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Northern Lights Contest 2017

About the Contest

 February 17 Contest opens for entries
 March 14 Entry deadline, 4 p.m.
 May 18 Awards ceremony

  
The Northern Lights Awards contest recognizes outstanding work in Minnesota's government, educational and nonprofit communications, and provide valuable feedback for all entries from the communications professionals who judge the contest. The contest is conducted annually by the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators. 

Use the navigation drop-down in our menu bar, above, to access this year's contest categoriesrules, entry form and additional contest information. 

A Northern Lights Award trophy

The Awards

Northern Lights Award (First Place)

The first-place Northern Lights Award is granted to the one entry in each category which stands out from all others as representing the very best in government communications. This award honors an entry whose quality has wowed the judges—exceeding expectations, accomplishing intended goals, demonstrating creativity and making wise use of available resources. Only one Northern Lights Award is granted in each category. If no entry meets the exceedingly high standards for the Northern Lights Award, the judges may opt not to award it.

Silver Award (Second Place)

Like the Northern Lights Award, the second-place Silver Award honors work that represents government communications at its best. This award is granted to an entry that shows excellence in all aspects—an entry that exceeds expectations, accomplishes its goals with creativity and design excellence, and makes excellent use of available resources. Only one Silver Award is granted in each category. If no entry meets the high standards for the Silver Award, the judges may opt not to award it.

Bronze Award (Third Place)

The third-place Bronze Award likewise honors an entry that that shows excellence in all aspects, accomplishes its goals with creativity and design excellence, and makes excellent use of available resources. Only one Bronze Award is granted in each category. If no entry meets the high standards for the Bronze Award, the judges may opt not to award it.

Award of Excellence (Honorable Mention)

The Award of Excellence honors entries that score 85 or higher while not achieving a Northern Lights, Silver or Bronze award. Zero, one or multiple Awards of Excellence may be given out in any category depending on how many entries score 85 or higher.

Best for Least

A single award is granted in the “Best for Least” category. This category honors remarkably good communications done at a remarkably low cost.

Best of Show

The one entry that best demonstrates effective government communications. The "Best of Show" winner is granted by the MAGC board from among the year's Northern Lights Award (first-place) winners.

Special Achievement Awards

Communicator of the Year

An individual may be honored with MAGC's Communicator of the Year Award at the discretion of the MAGC board. The award may not be given every year. Nominations for this award are encouraged. A nomination form will be available by the end of February.

Lifetime Achievement 

An individual may be honored with MAGC's Lifetime Achievement Award at the discretion of the MAGC board. The award may not be given every year. Nominations for this award are encouraged. A nomination form will be available by the end of February.

Contest FAQ

Entering the Contest 

Can I submit the same project in multiple categories?

If your entry fits into more than one category you definitely can enter it more than once. However, there is a fee per entry, so you will pay for each category a project is entered under.

What do I do if I submit a project in multiple categories and one has online submission and the other has hard copy submission?

Provide the entry in the format that each category asks for. This may mean submitting a PDF or URL of your project in one category and a hard copy in another. 

Does the name submitted for the award plaque need to match the name of the person submitting the entry?

Information for the award plaque can differ from the name of the person submitting the entry. The award information should match the person or organization to be credited if an award is given.

If the submitter does not provide award text, the organization or agency's name will be used without reference to any individuals.

Can I submit a photo that has been Photoshopped or similarly manipulated?

Yes. Describe the changes that were made, and include a copy of the original (unedited) photo. The manipulated photos should not be significantly different than the original.

Cost and Payments

I am a member. Can a nonmember coworker submit a project for me and still receive my member rate?

Yes, your staff or coworker can fill out the submission forms for you, but in order to receive the discounted rate, the person filling out the entry form will need to be logged in using an active member's login and password.

The member whose account is used to obtain the discount should should have direct or supervisory involvement in the creation of the project.

How do I pay? How do I get the member rate?

Active MAGC members should log in to the website when submitting their entries in order to receive the member rate of $65 per entry. Your login name is the email MAGC uses to reach you. If you don’t have record of your password, use the reset password link. Tip: Join or renew now so you can enter the contest at the member rate when the time comes. 

If you are a MACTA member but not an MAGC member, please refer to MACTA's communications about the contest, or send an email info@magconline.org, to obtain a MACTA-only discount code that will lower the cost of your entry from $95 to $65.

By the way, we'd love it if you were to join MAGC, and at $85 per year, it's a bargain!

Can I pay for multiple entries all at once?

Yes. After submitting the first entry form, and when you arrive at the payment page, return to the entry form without having submitted payment information for the first entry. Continue to enter your additional projects, skipping payment each time until you are on your last entry. On your last entry, complete the payment process. The payment page will show a list of your entries, allowing you to pay for all of them at once. We recommend that you complete this process in one browser session—i.e., keeping the browser open throughout the process—to minimize the risk that the system will lose track of your earlier entries. 

I'm having payment problems!! Where can I turn for help?

Email info@magconline.org and include a description of the issues you are having along with your preferred contact information.

Can we order extra copies of our trophy?

Yes. A form will be made available soon after the awards ceremony in May for use in ordering one or more duplicates of a trophy from this year's contest. The cost of the duplicate awards will be included on the order form. Pricing is determined by the cost of the trophy plus the cost of shipping it to you.

MACTA Partnership

The Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators is title sponsor for the video portion of this year's Northern Lights Awards.

MACTA is a statewide professional organization of city representatives and staff that, among other priorities, promotes and supports government uses of cable television, including community programming.

Since 2015, MAGC and MACTA have joined hands in the Northern Lights Awards Contest. This partnership is of great benefit to MAGC and to the Northern Lights awards, improving and fostering the continued growth of the contest.

MACTA offers assistance with our event planning, helps in the recruiting of quality judges and helps promote the contest. In turn, MACTA is the title sponsor of the video portion of the awards and MACTA members enter the contest at MAGC member pricing.