2014 CWA Communication Contest Rules

Read carefully. The General Rules (1-21) apply to all contestants. Read ALL of them and the Category-Specific Rules that apply to your category. If, after reading the rules, you have any questions, please contact the Contest Chair for clarification PRIOR to sending in your entry.


1. THE ENTRANT MUST COMPLY WITH ALL RULES. Deviation from the rules will result in rejection of an entry and loss of the entry fee. Entrants will be notified of disqualification in as timely a manner as possible. However, CWA is not responsible for disputed entries. Entries will be disposed of or returned at the entrant’s expense.

2. ALL REGULAR CATEGORY AND SPECIAL AWARD ENTRIES MUST BE POSTMARKED BY JULY 1, 2014, to qualify for the contest. Mail all entries to CWA Contest Chair Marci Kladnik, PO Box 592, Los Alamos, CA 93440. Emailed entries will not be accepted.

3. All entries must be sent in such a manner that they can be reasonably expected to arrive within 7 days of the July 1 postmark deadline. Regardless of the delivery method you choose, you MUST specify that the recipient need not be present in person to sign for the material. It is the entrant’s responsibility to package the entry carefully, so that it will not be damaged in transit. Posters and other large items should be packaged in tubes. CWA will not assume responsibility for items that arrive damaged or do not arrive at all.

4. If you wish acknowledgment of receipt of your entry, do NOT contact the Contest Chair via email or phone but include a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the entry or send via “confirmation receipt” mail (NOT “registered” which requires a signature confirmation).

5. NOTE: All checks are held until mid-July before being sent to the Treasurer for depositing, and therefore may not be cashed until weeks after sending your entry in.

6. The contest is open to anyone whose work qualifies in any CWA contest category and was first published or broadcast between June 16, 2013, and June 15, 2014 (with the exception of Online Magazine or Newsletter, and Website which will be judged live between August 1 and August 31, 2014).

7. Entries must not have been published before in any medium. To qualify, previously published work must have been rewritten with at least 20 percent new content to qualify.

8. Publication date is the published date cited on the entry. When there is a question regarding eligibility, it is the entrant’s responsibility to clarify the issue, that is, to include with the entry a signed letter from the publication’s editor or publisher clarifying the date of publication.

9. All contest entries must be published work. “Vanity” publications are not eligible. However, quality self-published professional work is eligible and will be judged based on the same criteria as all the other entries in a given category. It is the entrant’s responsibility to provide supporting documents with self-published entries to clarify that the work does, indeed, qualify under this rule. For example, self-published work MUST be offered for sale by professional outlets (that is, book stores, commercial websites, and other venues not owned by the author/artist).

10. Entries in all categories should devote one-third or more space to cats. If an entry is not feline-specific, the work must at least relate to them or it will be rejected.

11. Foreign language entries will be accepted, but they must be accompanied by a complete English translation. Entrants must provide three copies of the original that clearly show the date and name of the publication, and three copies of the translation. Bear in mind that the judges cannot judge the quality of the translation; they will base their decision solely on the English language content. Entries in graphic arts categories are the exception, as they need no translation.

12. An entry must be entered in a Regular Category to be considered for a Special Award. Send one additional copy of the piece along with a Special Awards entry form to the Contest Chair for each Special Award entry. (Exceptions: For the Shojai Mentor Award and the Michael Brim Distinguished Service Award, submit three copies of each nomination form. No additional entry form or copies are needed for consideration for the President’s Award; the winner of the President’s Award is chosen from among the Muse MedallionTM winners, and all Muse MedallionTM winners are automatically considered.)

13. An individual person or entity may submit an unlimited number of entries, but each individual work can be entered only one time in one Regular contest category. In other words, the same individual work may not be entered in more than one category. (See Graphic Art exceptions below under Category Specific Rules.)

14. Anyone may submit an entry on behalf of an author/artist, but the award will be presented solely to the author/artist of the entry.

15. A volunteer discount is available to current CWA members only. CWA professional members who volunteer to judge in the contest and CWA associate members who volunteer to assist the Contest Committee will receive a discount on their Regular entry fee as specified on the entry form.

16. All judges are chosen by the Contest Chair and the Contest Committee. Entries in the Regular Categories are reviewed and judged independently by three professional CWA members and their scores are averaged by the Contest Chair to determine the winner. Winners of Special Awards are selected by judges who are not CWA members and are not affiliated with the award’s sponsor; each Special Award category is judged by one judge. Special Awards sponsors may be shown the winning entry before the award is given, but that decision is at the discretion of the Contest Committee.

17. Entries will not be returned. Judges’ decisions are final. Situations not specifically addressed in these rules may arise from time to time and shall be adjudicated by the Contest Chair and the Contest Committee.

18. The Contest Chair has the right to make category changes as deemed necessary. The Contest Chair may also delete or combine categories if there are not sufficient entries. What constitutes sufficient entries is decided by the Contest Chair, but there is no absolute minimum number of entries for any category to be judged. If, in the opinion of the judges, no entry represents excellence within a category, no award will be given.

19. Regular Category award finalists receive a CWA Certificate of Excellence and shall be notified in October. In order to earn a certificate, the individual must score an average of 90 or higher based on the scores submitted by the three judges for each category. The winner in each Regular contest category shall receive the CWA Muse MedallionTM. Special Award winners shall receive recognition as specified in the Special Awards list.

