Updated: What it takes to be an SND judge, nominate the next jury

Among the hustle of the Best of News Design Competition, Chris Courtney and Stephen Komives sat down briefly with three judges from different parts of the globe and asked them what surprised them today, what’s challenged them, and what it was like to vote their conscience.

Raimar Heber, dpa-infografik (Hamburg, Germany)

Melissa Angle, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Oscar Santiago, El Universal (Mexico City)

How to become an SND judge

A POPULAR QUESTION POSED TO THE SND INTERNATIONAL WEB DESK is “So, how do *I* become a judge for SND’s annual competition?” Perhaps the second most-asked question is “How were those judges chosen?”

The answers are no secret.

Judges are selected by the SND competition committee from a master list of nominees. The list is continually updated to include new nominations made to the SND office, the competition coordinator, the edition coordinator and others.

You don’t have to be an SND member to be a judge. Judges are typically prominent in their specialty, knowledgeable enough to be conversant in many forms and facets of their craft, and able to verbalize their reactions and thoughts within an intense team setting. Judges are invited by, and responsible to, the edition coordinator and are chosen through the general agreement of the Competition Committee.

You can nominate yourself if you chose to.

Nominations must include all three of the following: (1) a brief description of why the nominee is qualified to be a judge; (2) a highlight or two of their work; and (3) MUST include contact information. (Please, no resumes.)

Assembling a judging panel for the competition is a year-round responsibility for the competition committee. Final decisions on the jury are made each fall at the annual SND workshop (think fantasy football draft weekend — but with designers and art directors). The edition coordinator begins contacting possible judges immediately following the workshop. Every effort is made to get judges from all parts of the world, from various publication types and sizes as well as all types of diversity.

Five or six 5-person judging teams are invited. One team is for the World’s Best-Designed™ competition (category #1); the rest are for the overall competition. One or two additional judges are invited to serve as generalists — non-partisan judges who can step into another team when a conflict of interest occurs.

PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING information to nominate a judge for future competitions. Self-nominations are acceptable. Send the following to the SND main office at [email protected], or Marshall Matlock at [email protected]:

  • Name (with correct spelling)
    Affiliation (you don’t have to work at a newspaper to be a judge)
    Work title
    Work address with phone number
    E-mail address
    Languages read & spoken
    Brief description of why the nominee is qualified to be a judge
  • VOLUNTEER: One other way to get invited to Syracuse is to volunteer to be a facilitator — one of the many professionals and students who work tirelessly all weekend to prepare entries and help the judges steer through 10,000+ entries in three days.

    Please contact Marshall Matlock with questions.

    About Chris Courtney

    is a news applications developer at The Chicago Tribune.

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