Communicator of Achievement 2018 Rules and Nominating Criteria

The Communicator of Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, service to NFPW and to the community.

To assist affiliate COA directors, the rules and nominating criteria for 2018 are now available. Affiliates must submit entries by May 1, 2018.

NFPW Sponsors Affordable, State-of-the-Art Media Liability Insurance

Although the First Amendment grants us freedom of the press, we all know that this right can’t always protect us. Freelancers and other independent communicators, especially, can find themselves vulnerable if legal claims arise.  

Fortunately, the National Federation of Press Women sponsors liability insurance coverage for members of the news media. The affordable, state-of-the-art plan covers legal defense costs, damages and protection from lawsuits.

This insurance is available to NFPW members who pay dues for a premium professional membership ($139).

Developed exclusively for NFPW by Chubb Specialty Insurance, the coverage is administered by Walterry Insurance Brokers. Both these firms are experts in media liability coverage.

Coverage you’ll get through this insurance program

For only $485 per year (including tax), NFPW premium professional members can obtain media liability coverage with the following features:

  • Comprehensive coverage for all claims arising out of the gathering and communicating of information, including (but not limited to) libel, slander, invasion of privacy, and copyright infringement.
  • A dedicated policy limit of $300,000 per claim and $500,000 aggregate; this includes coverage for defense costs as well as settlements and judgments.
  • Coverage for the legal costs of challenging subpoenas that seek confidential news-gathering information.
  • Punitive damages coverage to the extent permitted by law.
  • Full protection of the identity of confidential sources.
  • Worldwide coverage, encompassing press activities engaged in by you, and claims asserted against you, anywhere in the world.

How to sign up for coverage

If you meet the following criteria, you’re automatically eligible to participate in this program:

  • You are a premium professional member of NFPW in good standing and have paid current NFPW dues.
  • Your revenues from professional press activities last year did not exceed $200,000 (before taxes).
  • You haven’t been named as a defendant in a lawsuit arising out of your professional press activities within the preceding three years.
  • You have been a professional working in the press or a related industry for at least three years.

(Publishers of books, magazines, newspapers or websites are not eligible.)

If you meet the eligibility criteria, all you need to do to obtain coverage is:

  • Complete the attached eligibility statement for the NFPW media insurance program.
  • Send the eligibility statement, along with a premium payment of $485 ($242.50 if between Dec. 12 and June 11), to Walterry Insurance Brokers.

You’ll receive confirmation from Walterry that these materials have been received and that you are covered under this program.

If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria, you may still apply for coverage in this program, but your application will be individually underwritten, and a different premium may apply. A program administrator will contact you upon receipt and review of your eligibility statement.

For more details

Please visit walterry.com/national or call the media department at Walterry Insurance Brokers, 800-638-8791.

Tammy Keith wins sweepstakes award

Tammy Keith of Arkansas won the 2017 communications contest sweepstakes award from the National Federation of Press Women. 

The award was announced Sept. 9 at the NFPW awards banquet in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Keith is a writer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Niche Publications and previously was the communications contest sweepstakes winner in 2011. She also was a runner-up for the sweepstakes award in 2012, 2013 and 2015. 

“I was shocked and thrilled to win this year’s sweepstakes award!” Keith said. “It’s gratifying to be honored among so many talented people.” 

Keith keeps a running list throughout the year of features, news stories and columns that she thinks are worthy of entering. “Sometimes that means articles that have gotten a lot of response from readers,” she said. “Others are stories that I know made a difference, educated or just entertained. I’m not thinking about winning an award when I’m writing; I’m just doing what I love and giving it my best.” 

Others earning sweepstakes honors in the 2017 competition were Olivia Grider of Alabama, who won second place, and Lori Potter of Nebraska, who received third place. 

Delaware Press Association once again received affiliate sweepstakes honors.

You Can’t Win if You Don’t Enter

You’ve probably heard that you can’t win the lottery if you don’t enter.

Well, the same is true for the National Federation of Press Women communications contest. However, your odds of winning in the NFPW contest are a whole lot better.

But does figuring out what to enter seem overwhelming? Do you hesitate to enter anything but what you think is your very best work?

