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Azbee Awards Entrant FAQs

If you are an judge with questions, please see our Judge FAQs instead. If you have a question about entering the Azbee Awards, please check these FAQs to see if your question is listed. You can use the Find command (Windows: Ctrl+F / Mac: Command⌘+F) to search for keywords in your question. If your question is not answered below, please reach out to the Awards Committee through our contact form.

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Q. Who is eligible to enter?
Please view our eligibility requirements.

Q. Who is eligible for ASBPE membership?
A. ASBPE is a professional society for editors, writers, designers, freelancers and other professionals who work on business, trade and association magazines, newsletters, business journals/newspapers, websites and social media platforms, along with students and journalism educators with interest in B2B media. Individuals can apply for membership. In order to receive the member discount in the Azbee Awards, each entrant must be an ASBPE member and use their ASBPE.org username and password to log in to the awards system. 


Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. We accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card and American Express. All entries must be paid for online at the time of submission.

Q. I have created an online account, but I have not found an online payment form. Where is it?
A. You will see links to go to the cart or submit another entry after adding each entry to your cart. You can pay for all of your entries at once.

Q. When will my credit card be charged? Will I receive a receipt?
A. When you submit the checkout form, your credit card will be charged immediately. An invoice formatted as a PDF file will be available to download and print. You will also receive an email with a link to download your invoice. Please make sure we are added to your organization's safe sender email list.

Award Notifications

Q. How will I know if I won?
A. Finalists will be notified individually via email to the entrant once the judging is completed. Regional finalists will be announced on or around March 10, and national finalists will be announced after the last regional awards presentation. Finalist and winner lists will also be posted on ASBPE.org.

Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners will be announced at the ASBPE regional and national awards presentations. Regional awards events are held in April each year. The national event is held in conjunction with the ASBPE National Conference. Please visit the Events page to find dates for awards events once they become available.

Q. Do you have digital award badges that can be used in our publication mastheads and other promotional materials?
A. Yes. After awards are announced, we email winning entrants a link to access our digital award badges. We recommend that entrants forward this email to their design and/or marketing departments.


Q. I won a regional award. Does that mean I am moving on to the national competition?
A. All entries for a given category are automatically entered into the regional and national competitions for that category. The top scoring entries overall will receive the National Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. The top scoring entries in each region will receive the regional awards.

Q. What categories are eligible only for national awards?
A. The Magazine of the Year, Digital Magazine of the Year, Website of the Year, Multi-Platform Package of the Year, Social Media Account of the Year and Email Newsletter of the Year categories honor only national winners. All other categories receive both national- and regional-level awards. At the discretion of the judges and the awards committee, sometimes a few other categories might only have national winners.

Q. How are the entries judged?
A. Each category is reviewed by at least two judges depending on the number of entries in a given category and the prestige of the category. For example, for Magazine of the Year, we've had as many as 16 judges. Our judges are business publication editors, writers, designers, consultants and academics who are on the front lines doing hands-on business publication editorial and design work — truly your peers.

All judges have approximately one month to evaluate the entries. Each category is judged on two to seven major criteria; each of these has important "sub-criteria." Their scores are averaged to yield a final score for each entry. The judges' decisions are final.

Interested in judging? Read more about the judging process.

Q. How does the Azbee Awards committee ensure unbiased judging, when the trade editorial community is so close-knit?
A. Although it's always possible that any contest might have unintended bias or may have judges who know entrants, our conflict-of-interest rules reduce the likelihood of bias influencing the contest. Azbee judges have a great track record of disclosing their own conflicts of interest and recusing themselves. We do not allow judges to work on a category they, their publications, or their parent companies have entered.

Q. Do the judges change each year?
A. Generally, about half the judges change each year. We try to balance continuity with fresh perspectives, but in all cases the judges are thoroughly qualified. We are always looking for new, experienced B2B professionals. If you are interested in judging, please submit the judge sign-up form.

Q: Why did my entry receive a Silver or Bronze award, but no Gold award was given in that category? 
A: Every winning entry receives an award based on scores assigned by our judges after a holistic review. ASBPE judges carefully evaluate all entries in a given category using strict, highly competitive criteria for each category. As part of this process, some categories may not see Gold, Silver and Bronze winners every year.


Submission & Category Questions

Q: What if I feel like my entry has been submitted into the wrong category? 
A: Please reach out to the Awards Committee through our contact form. We will review, make the final determination and move the entry to a new category if warranted. 

