Tag Archives: journalism contest

Input sought for online scholastic contests

As scholastic contests begin the move to the online environment, important considerations emerge such as adopting best practices to standardize rules, processes, and judging, while ensuring flexibility for contest administrators and wide acceptance by contestants and judges.

As the maker of an online platform for journalism and media competitions, BetterBNC has successfully brought industry standardization to professional state associations, the Associated Press, many SPJ chapters, and a host of specialty print and broadcast trade associations. BetterBNC is the preferred platform for a growing number of scholastic contests as well (among them the Kansas Scholastic Press Association, Colorado High School Press Association and the Florida Scholastic Press Association) and has now committed to building a contest platform specifically for scholastic awards programs. The main benefits of the new platform are: produced for the specific needs of scholastic contests, sliding-scale pricing, and industry uniformity for contestants and judges.

If you would like to share the features that are important to your contest, you can participate in an online survey (available here). You can also contact BetterBNC to schedule a demo allowing you to see how the platform works.  

New BetterBNC features coming soon!

Thank you to our BetterBNC customers who offer great feedback and suggestions. Those are instrumental in helping us design new features to add to BetterBNC each year. We’re pleased to announce a new round of updates coming this fall including:

  • Customized homepage featuring new templates and an improved web editor interface to allow more freedom in design and ease of use of the homepage editor
  • Open Call® will see upgraded tools and features and a simplified administrator process
  • New reporting options with many reports having the option to display as tables (and/or download as xls); more reporting choices will also be available
  • Judges can print out a receipt of all their winner selections, public comments, and their private notes and scoring
  • Contest admins receive expansive new audit tools
  • Look for numerous changes to buttons, messaging, graphical design and intuitive features

if you are ready to renew your contest, please contact the office at 360.427.6300. If you are interested in BetterBNC for your contest, you can email Karen@smalltownpapers.com to schedule a complimentary demo.

Trust-but-verify: Receipts for Judges and Tools for Audit

Your good name gives value to the awards you present, so trust, integrity and ethical behavior cannot be taken for granted. BetterBNC for years has incorporated robust security capabilities and is now adding key new “trust-but-verify” features.
In our upcoming release, contest admins can allow judges to print out their own receipt of their winner selections along with public comments, and private notes and scoring data. The receipt will show the date the receipt was run.
New audit tools will give contest admins a way to quickly and definitively view not only the progress of judging, but also details including when and if any judgments have been changed.
These important contest management tools help assure all participants — your organizational leadership, judges and contestants — that your contest results are accurate and fair.
BetterBNC is the online contest platform leader across north America for a reason. We have earned the trust of publishing association executives along with publisher board members by valuing our customer relationships, respecting sanctioning authority, and protecting contestant entries and judges’ decisions.

An easier way to run your media contest.

Your journalism and media awards have a significant impact in your industry, so it’s critical to select the right company to ensure your success. Only trust the process to an organization with a proven method to accomplish your goals with the security, ethics and efficacy required in today’s best juried competitions.

BetterBNC innovates with exclusive features not available anywhere else. Contestant Manager® gives individual media organizations control to manage their entries from multiple departments and employees, and Open Call® allows you to open your contest to freelance journalists around the world.

BetterBNC exclusively serves journalistic sanctioning organizations in print and broadcast news, advertising, book publishing and creative trades. If you would like to experience a better way of producing your peer-reviewed contest process and give your contestants and judges the best features and benefits, please contact us for an in-depth demonstration of how BetterBNC can transform your contest this season. Simply call (360) 427-6300 or email karen@smalltownpapers.com.

BetterBNC Spring Platform Updates

We work hard to continuously improve the BetterBNC contest platform now being used by hundreds of organizations across North America. Now, we’re pleased to share details on two important updates.

Captcha: Thanks to user feedback, we’ve made two significant changes to the contestant entry form.

  1. The entry form has been redesigned and simplified.
  2. We have replaced the “Google Captcha” with a more widely known system which saves time by asking fewer and easier questions.

Why do we need Captcha? The “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart” program helps ensure your contestant entries are legitimately made by a real person — computers cannot successfully read the distorted text, which greatly reduces the chances of a “hacker bot” gaining access to your contest.

PayPal Integration: For users of the Revenue Manager module — a software update from PayPal we deployed closes a rare occurrence related to timely reporting of payments to your PayPal Advanced account from certain bank cards. Note that some cards, such as American Express, may require additional setup within your PayPal Advanced account (contact PayPal for information).

Have a question? Just complete a trouble ticket and we’ll get back to you.

Happy Holidays from BetterBNC

We hope you’ve had a wonderful 2016 – we appreciate our valued BetterBNC customers.  We have a record number of organizations using BetterBNC this year and look forward to even more switching to the platform in 2017.

If you’re a current customer, remember to contact us for your renewal information – just email or call the office and we’ll get started for you. If you are interested in switching your contest to BetterBNC, simply contact us to schedule a demo at your convenience and we’ll go from there. All you have to do is email karen@smalltownpapers.com.

We look forward to more great contests in the coming year!  Happy Holidays from all of us at BetterBNC.

