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The first Sacramento Press Journalism Open was a success, and we’re ready to do it all over again! We will have some exciting prizes for our top submissions, and your stories could be chosen for our section pages or newsletter for thousands to read and enjoy.
Becoming a published writer is easier than you think, and we’re here to walk you through the process and get you committing acts of journalism.
I'm David Watts Barton, editor in chief of The Sacramento Press, our area's top hyper-local news website, where we focus on up-close, in-depth coverage of neighborhoods like yours. We aim to spread the traditional habits of good journalism – accuracy, fairness and a diversity of opinion – across the Web. We do it with a mix of professional and amateur writing from around the community.
We're hosting this contest because we want you to join us. The future of journalism may depend on you. Your ideas, your questions and the answers you find will increase the amount of good, local information you and your fellow citizens need to make informed decisions, whether it's about city government or where to go for entertainment. And once you've asked the questions you want answered, we want you to write for The Sacramento Press – because citizens like you are The Sacramento Press!
This contest is a pro-am, where writers of all skill levels and points of view – writers like you – are welcome to write about what interests you.
No story is too small for The Sacramento Press. Do you have a business you love, a community volunteer you admire, a trend that disturbs you, people who give you hope, city employees who drive you crazy? What don’t you understand about City Hall? What do people need to know about your neighborhood? What’s old and admirable? What’s changing?
Any of those questions could lead you to people you don’t know as well as you’d thought, or introduce you to people you didn’t know. And you can share that new-found knowledge with your fellow citizens.
That’s where The Sacramento Press comes in: In addition to providing the platform to publish, we also offer free copy editing and workshops on various aspects of journalism, from interview techniques to photography to ethics. We will do everything we can to help you create the best journalism you can.
And we have cash prizes!
For more on that and on how to enter your work in The Sacramento Press Journalism Open, read on!
We suggest that you write your story in a separate writing application and then, when you've finished and had it copy edited, cut and paste it into our site.
To utilize our free copy editing, simply e-mail your story to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll send the edited version back to you within 24 hours.
For specific questions, you can contact our customer service expert, Casey Kirk at email@example.com. She can help you along in the process.
Important: Every story you enter/post on the site must be tagged "Open2011" in the tag section. Just write those words in the space provided. You should also feel free to add tags to you story in the space provided, especially choosing one of our “section” tags – Culture, Business, Politics and Sports – depending on which one fits the story best.
Hit "Publish," and you have posted your first story on The Sacramento Press. You've also been entered in The Sacramento Press Journalism Open!
CATEGORIES & CRITERIA FOR JUDGING
Entries will be judged by our editorial staff, and that judgment will be subjective. But we will be using criteria for what we think good journalism is. Among those criteria are:
Stories can be any length, but they must be original nonfiction about the Sacramento area.
Stories may not be re-posts from blogs or other publications, print or online.
Finally, we will give extra weight to high-quality photographs, either accompanying stories or standing on their own with explanatory captions.
To be eligible, stories must be posted on the site, by you (using your real name), between 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2011 and 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2011. We will be able to help you post either over the phone or in our office during our normal business hours (10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Monday through Friday).
You may enter as many different stories as you like, but please enter/post each story only once! Make sure to tag it "Open2011" in the tag section or it will not be counted as a submission. There is no charge to enter.
Entries will be judged by The Sacramento Press editorial department. Decisions will be final. Limit one prize per applicant. Winners will be announced Feb. 14, 2011.
There will be a workshop from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12 at The Sacramento Press office to answer your questions. Be careful that you're happy with what you've written; once it is published on the site, it cannot be modified.
You must live or work in one of our four home counties listed above, and be at least 18 years of age. High school students under the age of 18 can enter if they have a parental consent form.*
*Parental consent forms must be signed in person by a parent or legal guardian of the minor entering an article. To arrange for this, please e-mail Casey Kirk, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial Note: The rules have been changed to allow for people who work (not just who live) in one of the four counties we cover (Sacramento, Yolo, El Dorado, Placer) to enter the contest.