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Become a judge

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About Judging the Azbees

Who our judges are

The Azbees experience doesn't stop after you submit your entries. Our Awards Committee invites experienced staff and freelance business publication editors, writers, designers, consultants, and academics to join our team of judges in reviewing each All Content, Design, Online, Print and Overall Excellence category. All categories are judged by professionals who are doing hands-on business publication editorial and design work.

Year after year, approximately 60% of our judges return to judge again. Our repeat judges renew the prestige of our competition, while fresh faces help keep us current.

No matter how busy I am, I always judge the Azbees no exceptions and I highly encourage my staff to do the same. Every single year, I come away inspired and full of ideas to improve upon our publications in the coming year. And it makes me proud to be a B2B journalist."  - Tara Taffera, Editorial Director, Key Media & Research

What judging entails

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. Our most prestigious category, Magazine of the Year, has been judged by as many as 20 judges in a given competition year. Judges are able to indicate which categories they are interested in judging on our judge sign-up form; however, final selections for each category are randomized based on interest, the number of categories a judge is willing to cover, and to reduce possible conflicts of interest.

Judges are allotted at least one month to evaluate the entries. Our Awards Committee highly recommends dividing your entries across the number of days you have to judge them — in most cases, this is one to two entries per day. Judges review each entry's essay describing the publication's mission, the enterprising work that went into the entry and its significance to readers. Entries are scored on three to seven major criteria for most categories, with each criterion having "sub-criteria" questions to guide judges.

We ask our judges to be clear and honest in explaining any potential for bias or conflict of interest they find they may have as they review their entries. As a part of this process, judges may be asked to recuse themselves from a category and be reassigned. The Awards Committee continues to accept judge sign-ups after the start of judging in order to cover some of these recusals.

The Awards Committee is supplemented by four "Super Judges" who help facilitate the judging process, check-in with our judges, and who are available to answer our judges' questions. Each Super Judge is assigned responsibility for a Division of categories. Judges will have the contact information for their co-judges as well as the Super Judge for their Division.

We also look for judges willing to "screen" our largest categories, including Magazine of the Year, Print Feature Article and Web Feature Article. Screeners are asked to review the entries in those categories to whittle down the number that go forward to the judging round for full scoring. The screening round is just over two weeks long and precedes the judging round.

According to Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS, Editor-in-Chief of ACAMSToday, the judging process is highly rewarding:

It's an invaluable experience to network with likeminded peers, having a front-row seat to the latest trends and to give back to the community that has nourished me intellectually and creatively."

What comes next

After judging is complete, judges' ratings are automatically tabulated for an average score per entry. In most cases, the top three scores in each category per region receive the Regional Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, and the top three scores in each category nationwide receive the National Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. The Azbee Awards do have a scoring threshold that must be met for each award level in order to maintain the level of excellence to which each entry must rise in order to receive an award. As such, we may not award all levels (gold, silver, bronze) for a given category if entries do not meet this threshold.

With our gratitude

All judges are compensated with 75 Azbee Bucks (the equivalent of $75.00) each year, that can be used toward entries into the following annual competition, membership dues, registration fees for regional banquets or the national conference, or toward webinars, bootcamps or local events hosted by ASBPE. Judges who accept additional responsibilities later in the judging period are generally awarded additional Azbee Bucks as a token of our appreciation for their time and willingness to serve.

Where to volunteer

All interested judges should fill out our judge sign-up form, in order to provide their contact information and indicate which categories they are interested in judging. A member of the Awards Committee will confirm each judge's acceptance and be in touch when categories have been assigned.

If current judges or potential volunteers have any questions, please reach out to the Awards Committee through our contact form.