‘Strengthening community news’ competition deadline Nov. 1

October 5, 2018

Research papers that provide insight and guidance on issues facing community weeklies are invited for the third annual ISWNE/Huck Boyd “Strengthening Community News” competition, but authors should be aware that the first deadline for the two-page proposals is Nov. 1, 2018.
This peer-reviewed competition is jointly sponsored by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors and the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media at Kansas State University. Its purpose is to “engage the academy and the newsroom in productive conversations about community journalism,” according to David Gordon, a past ISWNE president and the competition’s coordinator.
The author of the top paper in the 2018-2019 competition will receive a full scholarship and a travel stipend to attend ISWNE’s annual conference and present the paper. The conference will be June 19-23, 2019, at Emory University in Atlanta.
All accepted papers will be published in ISWNE’s quarterly journal, Grassroots Editor.
The two-stage submission process will start with a two-page proposal that outlines the project and explains clearly and concisely how the final paper will be of practical use to community weekly newsrooms.  The second phase will be a final paper that uses reviewers’ comments on the proposal to develop it into a finished product.
Those papers should provide guidance on general issues and/or everyday problems facing community newspapers. Examples include legal, political, or ethical issues; alternative print/digital integration models; methods to achieve economic savings while maintaining editorial quality; techniques for staff recruitment and retention; or relationships between communities and their news organizations. Proposals from graduate students are especially encouraged, as are those with an international focus or reflecting an international perspective on community papers’ newsrooms.
Paper proposals will be peer-reviewed immediately by members of Grassroots Editor’s editorial board, who also will review the completed papers.  Both the proposals and final papers also will be evaluated for their specific value to community weeklies’ newsrooms. This will be done by a panel of ISWNE members with experience in those newsrooms.
“The review by both academics and practitioners is something that makes this paper competition different from most in our field,” Gordon said. “The other ‘different’ aspect is the speed with which the peer-reviewed papers will move from acceptance to publication.”
The two-page proposals must be submitted electronically by Nov. 1, 2018, to Gloria Freeland, director of the Huck Boyd Center, at gfreela@ksu.edu. This year’s timetable has been moved ahead to enable the top paper to be selected in time for presentation to the ISWNE conference ahead of publication.
The suggested length for the final papers is 2,500 to 6,000 words. They are due by April 1, 2019.
The author of a second paper in the competition will be invited to write a 400-450 word summary of it for the ISWNE Newsletter, in addition to publication in Grassroots Editor.  The authors of both top papers will receive one-year memberships in ISWNE.
The full Call for Proposals is available on the ISWNE website at iswne.org. It contains the full calendar for the competition, as well as examples of relevant topics. Questions may be directed to Gordon at adgordon@charter.net.

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