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We're so glad you're interested in The Sacramento Press Journalism Open! Not only can you win some great prizes, you can also have an effect on your community and gain some skills in the bargain! Contributing to our site is quick and easy - we can show you everything you need to know to take the act of making journalism into your own hands!
I'm David Watts Barton, the managing editor of The Sacramento Press, our area's top hyper-local, citizen-written 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 are welcome to write about what you know and about what interests you.
We urge you to think small: The blighted vacant lot on your street, the business person you patronize, the leader you admire, the trend you abhor, the community group you support, the artist living above you, the band rehearsing next door. What don't you understand about your neighborhood? What's great about it? What's changing? These questions will lead you to more questions, questions will lead you to people you don't know, and people will lead you to stories that need to be told.
We're here to help: In addition to providing the platform to publish, we also offer copy editing and workshops on various aspects of journalism, from interview techniques to the use of social media. We will do everything we can to help you create the best journalism you can!
And don't forget the prizes! For more on that and on how to enter your work in The Sacramento Press Journalism Open, read on!
Join us in the first Sacramento Press Journalism Open. And remember, we are here to help you commit the best acts of journalism you can! Contact us at The Sacramento Press: To utilize our free copy editing, simply e-mail your story to email@example.com and we'll send the edited version back to you. Colleen Belcher, journalism support manager, is at firstname.lastname@example.org. Managing editor David Watts Barton is at email@example.com.
Journalism as a profession has taken its lumps lately, but there's still money to be made, especially if you win one of the many prizes offered in The Sacramento Press Journalism Open!
Our Grand Prize winner will enjoy a weekend for two at The Village at Squaw Valley and a meal for two at world famous PlumpJack restaurant. We'll even throw in $50 for gas money!
Our contest's first-place winner will get $500 and an original portrait of themselves by Wall Street Journal sketch artist Noli Novak; second place receives $250 and third through fifth places, $100.
All winners, including the 10 additional winners in the more specific categories below, will win a Sacramento Press journalism kit that includes an Olympus digital recorder, a bio-degradable pen, a reporter's notebook and a stylish Sacramento Press T-shirt.
Winners will be announced on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.
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.
We encourage you to take advantage of our free copy editing before you post your article. To get your story copy edited, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important: Every story you enter/post on the site must be tagged "Open2009" in the tag section. Just write those words in the space provided.
Hit "Publish" and you have posted your first story on The Sacramento Press. You've also been entered in The Sacramento Press Journalism Open!
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 non-fiction about the Sacramento area.
Stories may not be re-posts from blogs or other publications, print or online.
Ten additional prizes will be awarded to stories that succeed in various areas, as judged by our staff of professional journalists:
All entries will be eligible for all these categories, as well as the top prizes.
To be eligible, stories must be posted on the site, by you, between 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2009 and 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2009. We will help you post from Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 at 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. until Friday, Oct. 30, 2009; you may come to our office during weekday business hours (M-F, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to post on our computers. You may enter as many different stories as you like, but please enter/post each story only once! Make sure to tag it "Open2009" in the tag section or it will not be counted as a submission. There is no charge to enter. We will shred and recycle any entries that come in on dead trees - we're an online newspaper! Again, you must post the story yourself.
Entries will be judged by The Sacramento Press' editorial department. Decisions will be final.
We want you to win! We offer copy editing and advice on reporting. There will be a workshop on Oct. 13 to help 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 in one of our four home counties, and be at least 18 years of age.