BetterBNC saves time for your judges.

We repeatedly hear from organizations looking for an easier contest experience for judges who volunteer their time and energy to evaluate entries. Some platforms require that judges download all entries in their category before reviewing which is time consuming, cumbersome and eats up space on their own computers.

With BetterBNC judges simply click on links to review entries hosted online. The process is fast and easy — and it’s one of the reasons we receive so many customer referrals from individuals who have used the platform to judge contests.  Judges want to be able to use their valuable time reviewing and commenting on your entries rather than waiting on downloads.

Schedule your complimentary BetterBNC demo today and we can show you how easy the judging experience can be from the judges perspective.  The platform is also easy and intuitive for contestants and your contest administrator.  Email karen@smalltownpapers.com to take a look.

A Better Way to Judge Your Media Contest

It’s one of the most important facets of the contest experience – the judging structure.  For a smaller contest, it may be fairly simple and straightforward.  But, particularly for larger media contests, reviewing and rating entries can involve a number of judges, more than one judge evaluating each entry, multiple rounds of judging, a wide range of criteria being evaluated and feedback being provided to contestants. It can be quite complex.

BetterBNC can accomodate all of the above.  The base platform is perfect for a straightforward judging process and the platform has modules available for more sophisticated judging structures including:

Entry Asset Manager – Download all attachments, website URLs, and judges’ comments from all contest winning entries at one time. All winning entry content items are organized into folders and uploaded to a secure FTP website for admins to download all at once, saving time and effort.

Detailed Scoring Module – Add multiple criteria to each category’s judging form, each with its own scoring slider and comments field. Reports allow you to retrieve all scores/comments for every entry (winners and non-winners), including up to 5 places for winners. Allows for an enhanced judging feedback approach, allowing admins to retrieve all judge feedback for all entries (winners and non-winners).

Advanced Judging Module – Multiple judges may be assigned per category (automated/manual options), with multiple rounds of judging, and admin reports help you retrieve all winners’ information.Allows for multiple rounds of judging and multiple judges per entry, with all admin reports to help track results at each state.

Multi-round Judging Module – Two or more rounds of judging can be applied to your contest. Once your first round judging is complete, we create a duplicate contest database, allowing each finalist entry to be moved to any new categories/judging set by admin.

BetterBNC can also provide customization for contests with unique judging processes that modules do not address.  Contact us to schedule a complimentary demo at your convenience or to get started with BetterBNC.  Email karen@smalltownpapers.com for details.

An easy switch to BetterBNC

As 2015 wraps up, many organizations are thinking ahead and planning for their 2016 media contest.  We are currently working with several organizations that are switching to BetterBNC from other platforms and most all have asked if there is anything they can do in advance to make it an easy switch and save some time.

BetterBNC keeps it straightforward but there are a couple of things you can do to speed up the process.

  1. Know the structure of your contest.
    We’ll have you fill out a template that we use to build the contest but know the structure ahead of time.  How many categories? Are there divisions? You’ll want to know the names/titles of each?
  2. Understand how the judging process works.
    Some contests have one judge per entry while others have a panel or multiple judges reviewing entries.  Understanding the judging structure will help determine whether you will need a judging module.
  3. Assemble your team.
    Have the contest administrator on board and anyone who will be working with them.  Once the template is submitted, you are able to schedule a training session at your convenience so you’re ready to go as soon as the contest is turned over to you.

BetterBNC builds the contest for your organization and when it’s turned over to you, you’re able to go in and simply make any changes you need from the original template you submitted.  You can also build your customized and hosted contest homepage which comes at no additional cost.  And remember, with BetterBNC, all training and support for the year is included in your base price.  We’re here to help when you need it.

Check out BetterBNC today.  Schedule a demo and see how your contest can be even better in 2016. Email karen@smalltownpapers.com to get started.

The BetterBNC Difference for Your Contest

Thank you for helping make 2015 the most outstanding year yet at BetterBNC! We’ve welcomed more than a dozen new contests in recent months including 3 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) chapters, 7 National Council for Marketing & PR (NCMPR) chapters, a new high school press association and the first National Association of Black Journalists chapter. Additionally, we are busy processing renewals for upcoming 2016 contests. It’s an exciting time at BetterBNC.

All of us at BetterBNC wish you a warm and wonderful holiday season. We appreciate your partnering with BetterBNC to create the very best journalism, creative and PR contest experience for everyone involved in your awards program.

The BetterBNC Difference
We’re often asked by organizations looking to move to BetterBNC, what the main difference is between BetterBNC and other contest platforms. Built and designed specifically for journalism, creative and PR awards programs, BetterBNC offers the most features and benefits important to the media trades.  Our comprehensive, on-demand contest administrator training and support program sets us apart from all others. Unlimited support for contest administrators, judges and contestants is included in your base price – there is never a limit on the support you receive with your contract and you never receive a bill at the end of the year for support.

>>Click here to read what our customers say.
>>Click here to read our December newsletter.

BetterBNC is completely independent of any trade association or political organization and has no external agenda.
We are committed to fairness, transparency and security,
and we work only for you.