Contest Categories

EPA's annual contest spans two categories: the “Awards of Excellence” and “Higher Goals.”

(Click to print or download the list of categories with the judging criteria.)

Awards of Excellence

EPA’s Awards of Excellence competition honors overall excellence. Judges in this category evaluate a number of criteria, including writing quality, content choices and design. Members compete only against publications in their same category.

There are two divisions: Print and Digital/Online. Each member publication can enter only the print or digital Awards of Excellence division in which it is a member. Print publication members have the option to hold a dual membership (print and digital) and enter in both the print and digital Awards of Excellence divisions.

For print publications, three consecutive issues must be submitted. If your publication is semi-annual, two issues will be acceptable, but include a note to the judge with your submission. For digital publications, the judge will review content as submitted. Please double check that all of your links work so the judge has access to your contents.

The categories in this contest are:

Campus: A publication produced by students — generally a newspaper or magazine.

Christian Ministry: A publication that serves workers in Christian education, churches, or other ministries.

Denominational: A general publication serving as the official voice of a sponsoring denomination.

Devotional: A publication offering daily devotional readings and Bible studies to inspire readers.

General: A general-interest publication that is not the voice of organizations or denominations.

Missions: A publication with a theme of missionary evangelism (“home” and/or “international”).

Newsletter: A newsletter-format, publication informing people united by interest in a subject or organization.

Newspaper: A newspaper-format publication, generally serving a geographical area with timely news.

Organizational: A publication that is the official voice of a group other than a denomination.

Youth: A publication intended for youth audiences up to college-age.

Most Improved (print division only): A print publication that has made significant content and/or design changes in the past year. (Submit three consecutive issues from this year, and the three corresponding issues from the previous year.)

NOTE: Print publication members may only submit in a digital category if they hold a dual membership in both print and digital (with the exception of Campus publications which may enter either or both).


Higher Goals Categories

The Evangelical Press Association’s Higher Goals competition honors individual aspects of a publication, such as writing, photography and design. Members compete against all other publications.

The categories in this contest are:

Editorial categories

Article Series: Multiple articles on a topic from two or more consecutive issues (not a regular column or feature).

Biblical Exposition: Any original biblical or theological treatment of a doctrine or Scripture passage.

Cause of the Year: International Religious Freedom.

Critical Review: A review of book(s), video and movies, drama, music and concerts or other media.

Department: Regular section with a recurring title, with one or multiple writers. Submit from three consecutive issues.

Devotional: Inspirational biblical or spiritual piece to aid spiritual growth, with application. May be part of a series.

Editorial: Any opinion piece written by an editorial staff member.

Evangelism: An article to Christians meant to help believers learn to share the gospel more effectively.

Fiction: An original short story (including a parable).

First-Person Article: Autobiographical account.

Freelance Article: Articles in this category must be entered by a freelance writer who is an EPA Associate member. The article must have appeared in an EPA member publication or, if published in a non-EPA publication, it must have a faith-relevant theme. (Publication members are not eligible to enter this category.)

General Article – Short: Any original nonfiction article with a word count of 900 or less. .

General Article – Intermediate: Any original nonfiction article with a word count between 901 and 1,400.

General Article – Long: Any original nonfiction article with a word count of 1,401 or more.

Humorous: An original fiction or nonfiction article or editorial using humor to communicate.

Interview Article: An article based on in-depth interviewing (can be a Q-and-A or use direct and indirect quotations).

Personality Article: A biographical account, either historical or contemporary.

Poetry: A single original poem.

Reporting: Any news story originating with the publication.

Standing Column: A regular column under a recurring head by one author. (Submit columns from three consecutive issues.)

Student Writer of the Year: Article by a student writer and published in an EPA member publication. (Entered by publication.)

Design & photography categories

Cartoon: A single cartoon (or panel, or cartoon in comic book format) not illustrating an article.

Cover: Must use the publication name. (For print periodicals only.)

Original Art – Digital/Mixed Media: Illustration based on or incorporating photographic elements. May include special use of type.

Original Art – Traditional: Non-photographic illustration. (May be a cartoon illustrating an article. May include use of type.)

Photo Feature: Text and photography originating with the publication.

Photography Use (3 consecutive issues): The use of photography for the publication as a whole. Submit three consecutive issues by mail (for print periodicals only).

Publication Design (3 consecutive issues): The graphic presentation of editorial content of the publication. Submit three consecutive issues by mail. (For print periodicals only.)

Publication Redesign: For significant design change. Submit hard copy of one issue with the new design, plus the corresponding issue from the previous year by mail. (For print periodicals only.)

Single Photo – Candid: Original photo of subject acting naturally or spontaneously in uncontrolled lighting and conditions.

Single Photo – Controlled: Original photo (not stock) of subject posed in situation with controlled lighting and other conditions.

Table of Contents: Overall concept and design that includes blend of typography, text, photo, and/or illustration.

Two-Page Spread Design: Graphic presentation that includes blend of typography, text, photo, and/or illustration.

Typography and Lettering: Use of typography and/or lettering to enhance communication and appearance. Can be a single page, a spread or an entire article.


Feature Article: The entire multi-page presentation of a single feature article, including editorial content, related sidebars, title, use of imagery, overall design.

Single-Theme Section or Issue: In-depth treatment of a single topic with multiple articles, including editorial content, related sidebars, title, use of imagery, overall design. This can be a multi-page section within an issue or the entire issue.

Titles: Enter three feature story titles that powerfully draw readers into each story. Submit entire layout for each article.

Blog: Single Post: A single blog post. Can be part of an organization's website or other online site. (Restricted to Online /Digital and Associate members.)

Blog: Website: A complete blog site authored by one person or a group of individuals. Can be part of an organization's website or other online site. (Restricted to Online /Digital and Associate members.)

Website design (judge will visit site): Overall aesthetic appeal and usability of a website. (Restricted to Online /Digital.)