Improving the NPPA Monthly Multimedia Contest

Angela Grant at has started a conversation about how to improve the NPPA Monthly Multimedia Contest. As contest chairman, my co-worker Brian Immel and me are tasked with coming up with an update that will improve judging and allow people to give feedback on the entries.

I posted this reply over at that started from a conversation about updating the contest:

Commenting on winners has always been available–if you’re logged in. Hence the reason few ever add feedback on the winners. That feature will be improved with the coming update. I am toying with the idea of allowing comments during the entry and judging period. I think that is when most folks feel the need to give feedback. Many times when I’m judging, I wish I could leave a suggestion to help improve a person’s story. I know this is a risky. I’d probably have to moderate it closely to make sure it doesn’t descend into a flame war.

Angela, from your suggestions list that you emailed me… Yes on all accounts. Categories are something we all need to address. That discussion should start right now, right here. As it stands, you can enter three entries per category. If the contest continues to grow, limiting the entries will have to take place. You mentioned dual entries and slideshows entered in the wrong categories. Yes, this is a problem that will be addressed. Brian and I have asked the NPPA to give us access to parts of their servers so we can update the contest quickly and fix errors. Right now, if there is a problem, I have to ask the NPPA webmaster to fix it. Some things slip by and that is not acceptable. It will be fixed soon. Point tallies and a new ranking system will be implemented with the update.

Finally, I like to address the “what wins” discussion. We started this contest at a time when video was just starting to take hold at newspapers. Video continues to evolve as more producers learn and improve their storytelling fundamentals. For now, I believe this contest should be more about leaning and less about receiving some certificate. It should be a contest geared to give rapid feedback that will help us improve our craft. If I am wrong, I will step down and let someone else manage the contest. My point here is that this contest is for members of the NPPA. If it is to succeed, then it needs be a conversation contest built on user participation. The more people who log in and help judge, the better the results will be.

So let’s start this conversation. How can the NPPA Monthly Multimedia Contest be improved?

For non-NPPA members, you can still view the entries. It is a great way to see what newspaper video producers are up to.  For people who use the NPPA Monthly Multimedia contest, please head to Angela’s blog and give suggestions on what you would like improved.