Q. We are entering a category in the Design division, and our design uses a stock image. Is that allowed in the Azbee Awards contest?
A. ASBPE recognizes that stock imagery is commonplace within the publishing industry. As such, we do allow submissions to use stock imagery. However, the entrant must declare that the work used a stock image in the entry essay to make the judges aware. Entrants must also ensure, per our eligibility requirements, that they have purchased the stock image and are not violating intellectual property rights in its use.

Q. We have a print feature we would like to enter, written for the magazine, but later running on our website. Can we enter that?
A. Yes, you may enter the print article in the appropriate category in the Print division, provided it was published in print first. But you may not enter it in a category in the Online division. It may be entered in the Design division or All Content division, however.

Q. We have an end-of-year issue that has a cover date of 2023/2024. Can this issue be entered in the 2024 Azbee Awards program?
A. Our rules require that the issue date (cover date) be within the entry year, not the mail date, printing date or publishing date. In the specific case where the issue date spans two different years, you may enter it only if it was mailed in 2023. If it was mailed in 2024, please enter it in the following contest year (to open November 2024). It is not appropriate to enter the same materials twice, in two different years.

Q. The issue date rule seems clear; however, we have a quarterly magazine that bears an issue date of Winter 2024, but was published (mailed) in late December 2023. I want to make sure that the content for this issue would only be eligible in next year’s competition. Please clarify.
A. If the issue date on the cover says January 2024 or Winter 2024, you cannot enter it into the 2024 Azbees, since the eligible issue dates must be between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023. Please enter it next year.

Q. Our publication was redesigned for 2023, and the first issue of the redesign has a January 2023 date. The issue immediately preceding the redesign is a 2022 issue; does that make us ineligible to enter this category?
A. This is the one exception to our eligible dates. For the Publication Redesign category only: If the first issue of your redesigned publication is the January 2023 issue, a publication date from late 2022 is acceptable for the issue immediately preceding the redesign. We will not however accept 2022 or 2024 publication dates for the first issue of the redesign.

Q. If a person is no longer with a company but wrote an article worthy of submitting for an award, may that person still enter the article or section in the contest?
A. Yes, however it would be considerate for you to inform the editor of the publication that you are entering the material.

Q. We have a new department on original research. Should we enter this in the Regular Department category or the Original Research category?
A. The answer to this is determined by your calling the entry a department, rather than an article. The Original Research category calls for the original research to be in the form of a single article. However, this original research article still may be entered as part of an entry into the Regular Department category.

Q. What is the difference between a Regular Column, Editorial and Editor’s Letter? Can a chief editor enter the Regular Column category, or is this meant only for other staff editors? That category says columns “should interpret or comment on issues pertinent to the publication’s readers.” Can’t that also describe an editorial?
A. There is a major difference between an editorial, an editor's letter and a column. An editorial is a column that provides the viewpoint of the magazine itself, not of the individual who writes it, much like in a newspaper. In a magazine or online publication, the top editor on staff would usually write the editorial, but it could be written by the publisher or the executive director of an association, in the case of an association publication. Editorials are usually persuasive — making a case with supporting facts and addressing opposing arguments — and sometimes include a call to action. Editor's Letters act as the "entry point" to the publication, sometimes include personal observations or anecdotes, and offer insight and context on topics within the issue. The Regular Column category, however, allows a place for a personal column written by editorial staff members (even the top editor), freelance contributors or industry expert contributors to be rewarded.

Q. If I enter a column into Regular Column, might it get moved over to the Editorial or Editor’s Letter categories? Who makes that decision? If I enter one category and it gets switched to another, am I notified? Can I withdraw my entry and get a refund of the entry fees?
A. If you enter a column into Regular Column, it is highly unlikely the entry would be moved to the Editorial or Editor's Letter categories.

However, ASBPE does reserve the right to move an entry from one category to another, if appropriate. Sometimes people enter the wrong categories, but it is very rare. The Awards Committee would make the final decision. While we cannot always inform the entrant in advance, because of time constraints, entrants are generally notified within a few business days of the committee's decision to move an entry. Entry fees are not refundable.

Q. Can a news section be entered in the Regular Department category?
A. No, we accept news section material in our Industry News Coverage categories (Print and Online divisions).

