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OPSWA Contests

Annual OPSWA Writing & Photography Contest

The writing and photography contest will include entries from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. The deadline to submit entries is February 15, 2017. Winners are announced at the annual statewide meeting on April 19, 2017.

Categories:

Investigative/Enterprise, News Story, Feature Story (story telling), Column (opinion or perspective), Game Story, Action Photograph and Posed Photograph (photo must have appeared in print or on company website).

Divisions ("Daily" References 5 or More Issues Per Week):

  • Division I: Daily Circulation over 25,000 (12 newspapers, see list on contest application form) and Websites
  • Division II: Daily Circulation between 15,000 and 25,000
  • Division III: All other daily newspapers
  • Division IV: Non-daily newspapers and specialty publications

Entry:

Important Notes:

  • Limit three entries per category per writer.
  • Keep headline on submission but redact byline and name of newspaper in article.
  • Submissions must be mailed and postmarked by February 15, 2017.
  • Submissions must be reconfigured to be sent on standard 8.5x11 paper. 
  • Do not staple documents together. Please use paper clips.

Contest Descriptions

News story
Not to state the obvious, but a news story needs to have a news element. There must be some kind of breaking story, such as a coach getting hired, a major schedule upgrade, a switch in leagues, etc. Game stories are not news stories. A newsy feature could be acceptable, provided there is some kind of new information broken. The quality of writing obviously plays a role here, too. Beyond nuts and bolts, what story is more readable?

Feature story
Feature stories should be judged on the caliber of writing and not necessarily the content of the story. The writer makes the story, not the other way around. A story about an athlete with cancer, or who died, while heartwarming or heartbreaking, is not automatically a good story. The best feature stories have a lyrical voice to some degree and a unique quality to them. They are not formulaic.

Column
For a column to be considered the best in its class, it needs to be a column. That is, it must have an element of opinion in it. Feature stories, news stories, game sidebars or even gamers themselves disguised as columns are not columns. Look for a well expressed opinion on a matter relevant to the audience.

Game story
A good game story will answer all the basic elements about an event (final score, who-what-where-when, etc.), but do so with some sort of flair. The best gamers make the readers feel they were at the game. That’s not a hard, fast rule, though. The larger the circulation division, the more likely game stories will be shorter and more to the point, with less room for colorful prose. For the most part, the first score in a game story should be the final score (or time or winning effort).

Enterprise/investigate
For a story to be considered enterprise, it will likely fall into one of two categories: A series with multiple entries over one subject, or a lengthy piece with numerous sources about an issue in the sports community. A long feature story is not an enterprise story and should not be judged as such. Enterprise stories should be judged on the quality of the writing, as well as the sourcing, depth and overall structure of the piece. An investigative story will look into a matter from different angles. It should be sourced to reflect all sides of an issue. Quality of writing is not quite as important in an investigative story, compared to an enterprise work. The more important aspect should be did the investigation solve or answer a problem or question.

Past Contest Winners

2015 Contest Winners

April 12, 2016 - The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced its 2015 annual writing and photography contest award winners at its statewide meeting held at the OHSAA Office in Columbus.

2015 Award Winners Press Release

Writers of the Year
Division I – John Kampf, Willoughby News-Herald
Division II – Mark Hazelwood, Sandusky Register
Division III - Jake Furr, Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum
Division IV – Todd Stumpf, Medina Post


2014 Contest Winners

April 8, 2015 - The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced its 2014 annual writing and photography contest award winners at its statewide meeting held at the OHSAA Office in Columbus.

2014 Award Winners Press Release

Writers of the Year
Division I – Chris Lillstrung, Willoughby News-Herald
Division II – Mark Hazelwood, Sandusky Register
Division III - Kurt Snyder, Newark Advocate
Division IV – Todd Stumpf, Medina Post


2013 Contest Winners

April 3, 2014 - The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced its 2013 annual writing and photography contest award winners at its statewide meeting held at the OHSAA Office in Columbus.

2013 Award Winners Press Release

Writers of the Year
Division I – Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal
Division II – Mark Hazelwood, Sandusky Register
Division III - Albert Grindle, Medina Gazette
Division IV – Jarrod Ulrey, Columbus ThisWeek Newspapers


2012 Contest Winners

April 18, 2013 - The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced its 2012 annual writing contest award winners at its statewide meeting held at the OHSAA Office in Columbus.

2012 Award Winners Press Release

Writers of the Year

Division I – Tim Warsinskey, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Division II – Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal
Division III/IV – Rick Noland, Medina Gazette
Division V – Todd Stumpf, Medina Post


2011 Contest Winners

March 30, 2012 - The Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced its 2010-2011 annual writing contest award winners at its statewide meeting held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Worthington.

2011 Award Winners Press Release

Writers of the Year

Division I – Tim Warsinskey, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Division II – Jon Spencer, Mansfield New Journal
Division III/IV – Matthew Horn, Port Clinton News Herald
Division V – Todd Stumpf, Medina Post


2010 Contest Winners

April 26, 2011 - On the eve of impending structural changes to its organization, the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association announced its 2009-10 writing contest award winners. The annual writing contest was judged by Ohio University and was coordinated in part by past treasurer Tom Metters of Athens and president Randy Heath of Jackson.

2010 Award Winners Press Release

President's Award

Tim Rogers, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Writers of the Year
Division I – Matt Natali, Ohio High Magazine
Division II – Theresa Neuhoff Audia, Willoughby News-Herald
Division III – Albert Grindle, Medina County Gazette
Division IV – Matthew Horn, Port Clinton News Herald
Division V – Chris Galoski, Suburban News Publications