“My best advice is to keep a running list of possible contest entries, and enter a lot,” says Tammy Keith, the 2017 NFPW sweepstakes winner.

“Some of the articles I enter aren’t my favorites, but I know they fill a gap and could put me over the edge in the contest,” adds the Arkansas Press Women member.

She knows what she’s talking about. This is the second time she has been named the national sweepstakes winner, and she has been a runner-up at least once.

Don’t wait until the last minute to enter, 2016 NFPW sweepstakes winner Pam Knudson recommends.

Give yourself adequate time – say, at least a couple of weeks ahead of deadline – to look over your work and consider what you want to enter,” the North Dakota Professional Communicators member says. “This will give you a chance, in a more relaxed way, to mull over and select your best work.”

Don’t forget: The early bird deadline for the 2018 contest is Jan. 23. You can save $25 if you enter by then. The final deadline for entries is Feb. 6. Visit the contest page for rules and categories.

The contest is a two-tiered competition. First, you compete at the state level. First-place winners at the state level are eligible to move on to the NFPW contest.

Here are some more tips from the two national sweepstakes winners:

·         Not only keep a list of possible entries, but also note the publication or broadcast dates so they’re easy to find when you’re ready to enter the contest. Use an asterisk or other cue to highlight the pieces that make you the most proud. That will make spotting the “contest-worthy” entries and matching them to the correct categories easier to do.

·         Interpret the writing categories somewhat broadly. You may have a story you think has a lot of potential, but you’re not sure which category it should be submitted in, or if the contest has a category for it. If you take the broad view of the category, you may find you have more stories that are more appropriate for submission than you thought.

·         In the writing for print categories, submit a pdf of the story, rather than the online version. Generally, if the publication employs talented graphic designers, the print version likely will be much more appealing and have greater impact than the online version.

“Most of all, I just love what I do, and it’s a challenge to find unique stories or an angle no one else has,” Keith notes. “Be fearless!”

For Knudson, remembering why she enters the contest is a great motivator.

Winning the sweepstakes award in the NFPW communications contest is a tangible validation of the quality of my work,” she says. “It is a great honor to be recognized by others who strive to create articles that will give readers enjoyment and/or increase their understanding of an issue.”

Other NFPW contest winners offer this advice:

·         Don’t be cheap! The more you enter, the better your chances of winning.

·         If your state allows more than one entry in a category, take advantage of it.

·         Ask a friend or colleague to help you think of something you should submit or decide which items to enter.

·         Be versatile. Don’t automatically enter something in the obvious category. For example, an article about a teacher who developed an entrepreneurship class could be entered in education, business or maybe personality features.

·         Don’t stop looking. Sometimes when looking for an entry, you will see something else worth entering.

·         Think like a judge. Look for problems or issues that would cause a judge to disqualify an entry.

·         Take time with your explanation statement (if it’s required for your category) so you cover each element the judges will consider. Follow the instructions, and do not exceed the stated length.

·         Don’t forget to define your role in your entry, and make sure you relate your role correctly.

·         Double-check your entries. Make sure you’ve met all the requirements and have no typos.

·         Have fun and think about the contest as an opportunity to improve your craft.

NFPW’s Communications Contest is Live

You spent days tracking down and interviewing sources for your story, and it ended up on the front page of the local newspaper.

Or you developed a marketing campaign for your organization that raised enough money to keep the town’s only grocery store open.

Maybe you wrote and published a book that makes your family and friends laugh.

But have you ever wondered how your work compares with other communicators across the U.S.? Would you like some recognition for your efforts? How about some constructive criticism to help you improve?

If you said “yes” to any or all of those questions, enter NFPW’s communications contest. You’ll receive professional recognition for your work, whether it’s for newspapers, magazines or online publications; editing and page design; photography and graphics; radio and TV; web and social media; advertising; public relations and marketing; books; or other communication such as speeches.

The contest open to anyone over the age of 18, whether you’re male or female, professional or amateur. Enter and see how your work stacks up against the competition, and receive feedback from the pros on how you did and how you can improve.

The NFPW Communications Contest is a two-tiered competition. First, you compete at the state level. International communicators and people in states who aren’t holding their own contest can enter in the At-Large section of the contest. All first-place winners at the state level are eligible to move on to the national level contest provided they have joined the NFPW and are members in good standing.

