Model Language

State press associations hosting their own public notice journalism contests may want to consider adopting the model language below.

The purpose of this competition is to recognize excellence in journalism that draws reader attention to public notices, and to encourage reporters and editors to incorporate public notice and public notice issues into their reporting and writing.

For purposes of this award, public notice is defined as announcements or disclosures the law requires a governmental unit or private party to publish in a statutorily qualified newspaper.

Entries must consist of a news story or series (not an editorial or opinion piece) initially prompted by a public notice that drew attention to the subject, or in which a public notice or the omission of a public notice figured heavily in the reporting. Stories should reference and/or provide a link to the notice; or if the story is based on a public notice requirement that was not met or was deficient, it must describe the deficiency.

Editorials or opinion pieces about public notice DO NOT qualify.

In addition to the story, entries that aren’t about the omission or deficiency of a public notice must include a copy of the original notice that was the source or subject of the reporting.

Entries may be accompanied by a brief explanation (one single-spaced page or less) that provides context about the story and/or a description of its impact.