Q. It says in the rules that you may not submit the same material in more than one category. Is that just between Print and Online, or between the Overall Excellence categories too? If I submit an article to the “Feature Article” category under Print, does that mean I can’t submit the same article for “Feature Article” under Design?
A. If you have a feature article, you may enter the article in both the Print Feature Article category and the Design Feature Article category. However, you would not be able to enter that same article in the Online Feature category (even if it was published both in print and online - please submit it to the division corresponding with where it was published first).

There are a few exceptions:

  • If an article is part of a series or section, you can enter it into one category as part of a series or section (such as Feature Series, Single Topic Coverage by a Team or Special Section) as well as a single-article category (such as Case Study, Data Journalism or News Analysis). However, for articles that are not part of a series or section, you are only allowed to submit the article in one category from the All Content division, Print division or Online division.
  • If you enter an Overall Excellence category, you may submit any part of any of the submitted material into a Print, Online, All Content or Design category. Remember that the Overall Excellence categories limit entrants to one submission per publication in each category.
  • If you submit an article into a single-article category AND a series or section category, you must note in your essay that the single article is part of a series or section so the judges are aware.

Q. Are “advertorials” accepted in editorial and design categories? How do you define “advertorial”?
A. No, advertorials by definition present advertising as editorial and cannot be submitted into the Azbees contest. On the other hand, sponsored content — where the editorial and design staff retain complete control over the article, section or supplement — can be submitted into the Azbees so long as it is properly labeled.

Q. Would an article, story, etc. written by one of a publication’s advertisers, or someone employed by one of a publication’s advertisers, be eligible for any of your editorial or design awards?
A. Given the answer above, this might sound contradictory, but such an entry may be eligible. Editors often ask a representative from one of the publication’s advertisers to write an article. This is especially true in smaller technical publications because the advertiser has the technical expertise to write on the topic. In this case, however, the editor must have complete control over the article’s development, writing, editing and presentation. This kind of article may be submitted in the appropriate categories.

Q. Regarding the Original Research category, we do an annual study that has grown so large that we now publish it in two parts. Should both those parts be submitted as one, or would that be considered two separate articles for the purpose of these awards?
A. Per the category description, please enter only one article. You can note in your essay that the article is published in two segments so that the judges have context on the size of the study.

Q. We have three print feature stories packaged under a single theme in one issue (10 pages total). The Feature Article category refers to submitting one story, but the Feature Series category refers to being in multiple issues. How should we submit this?
A. A single-theme package of features from a single issue should be submitted in the Special Section or Single Topic Coverage categories. The Feature Series category is specifically for a series that appeared in multiple issues.

Q. We devoted an entire issue to a single theme. Since all the stories appeared in one issue and the entire issue was entirely devoted to one subject, it doesn’t qualify as a Feature Series, a Special Section or a Special Supplement according to those categories’ descriptions. Where can I enter these stories?
A. We recently updated the Special Supplement category to Special Issue or Supplement. Your special issue devoted to a single topic or theme is now eligible in that category. Otherwise, you may submit up to five articles from your issue to the Single Topic Coverage by a Team category in the Print division.

Q. My question relates to the Profile categories: If the story is a legitimate profile piece but profiles three individuals, all of whom share oversight of a single company, may it be entered in the Company Profile category? Or must it be entered as a Group Profile or Feature Article instead?
A. If the article focuses on the three individuals and their professional development, please enter it into the Group Profile category. If the article's key focus is on the company's development as told by the three employees who work for the company, please enter it into Company Profile.

Q: For the Publication Redesign category, does the redesigned issue/edition submitted have to be the very first issue/edition of the redesign?
A: Yes. It must be the first issue/edition of the redesign. ASBPE acknowledges that designs may be adjusted slightly in subsequent issues/editions. However, if everyone enters the first redesigned issue/edition judges will have a fairer comparison. The exception would be if the first redesigned issue was a special issue or directory (see next question).

Q. Regarding the Publication Redesign category, the rules say to enter the first issue/edition of the redesign and the issue/edition immediately prior to the redesign. It also states that the first regular issue (not a special issue) prior to the redesign should be submitted. If the first issue of the redesign was a special issue in which certain departments and other content don’t match what is in the issue immediately prior to the redesign, should I enter the last issue before the redesign and the second issue of the redesign (the first issue after the special issue)? Or should I just enter the first issue of the redesign, even though it was a special issue?
A. The purpose of this category is to be able to judge regular, not special, issues. In this case, you should enter the first regular issue showing the redesign and the last regular issue of the old design. Be sure to say what you are doing in your essay so the judges are aware.

