Kicking off the competition: SND33!

For the 33rd year, we’re set to roll in the Best of News Design print competition.

Check starting Saturday morning through Monday evening for continuing coverage of the competition.

It’ll be a fast-paced three days. It’s an honor to invite you to follow us along online and to share a bit of insight into what you’ll be seeing and hearing about on the various digital channels.

What do these words mean?

A glossary of sorts:

Judges: These 21 people (plus five more who will be here next week to judge World’s Best Designed Newspapers) were picked from a database of more than 500 nominees and will be charged with determining winners and losers in this year’s competition.

Facilitators: Fellow journalists and students (thanks, Syracuse U) will be in attendance helping set up, tear down and generally keeping the competition moving along. We have three days to sift through more than a couple of entries.

Award of Excellence: Put simply, it gets you in the book. Five judges vote on each entry. Three or more “yes” votes gives the entry an A of E.

Silver and gold medals: Four of more “yes” votes brings the entry back later during judging to be discussed for either of these honors.

Drumlins: Judging takes place at Drumlins Country Club on the edge of the campus of Syracuse University.

What’s new this year?

Plenty! You can find the full rundown of rules changes and the 33rd Call for Entries here, but the highlights are:

Changes to the Best in Show process
This year, judges will narrow the field of entries down to a single Best in Show finalist. If three fourths of the voting judges then agree the finalist is Best in Show, then the entry will be awarded as such. (Previously, Best in Show required unanimous approval of all judges.)

Added subcategories
For the first time, “features content” is a standalone Editor’s Choice category. Did you do a week-long food series? Cover the royal wedding in your lifestyle section? It fits in here

The addition of staff portfolios
All portfolio categories now include options to enter eight-page staff portfolios. The competition committee hopes the quality in these categories is matched only by the competitiveness with which they are judged.

What’s up first for those attending?

On Thursday, competition coordinator Josh Crutchmer finished up work with print competition chairman Marshall Matlock and audit coordinator Shamus Walker to wrap up nearly a month of entry auditing on their behalf. We sorted “miscellaneous” entries (Category 19) into appropriate judging groups, addressed rules issues and ended the day with the 10,000 or so (check back Saturday for official numbers) entries ready for judging.

On Friday, judges arrive en masse. They will be introduced to their teams and the judging process, told (in vain) to get a goodnight’s sleep, and generally introduced to the lay of the land.

A group of facilitators spent Friday setting up the ballrooms at Drumlins for judging. We’ll address lighting, set out the first categories and be ready to go first thing Saturday. Follow along with us at, and if you’re so inclined, get creative with ways to donate to the SND Foundation after the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Thank you and welcome.

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