Thanks for a great contest in 2020. Northern Lights Contest information will be updated for 2021 toward the end of January.

Contest Categories

Projects completed or published between January 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020 are eligible for this year's contest.

You may submit a project in one or more of the categories listed below. A separate entry (and a separate entry fee) is required for each entry in each category. There is no limit on the number of entries you may submit.


Note: the following categories and descriptions are subject
to change until the start of the contest on February 3. 


1. Creative Achievement

Illustration or Graphic

An illustration or a graphic. Provide examples of the illustration or graphic in use. 

Logo, Icon or Icon Set

A logo, icon or icon set. Provide examples of the item(s) in use. Include previous logos, icons or theme art if applicable. 

Photography

An individual photo or a series of photographs, along with proof of publication or display. Describe any enhancements and manipulations made to the photo(s). If the manipulations add, or significantly change the nature of, or remove elements in the photo(s), provide a copy of the original, unedited photo(s).

Writing

The text from a news release, feature article, opinion piece, speech, blog post or other writing specimen used to educate, inform or establish a policy position. Entries will be judged for quality of writing only, not on layout or design.

2. Publications (Electronic or Print)

Annual Report

An annual report, distributed in electronic or print format.

Multipage Publication

A booklet, brochure, calendar, pamphlet or other multipage publication, distributed in electronic or print format.

Newsletter or Magazine

A periodical publication, distributed in electronic or print format. Upload PDFs or equivalent electronic files representing three consecutive issues, all published between January 1, 2019, and February 29, 2020. In your description, make note of the publication's publishing schedule (weekly, monthly, once every 2 months, quarterly, etc.).

One-Page Publication

A poster, infographic, map, flyer or other publication that combines text and graphical elements, distributed in electronic or print format.

A project consisting of a single sheet of paper, or the electronic equivalent, may be entered in this category, whether the design covers only one side of the paper, or both sides. For example, a map or flyer on a single sheet of paper, whether one- or two-sided, or its electronic equivalent, may be entered.

Program or Catalog

A program, activity catalog or other catalog, distributed in electronic or print format.

3. Video

Agency, Event, Program or Service Video

A video designed to educate or inform audiences about an agency, event, program or service.

You may upload a complete video of any length, a continuous unedited 10-minute segment from a longer video, or a single video combining up to 3 segments separated by black depicting beginning, middle and end. Judges will be not be required to watch more than 10 minutes of video total per entry.

Community Interest Video

An educational or informational video featuring community members, organizations, clubs, events, programs or other stories that generate human interest.

You may upload a complete video of any length, a continuous unedited 10-minute segment from a longer video, or a single video combining up to 3 segments separated by black depicting beginning, middle and end. Judges will be not be required to watch more than 10 minutes of video total per entry.

Instructional Video

A training or demonstration video for an external or internal audience.

You may upload a complete video of any length, a continuous unedited 10-minute segment from a longer video, or a single video combining up to 3 segments separated by black depicting beginning, middle and end. Judges will be not be required to watch more than 10 minutes of video total per entry.

Interview, Talk Show or News Magazine

A regularly scheduled program that reports current events through reports, packages, interviews or conversations in studio or on location.

You may upload up to 3 unedited segments individually, or you may upload a single video combining up to 3 segments separated by black. Judges will be not be required to watch more than 10 minutes of video total per entry.

Promotional Video

A promotional or profile video, over two minutes in duration, that highlights an organization, event, program or service.

You may upload a complete video of any length, a continuous unedited 10-minute segment from a longer video, or a single video combining up to 3 segments separated by black depicting beginning, middle and end. Judges will be not be required to watch more than 10 minutes of video total per entry.

Public Health or Public Safety Video

An educational or informational video designed to highlight public health or public safety agencies, issues, programs or services.

You may upload a complete video of any length, a continuous unedited 10-minute segment from a longer video, or a single video combining up to 3 segments separated by black depicting beginning, middle and end. Judges will be not be required to watch more than 10 minutes of video total per entry.

Video Campaign or Series

A campaign or series with three or more segments intended to educate or raise awareness about an issue or topic.

You may upload up to 3 unedited segments individually, or you may upload a single video combining up to 3 segments separated by black. Judges will be not be required to watch more than 10 minutes of video total per entry

Video Short or Social Media Campaign

A short video, or a series of up to three short videos, used for promotional purposes, as a public service announcement or as part of a social media campaign.

Videos entered in this category should not exceed 2 minutes each in length.

4. Plans and Projects

Crisis Response

An organization's response to an unexpected or disruptive event, organizational crisis, natural disaster or emergency. Provide a narrative of the situation and the response. The entry may include information about preparedness, response, recovery, communication and other relevant elements.

Marketing or Communications Plan

A marketing or communications planning document, new or revised, that defines the intended outcomes, strategies and timeline for communicating with constituents about a specific project, program or topic. Include documentation of the plan's implementation and results.

Public Information Project

A project to raise the profile of government or a government activity, program, service or product. Submit all relevant material.

Special Event

An event to raise the profile of a government-related organization, agency, activity, program, service or product. Examples: a State of the County presentation, news conference, media event, or open house, or an event for a specific audience not necessarily open to the public. Submit all relevant material.

5. Digital Communications and Engagement

Community Engagement

An effort to increase community engagement, participation and awareness, with documented proof of success. Projects employing digital and/or non-digital engagement tools and techniques are eligible. Engagement tools may include, but are not limited to, community engagement platforms and services, blogs, microsites, podcasts, mobile apps, chatbots, and so on.

Projects that solely use social media tools to promote engagement should be entered in the Social Media Engagement category.

Social Media Engagement

A campaign that uses social media to promote public engagement, with documented proof of success.

Website Design or Redesign

A new or significantly redesigned intranet or external website. If entering a redesign, provide screen shots of (or other access to) the previous version of the site.

6. Excellence in Smaller Organizations 

Digital Engagement

Entry limited to smaller organizations

This category celebrates excellence in digital engagement or social media engagement performed by smaller organizations and agencies.

To enter a project in this category, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Your organization's communications staff has no more than two full-time positions (2 FTE), adding up all full- and part-time communications positions; OR
  • Your organization's total annual budget for communications, including salaries, is no more than $300,000; OR
  • Your organization's entire annual budget (all departments and work groups) is no more than $6 million; OR
  • The total population your organization serves is no more than 15,000 people.

Printed Publication

Entry limited to smaller organizations

This category celebrates excellence in digital engagement or social media engagement performed by smaller organizations and agencies.

To enter a project in this category, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Your organization's communications staff has no more than two full-time positions (2 FTE), adding up all full- and part-time communications positions; OR
  • Your organization's total annual budget for communications, including salaries, is no more than $300,000; OR
  • Your organization's entire annual budget (all departments and work groups) is no more than $6 million; OR
  • The total population your organization serves is no more than 15,000 people.


Questions?

If you have questions about these categories, please contact info@magconline.org

Minnesota Association of Government Communicators | 5775 Wayzata Blvd, Suite 700, PMB #200-016 | St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Phone: 952-237-9258 | Email: info@magconline.org

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