Winners at the national level are recognized at the national conference, and have their work featured on the NFPW webpage and shared across NFPW social media outlets.

Winners in multiple categories are eligible for our annual sweepstakes prize, which is everyone’s favorite, money.

The 2018 communications contest is live online.

Visit the contest page for rules and categories.

Save $25 by entering before the early bird deadline, Jan. 23, 2018. The final deadline for entries is Feb. 6.

Randy Richardson named National
Communicator of Achievement

Man at podium holding plaque alongside two women.Sept. 8, 2017 — Randy Richardson of Evanston, Ill., has received the 2017 Communicator of Achievement Award from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW). He is the first male winner in the 60 years the award has been given.

He received the award during the organization’s annual conference, held this year in Birmingham, Alabama. NFPW, celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2017, is a nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum.

The Communicator of Achievement award is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their field. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates from around the country, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to NFPW and to the community.

Richardson, a member of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, is a senior attorney advisor with the Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Evanston, as well as a freelance writer, author and literary community builder.

He started his career as a newspaper journalist in California and Illinois. After switching to law, he continued writing numerous articles and essays for print and online publications on a freelance basis. He authored two highly regarded novels published by Eckhartz Press: “Lost in the Ivy,” which the online publication Gapers Block named one of the notable books of 2005, and “Cheeseland,” named by Conversation’s Book Club as one of its top 100 books of 2012.

Essays from Richardson’s blog about his experiences in publishing a book and being a new dad in his early 40s were published in Chicago Parent magazine and several anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Father and Son Soul.” He also has written many essays about baseball and, particularly the Chicago Cubs. He was a contributor to the Lovable Losers Literary Revue and to the anthology, “Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year.” Currently, he writes regularly for the Wrigley Nation blog.

In addition to his own writing, Richardson is a founding member and president of a nonprofit writers group called The Chicago Writers Association. This group has grown to more than 500 dues-paying members and established itself as one of Chicago’s leading writing communities. The group has its own annual book awards, speakers’ bureau, online literary magazine, writing contest and book review service and also launched the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

Through this work, he has helped build a bridge to unite the city’s diverse literary groups. This has included organizing numerous literary events, including the Summer Social, a popular annual networking event with the Illinois Woman’s Press Association. Richardson has received many honors for both his legal and writing efforts, including state and national awards in the NFPW Communications Contest.

Runner up in the Communicator of Achievement competition was Elaine Hobson Miller of Ashville, Ala., past president of Alabama Media Professionals. A former journalist and current freelance writer, she has written for 60 publications and authored two books.

Grants available to attend NFPW annual conference

If you are an NFPW member who has never attended an annual conference, consider applying for a first-timer grant to attend the September conference in Alabama.

The NFPW Education Fund, supported by members through donations and participation in the silent auction at each conference, can help by offering grants to pay all or part of the registration fees for members attending their first national conference.

In addition to the opportunity to see Alabama, the 2017 conference will be a time to learn many things from keynote and workshop speakers, network with communications professionals from across the country, and, perhaps, receive honors for your work. Find information about conference sessions, pre-and post-tours, lodging and travel on the conference section of the NFPW website.

Watch for conference-related information on the NFPW website’s home page, 2017 NFPW conference Facebook page and in the next edition of our AGENDA newsletter.

A first-timer grant application form is available on the “Education Fund” page of the NFPW website. The application deadline is July 15.

Press Release Template for NFPW Communications Contest Winners

Award recipients in the 2016 NFPW Communications Contest can use this press release template to announce their award to their local media.

A total of 349 entrants from across the country will receive awards for excellence in communications. A distinguished group of professional journalists, communications specialists and educators judged 540 entries in a wide variety of categories. Only first-place winning entries at the state affiliate level are eligible to enter the national contest. All entries were published or broadcast between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2015.

High School Communications Contest Winners Announced

NFPW is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 High School Communications Contest, sponsored by the NFPW Education Fund. The winners were be honored at a luncheon on September 10 at NFPW’s 2016 Communications Conference in Wichita, Kansas.

Winning entries can be viewed via the following link: http://nfpw.org/2016FirstPlaceEntries.php