition — This honor can be awarded by a team of judges or by all judges for work that is outstanding in a particular respect not necessarily singled out by the Award of Excellence, Silver or Gold awards structures. This recognition has been granted for such things as use of photography, use of informational graphics and use of typography throughout a body of work. This body of work may be a particular publication, a section or sections by an individual or staff. The special recognition does not supplant any Award of Excellence, Silver or Gold, and should be seen as an adjunct.
Best in Show — As the name implies, this is the best of the Gold Medal winners. Any discussion for this award takes place at the conclusion of the judging. Judges have an opportunity to view all Gold Medal winners at the same time. Only one Best in Show award may be presented at this judging. Some years no Best of Show is given. For the award to be given the entry must receive “yes” votes from the majority of the judges. Votes are taken by secret ballots after a discussion by judges, who are encouraged to express support or non-support for the award.
All winners receive certificates, and the World’s Best-Designed™ Newspapers receive trophies.
Winning entries are reproduced online and in an annual book, “The Best of News Design”.
Each entry requires a small entry fee, paid in U.S. funds. To learn more, including how to take part in the competition judging, visit How to Enter, Judging, Facilitators and Winners.