Read the following rules carefully before submitting contest entries.
If you have questions on how to prepare an entry, contact email@example.com. Contest managers will have the discretion of disqualifying entries that are incomplete or inconsistent with the contest rules.
Entry materials are submitted electronically. This means you'll need to upload electronic files and/or submit URLs that lead to your entries.
Cost per entry
If you choose to pay by invoice ...
If you select "invoice me" as your payment option, MAGC must receive your payment check by Monday, March 9. Unpaid entries run the risk of disqualification.
An extension to the deadline may be granted if you contact firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline and let us know why the deadline is unworkable for you.
Have questions about the invoicing process? Need assistance? Contact email@example.com.
Choose the category or categories for your entries carefully. Each entry will be judged in the category in which it was submitted. Entries will not be moved into other categories, regardless of whether judges think they might fit better in that category.
Refer to the contest categories list for this year's categories.
The Northern Lights Awards competition is open to communicators in the public sector (including federal, state, regional and local government agencies; nonprofit agencies and school districts) and to producers in the private sector who have completed work on behalf of communicators in the above-listed categories.
Projects completed or published between January 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020 are eligible for this year's contest.
You do not need to be a MAGC member to enter the contest.
MAGC reserves the right to use and/or refer to Northern Lights Awards contest submissions in its communications and publications on all media platforms in all publication realms. Examples of areas in which MAGC may use contest entries are:
It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that all URLs submitted as part of the entry are working and active from the date of entry submission through the end of May.
An entry with a link URL that does not provide proper access to the expected asset during the judging process may considered impossible to judge and, as a result, may be taken out of consideration for an award.
MAGC will purchase a corrected trophy upon request, at no cost to a contest entrant, if the trophy contains an error introduced by MAGC during the trophy ordering process.
A contest entrant may purchase a corrected trophy at their own expense if the text of the trophy they've received matches the information they provided on the contest entry form.
Entry fees are non-refundable. MAGC reserves the right to refuse a refund in the case of:
Each judge gives each entry a set of scores that when added produce a total score of 0 - 100. The total scores from all judges are averaged to produce an entry's final score.
Minimum qualifying score: No entry receiving a score less than 70% of the highest-scoring entry in the category is eligible for any award, regardless of ranking. For example, if the top-scoring entry in a category receives a score of 95.4, then all entries in that category with a a score below 66.78 are ineligible for any award. (95.4 * 0.7 = 66.78)
Northern Lights, Silver and Bronze awards: The final scores of all entries in a category are ranked using standard competition ranking (see below) to determine which entries receive awards.
Award of Merit: The Award of Merit honors entries that receive a minimum qualifying score from the judges, when other (higher-scoring) entries have received the category's Northern Lights, Silver and Bronze awards. Any number of Awards of Merit may be given out in a category so long as each has received a minimum qualifying score.
Best of Show: Nominations for Best of Show are made by the contest's judges. Each judge may nominate one entry for Best of Show. Judges are not required to nominate any entry for Best of Show. A nomination for Best of Show will only be considered if the entry receives a Northern Lights Award.
The MAGC board or its designees select a single Best of Show winner from the nominated entries. No person with a conflict of interest (see below) may participate in the Best of Show selection process.
Communicator of the Year Award and Lifetime Achievement Award: Awardees are chosen by the MAGC board or its designees. These awards are not necessarily awarded each year. See Special Achievement Awards for more information about these awards.
Standard competition ranking is used to determine which awards are granted in each category. This ranking system may be familiar to you due to its use in many athletic competitions including the Olympics.
Under this system, the award for each entry is determined by the number of entries scoring higher than it. This means that first place is granted to an entry if no other entry has scored higher than it; second place is awarded to an entry if one entry has scored higher than it; and third place is awarded to an entry if two entries have scored higher than it.
Here are some examples to show how standard competition ranking handles tie scores.
There is a tie for high score.
There is a single high score and a tie for second-highest score.
There is a tie score for third place.
To everyone's surprise, two entries tie for highest score, and three entries tie for the next-highest score.
To everyone's utter amazement, four entries tie for highest score.
Judges must recuse themselves (refuse to accept the judging assignment) if asked to judge a category in which they have a conflict of interest. An example of a conflict of interest would be when a judge is asked to score an entry that is from an organization employing the judge or an organization contracting services from the judge.
Conflicts of interest have become much less common since MAGC has been swapping judging duties with peer groups from other states.
Anonymity of Judges
MAGC may choose to acknowledge and thank the judges as a group, but will not disclose the names of the specific judges for a particular entry or category.