Picking contest entries: Work connecting with advertisers, readers is key to success


In May, entries for HSPA’s annual Advertising Contest and Better Newspaper Contest will be sent in by newspapers from across the state.

The entries represent excellent work done for readers and advertisers and offer an opportunity to recognize newspaper individuals and organizations serving their communities.

One factor that is key to award-winning work with an impact is how well it connects with the reader or advertiser and how well it serves that relationship.

“To remain relevant to our readers, we have become intensely local. It has taken years to develop relationships with so many organizations, businesses and individuals,” said Managing Editor Debbie Blank of The Herald-Tribune in Batesville which was honored as the 2018 Non-Daily Blue Ribbon Newspaper.

The Herald-Tribune includes many voices from the community, Blank said. “You get a sense of what people here are like and what they love to do.”

South Bend Tribune Executive Editor Alan Achkar said his paper emphasizes enterprise, investigative, unique and deeper stories that are presented well. 

The Tribune was named the 2018 Daily Blue Ribbon Newspaper. That kind of recognition is validation that people are taking steps in the right direction, Achkar said.

“It’s essentially saying you’re doing a good job toward serving the mission. And the mission is strong, impactful journalism for our readers. Because, ultimately, that’s what it’s all about,” Achkar said.

Getting results from building relationships is also vital on the advertising side.

“One thing that consistently works for me is to enjoy my time with my clients,” said Andy Kirchner at the Herald-Times in Bloomington. Kirchner was named Indiana’s Top Advertising Sales Professional last year. “One client told me recently, ‘Do you think we’d spend all this money with you if we didn’t like you?’ ”

Matthew Haycraft, Indiana’s Top Advertising Designer for 2018, said he has an approach when creating a effective ad.

“I like to be sure that it falls under one of my four categories of creativity: creating emotion, inferring movement, emphasizing the point and bringing dynamic to a page,” said Haycraft who is with The Press-Dispatch (Petersburg).

This year’s HSPA awards will offer more opportunities to honor and showcase outstanding news and advertising work from across the state. Awards will be announced in September.

The deadline to enter the Advertising Contest is May 10.

The deadline to enter the Better Newspaper Contest is May 23

Info at https://www.hspa.com.