Q. Would a themed issue that is tied to various department sections in the publication qualify in the Special Section category? For example, we have feature stories running throughout the book in various department sections on a single theme. The issue also features a cover story on the topic. These stories are clearly tied together with a logo. However, they are not packaged together as one whole special section.
A. If this is a special issue devoted to a single topic or theme, it is now eligible in the Special Issue or Supplement category. If your themed issue reflects additional topics or themes, we'd recommend submitting up to five articles from your issue to the Single Topic Coverage by a Team category in the Print division, as your multi-theme or multi-topic issue may not be compared fairly to issues with a single topic or theme.

Entry Preparation, Forms, Shipping

Q. What files should I prepare for my submission?
A. Please view our submission requirements to help you prepare your entries. Be sure to review the category description for any category-specific requirements. Please note, if you are entering the Magazine of the Year category, you'll be required to mail three sets of hard copies of your publication to ASBPE.

Q. What types of PDFs are required for online entry?
A. We require screen-optimized PDF files. High-resolution files may not render properly when viewed by judges online. Your publication's design team can assist with exporting these files. Note: You MUST include fractional or full-page ads within or on adjacent, facing pages of the article you are submitting. We also recommend formatting sections and full-magazine submissions so that inner pages are spreads and leaving off all printer marks.

Q. Are digital files mandatory for any electronically submitted Azbee Award entry, or can we send in hard copies? And what’s the procedure for that?
A. All entries submitted require digital entry files to be uploaded. However the Magazine of the Year category also requires you to print a copy of your invoice to submit along with three sets of physical copies of your chosen issues as part of your mail-in submission. All other categories do not allow mail-in submissions, only digital PDF uploads.

Q. Why do I have to mail in so many hard copies for my Magazine of the Year entry?
A. Entries are forwarded to multiple judges, so we need multiple sets of your complete entry. Mail-in entries require three sets of the same issues submitted in your online entry.

Q. Is it OK to submit a PDF for a print editorial entry from a tabloid? Will a printout of such a file be shrunk down and too hard to read?
A. It is acceptable to enter a PDF from either a tabloid-sized or regular-sized publication. It will be up to the individual judges whether they choose to print off the entries or look at them only on their computer screens. If the judges choose to print the PDFs, they do so knowing that some of the quality and/or size may be lost in desktop printing.

Q. The entry fee covers just one entry, correct? So, if I wanted to submit two entries for the category of How-To Article, it would be double the regular entry fee?
A. Yes, the fee listed is for one, individual entry.

Q. Will ASBPE confirm that it has received my shipment?
A: Due to a high volume of entries, ASBPE is not able to confirm each shipment received. We require entrants to ship their submissions using a service that provides a tracking number. An ASBPE representative will reach out if we have not received your mail-in submission by the entry deadline.

Q: What if I change jobs or move after I enter the Azbees?
A. If you win an award but are not able to attend a regional or national awards presntation and your address has changed, please reah out to the Awards Committee through our contact form. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the entry, and the publication or website that the award is associated with. We will only honor address changes submitted by the entrant.

Submitting Entries Online

Q. Who needs to create an Azbee Awards account?
A. Anyone using the Azbee Awards entry system — whether a member of ASBPE or a non-member — needs to create an online account. Once a competition account is created, the individual will be able to complete all entries without filling in his or her basic information each time. The process will also help publications keep their entries together and pay for groups of entries together. Publications may submit unlimited additional entries, prior to the deadline. You can also complete the checkout process multiple times, if you prefer.

ASBPE members must use their ASBPE.org login credentials (same username and password) to log into the contest website in order to receive the member discount on entry fees.

Q. Is there any way to edit entries after they are submitted online — for instance, if I have made mistakes on names or categories?
A. You may save in-progress drafts and edit entries only if you have not completed the payment/checkout process. Once you finish the checkout process, you may submit new entries but not edit previously submitted entries. If you notice any glaring issues with your submission, please reach out to the Awards Committee through our contact form. Please note: once judging is completed and awards preparation is underway, we can no longer make edits to the information that will be presented on your awards.

Don’t see your question answered here?
Please reach out to the Awards Committee through our contact form.