(Please note: Changes have been made to numbers 6 and 9. The writing contest accepts a single entry submitted to multiple categories where the category description applies, e.g., cookbooks may be entered in Best Book and Best Beer and Food Writing, if the author sees fit.)
1. NAME AND PURPOSE: The North American Guild of Beer Writers Awards honors the year’s most outstanding writing on beer and brewing.
2. GOVERNANCE: The NAGBW Board of Directors annually appoints an awards committee consisting of at least one person, including a director or co-directors. Each member will serve a one-year term. The awards committee is responsible for establishing, amending and interpreting the contest rules, appointing judges and otherwise administering the contest. The judging panels appointed by the awards committee are responsible for choosing place-winners from among those entries in each category that comply with the contest rules. The awards director is responsible for day-to-day administration of the contest, in consultation with the awards committee. Only the judging panels may select the contest winners, not the awards committee or the NAGBW board, staff or awards personnel.
3. PRIZES: A $100 first-place prize, $50 second-place prize, and $25 third-place prize may be awarded in each category. In categories where judges have not selected any place-winners, they may choose up to three entries as honorable mentions. Each winner will also be awarded with a certificate.
4. ELIGIBLE ENTRANTS: All writers are encouraged to enter. Judges may not judge a category if they submit entries to that same category.
5. ELIGIBLE SUBJECTS: Only writing that is predominantly about beer, brewing or closely related topics is eligible for the contest. The awards committee is the final authority for determining whether an entered story meets that standard.
6. ELIGIBLE STORIES: For purposes of the contest, the eligible entry must have been published between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, for the contest closing August 25, 2014. An work that has been entered in the contest may not be entered in a subsequent year’s contest, even if it has been republished in a different medium (print to web, for example). Work published online is eligible as long as the site is accessible to the general public. Contestants are permitted to enter a single work in multiple categories, where the entry meets the category's requirements. Each entry requires an entry fee.
7. NON-ENGLISH ENTRIES: Entries in languages other than English must be accompanied by a complete and accurate English translation.
8. CATEGORIES: The categories for the contest are as follows – columnists and bloggers should choose their top five columns/posts for submission:
Best Book: Any work primarily about beer, brewing or a closely related topic published in book form.
Best Magazine Article or Column: Any work primarily about beer, brewing or a closely related topic published in a trade or general circulation magazine.
Best Online Magazine Article of Column: Any work primarily about beer, brewing or a closely related topic, published exclusively online, either at a website for a print publication or an online only website managed by an editor or editorial board.
Best Newspaper (Paid Circulation) Article or Column: Any work primarily about beer, brewing or a closely related topic published in a general circulation newspaper.
Best Brewspaper/Free Zine Article or Column: Any work primarily about beer, brewing or a closely related topic published in a trade or general circulation periodical. This category differs from the “Magazine” category in that work properly entered in this category appeared in publications that are generally free to consumers and not typically sold on newsstands.
Best Blog: Any web log or website that’s regularly updated with content that is primarily about beer, brewing or a closely related topic. Submit top 5 posts.
Best Beer and Food Writing: Any published work that could be entered in one of the above categories, but covers both food and beer, in some combination of the two together.
Best Broadcast/Podcast: Any work primarily about beer, brewing or a closely related topic in a video or audio medium such as film, television, online video, radio or podcast.
9. MULTIPLE ENTRIES: Contestants may submit more than one entry per year, in the same category or in different categories. Individual articles/ works are allowed to be entered in more than one category where the entry meets the category's requirements, however each entry requires a separate fee.
10. ENTRY FEE: NAGBW members in good standing must pay NAGBW a fee of $15 per entry to be eligible for judging in any category. Non-members who do not wish to join must pay $30 per entry. Non-members who wish to join NAGBW for the first time and who qualify for membership may pay a special rate of $50 that covers one contest entry and the first year’s membership in NAGBW.
11. COPIES OF ENTRIES: Broadcast and online entries may be submitted via website links as long as the entry is viewable or audible, and is on a website maintained by the entrant or publisher of the entry. Television and radio links must yield good quality visual and audio replay. Entries may be submitted via web links where the entry is viewable on a website maintained by the entrant or publisher of the entry, or by uploading appropriate and reasonably sized digital files of the work (see submittable.com for file sizes). Whether online or uploaded files, the entry must contain the same coverage as the original aired, published or posted entry, with all graphics, headlines and photos included (where applicable). For book entries, the option will be provided for entrants to mail in three (3) as-published copies if digital copies are unavailable.
12. DEADLINE: Entries must be submitted electronically no later than midnight, your local time, August 25, 2014, to qualify for judging in this year’s contest. If you are submitting physical books, the package must be postmarked by August 25, 2014.
13. COMPLETENESS OF ENTRY: An entry will be considered complete and eligible for judging if it complies with the contest rules and includes the correct entry fee plus a completed and submitted electronic entry form, which will include a cover letter and links or uploaded file of the entry. Entrants may also be asked to provide documentation demonstrating they are eligible for the category they are entering.
14. INCOMPLETE OR NON-COMPLYING ENTRIES: The awards committee or the associated category’s judging panel may disqualify entries that are incomplete, illegible (such as exceptionally small type or poor photocopying), or that do not otherwise comply with the contest rules. In cases where the awards director or awards committee determines that an entry is substantially but not fully complete, the awards director may contact entrants and give them extra time to provide any missing copies or other required information after the regular entry deadline. Entry fees will not be refunded to disqualified entrants.
15. DISCLOSURE: Any material corrections or retractions following the original distribution of the work, as well as any conflicts of interest or any appearance of a conflict of interest, must be disclosed on the entry form. Failure to do so will result in the disqualification of the entry.