20. Contest results will be announced at the Annual CWA Awards Banquet and published in the Winter 2014 MEOW newsletter and on the CWA website at www.catwriters.com. Please do not call the Contest Chair or anyone on the Contest Committee to ask if you have won. Those who do not have access to the Internet or the CWA newsletter may enclose an SASE for a list of winners. Please mark on the back of the envelope “CWA Contest Winners.”


Submit each Regular Category entry with a SINGLE ENTRY FORM and THREE HARDCOPIES of the piece.

The CWA Entry Form, with category and subcategory noted, must accompany each entry and must be sent to the Contest Chair along with the total entry fee at the time of entry. An entry that is missing any element (required number of copies, entry form, non-working URL, entry fee…) will be considered incomplete and will not be judged. ALL ENTRIES MUST BE COLLATED and ENTRY FORMS MUST BE LEGIBLE. Illegible entries will be disqualified. (If possible, please download the interactive pdf from the CWA website and keyboard directly onto it.) If entry fees are paid online via PayPal, include a copy of the receipt with your submission.

Provide THREE clean photocopies of the entry in a large enough format to be read. If the judge has difficulty reading an entry, it may be disqualified. Online articles, columns and blog posts must be submitted in hard copy along with the original URL and publication date included so that entries may also be viewed online at the judges’ discretion. The exceptions are the categories Online Magazine or Newsletter, and Website, which will be judged live on the Internet during the judging period as specified below. For these categories only, submit an entry form with the URL included.

1. Audio/Visual entries must be submitted in their original form; that is, a transcript of a radio or television program is not acceptable — an actual audio or video recording must be entered. Video entries must be submitted as a DVD that plays in a standard DVD player or, if published online, as a URL link. If an entire radio or television program is less than 10 minutes long, the entrant may select his/her three best short programs and enter them as a single entry. Entries must be submitted in the name of the program host; guests are not eligible to win.

2. Blog entries may be posted either on corporate or nonprofit sites, or as an individual. Submit your three best blog posts in hard copy with the original URLs and publication dates included so that entries may be viewed online. Judging will take into consideration the overall look and feel of the blog as a whole in addition to the three best posts. No other single blog entry within the contest year may be entered as a single article in any other category. The exception is that DIFFERENT individual posts may be entered but only in the Editorial or Humor categories.

To qualify for these categories, personal blogs must 1) have been posted one or more times weekly for at least one year, with the first blog post dated on or before the first day of the current contest year specified in General Rule #6 (this will be verified by judges); 2) include proof of the past month’s traffic to the blog site via a copy of the first page of an online stat counter such as Google Analytics, StatCounter, or another traffic counter that shows visits and page views to the blog; 3) state how the blog is being monetized – through ads, sponsored posts, or use as an author’s platform to sell or promote books, speaking engagements or education. The judges assigned to the category will check to make sure this monetization is on the blog otherwise the blog will be disqualified.

Blogs on corporate or nonprofit sites automatically qualify and do not require the above qualifications. However, if you are blogging on a corporate, nonprofit site or on a monetized blog that posts less than once a week, you should consider entering your blog in one of the “Online Article” categories.

3. In the Books categories, e-books will be accepted. The author is responsible for providing the Contest Chair some means of enabling judges to read the e-book for free, such as an Amazon.com gift card or coupon code. The submitter of self-published books must also provide supporting documents containing sales figures and commercial sales venues not owned by the author.

4. Columnists (magazine, newspaper, newsletter, and online categories) must choose only their three best columns and submit them as a single entry. None of these three best may be entered as a single article in any other category. The exception is that DIFFERENT column installments may be entered, but only in the Editorial or Humor categories. (A column appears regularly in the same publication[s] with the same column title, byline, slug, URL, and/or artwork. If the same column appears in both print and online media, only one triplicate entry can be made.)

5. All Graphic Arts category photos or illustrations may appear again as a part of a writing entry (for example, as part of a magazine article or a book). All entries will be judged solely in the original published form (either printed or online), NOT by art or photographic prints, which may be of higher quality. Submissions should only include three copies of the best published printed piece or URL for online work.

6. For the Newsletter categories, a newsletter is distinguished from a magazine in that the newsletter does not take paid advertising and is sold only to subscribers (that is, it is not sold on newsstands). Single cat breed newsletters and nonprofit/charitable newsletters are the exception in that they may take paid advertising.

7. In the Newspaper categories, when an entry first appeared as a syndicated article, in those specific cases where a syndicated writer is not able to obtain actual copies of the published newspaper articles, the entrant may provide a copy of the original article and a letter of authentication from the syndicate editor.

8. Online articles/columns must be submitted in hard copy along with the original online URL with publication date included so that online entries may also be viewed online at the judges’ discretion. Online columnists must comply with Category-Specific Rule #4 above.

9. The categories Online Magazine or Newsletter, and Website will be judged directly from the entrant’s website between August 1 and August 31, 2014. For these categories only, submit an entry form with the URL included.

10. Category IX.5 Photographic Art is defined as any photo that has been altered in any way, either digitally or manually.