16. CATEGORY SWITCHES: The NAGBW Awards committee and/or director may switch entries between categories if the entry is deemed incorrectly classified.
17. APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES: For each category it establishes, the awards committee each year will appoint a panel of at least three judges, including a panel chairperson responsible for making sure the panel follows the rules, meets the judging deadline and writes citations for the place-winners. Each panel must have an odd number of judges to avoid evenly split votes. At its discretion, the awards committee may appoint the same judge or judging panels to select winners in more than one category.
18. QUALIFICATIONS FOR JUDGING: Judges include journalism professors, fellow journalists, and writing or beer-industry professionals, or have similar qualifications that the awards committee considers appropriate. Judges must read and familiarize themselves with the contest rules and abide by them. Judges will receive a token reading fee for their efforts.
19. REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT OF JUDGES: The awards committee will appoint a replacement for any judge unable or unwilling to follow the contest rules or otherwise fulfill his/her obligations as a judge in the contest. Mere disagreement with a judge’s selection of a winner is not grounds for removal by the awards committee. If the awards committee determines that a judge it has selected is not qualified, the committee will name a replacement.
20. JUDGE RECUSALS: Judges must recuse themselves from judging or in any way discussing all entries that involve their own organizations. Whenever a judge is uncertain whether a recusal should occur, the judge will contact the awards committee, which will determine whether a recusal is appropriate. A judge who has recused herself/himself from judging an entry may participate in judging the other entries in the same category. However, if a judging panel determines that, because of a recusal, it cannot reach a decision on selecting place-winners, the awards committee may replace the recused judge.
21. JUDGING PROCESS: Judging panels must meet in person or via telephone conference call to select place-winners. The chairperson of each panel is responsible for selecting dates and times for judging that are convenient for the entire panel. Judges may never discuss contest entries with anyone outside their judging panel, and may not discuss entries with other panel members unless the entire panel is participating in the discussion. Judges will use their own judgment in determining which entries constitute the most outstanding work in the categories they are judging. At its discretion, the awards committee may, at the beginning of the judging process, provide all of the contest’s judges with standardized, non-binding guidelines to help judges evaluate entries. Judges must consider the entered stories and the supplemental materials in judging an entry.
22. QUESTIONS FROM JUDGES: Judges will contact the awards director or the awards committee if they have questions about interpreting the rules of the contest, including whether an entry is in the correct category, whether an entry is on an appropriate subject, or whether an entrant is eligible to participate. The awards committee, by majority vote, has the final authority to interpret the rules of the contest and will advise the judges accordingly. The committee’s role in those cases is strictly limited to interpreting the contest rules and may not include expressing a preference for any particular entry.
23. NUMBER OF WINNERS: The judges may select up to three winners or three honorable mentions, or a combination of up to three place-winners and honorable mentions in each category. Judges are free to select fewer or no place-winners or honorable mentions, if no entries are deserving of the honors. Place-winner ties are not allowed. No more than three entrants may be honored per category.
24. DISPUTES: Judging panels will make every reasonable effort to reach a consensus in selecting place-winners. In case of a split decision, the majority rules. If a member of a judging panel believes a fellow judge is not following the rules of the contest, the complaining judge may contact the awards committee, which will determine whether the contest rules are being violated. Judging panels’ selections of place-winners are final except in extraordinary cases in which the awards committee determines that the contest’s rules have been violated. The awards committee may not overturn a judging panel’s decision merely because the committee believes another entry is more worthy. The committee may act only if by majority vote it determines that the judging process violated the contest rules or that a place-winning entry must be disqualified for failing to comply with the rules. In that extraordinary case, the judging panel will promptly reconvene and make another selection. Unless serving individually on a category’s judging panel, under no circumstances will the awards committee, the NAGBW board of directors, or the NAGBW staff or awards personnel select winners or honorable mentions.
25. CITATIONS FOR WINNING ENTRIES: With input from the rest of the panel, the judging chairperson will write brief statements (at least one paragraph each) explaining why the place-winning entries are worthy of special recognition. These citations must be reviewed and approved in writing by all members of the judging panel, and then sent to the awards director. They may be published later on the NAGBW website and elsewhere after the winners are publicly announced.
26. JUDGING DEADLINE: All judging panels must make their final decision no later than September 19, 2014. By that date, the chairperson of each panel must inform the awards director of the panel’s decision and send the director the citations for the winning entries. All judges on each panel must independently communicate their agreement with the panel’s decision. The awards director will then review all the place-winning entries and honorable mentions with the committee chairperson(s) to ensure that they comply with contest rules.
27. CONFIDENTIALITY: Judges must never divulge any information about their deliberations, including their evaluation of individual entries, except to inform the awards committee about which entries are award recipients and to transmit the citations for the prize-winning entries. The only exception is that under extraordinary circumstances judges may be asked by the awards committee to discuss their deliberations with the awards director and/or committee, but only if the director or committee believes that information will help them make a determination on whether the judging process or a particular entry violates the contest rules. In that case, the awards director and/or committee will also keep that information strictly confidential.
28. DISCLOSURE OF WINNERS: Winners will be announced at the beginning of October, or as soon as possible after judges have completed their deliberations.
29. DISPLAYING AND ARCHIVING WINNERS: Copies of place-winning stories will be retained in an archive by NAGBW and may be reproduced in NAGBW publications and websites, with credit to the work’s copyright holder.
30. RULE CHANGES: In close consultation with the NAGBW staff and board of directors, the awards committee by majority vote may amend the contest rules prior to the call for entries, including modifying the categories, award amounts and entry fees. The contest’s budget, however, must always remain within the limits established by the NAGBW board of directors.
31. POSTING OF RULES: Contest rules are posted on the public portion of the NAGBW Internet site. If possible, the names and affiliations of all judges and awards committee members will also be posted there.