ACES’ annual headline contest rewards good headline writing in print and digital media. Entries are evaluated not just on the cleverness of the headlines, but on their sophistication, uniqueness, appropriateness, and likely success in capturing readers’ attention.
Headlines published from January 1 to December 31, 2022, were eligible for the contest.
Headlines published from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022, are eligible. An individual entry (by a single editor) consists of a portfolio of five to seven headlines. A staff entry (by multiple editors in the same organization) consists of eight to 10 headlines. Individuals and staffs may enter as many portfolios as they like, paying the entry fee for each.
All headlines must be submitted through our online form as individual PDFs, generated from the original page file for printed content or, for digital content, by using a "print to PDF" function in a web browser. If you wish, you may crop the PDF to show only the headline and its accompanying story, but you can also submit the full-page PDF as long as you specify on the entry form which headline should be judged.
You need not include the complete text of a story (such as text jumped to another page), but there should be enough text to allow the judges to determine the appropriateness of your headline. Include any related pages in the same PDF file as the headline.
A main headline and all related headlines that accompany it—deck heads, story summaries, jump heads, subheads, etc.—that are part of a single package are considered one headline entry within the entry portfolio. Accompanying photos and captions may also be considered for the context in which they place the headline.
Judges will be selected from a volunteer database, and a judge is not allowed to judge the categories in which they or their co-workers are entering.
The deadline to enter is January 31, 2023, at 11:59 P.M. EST.
The categories make no distinction between print and digital content and instead are mostly distinguished by the content's intended audience.
Each category includes an individual division, for work by a single editor, and a staff division, for work by more than one editor working on a single coordinated staff.
NOTE: ACES reserves the right to re-categorize any entry at its sole discretion.
CATEGORY A (staff and individual divisions) (staff size of 100 or more editorial employees): NATIONAL MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS
CATEGORY B (staff and individual divisions) (staff size up to 99 editorial employees): REGIONAL/LOCAL MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS
CATEGORY C (staff and individual divisions): INDUSTRY/MARKETING/PR/OTHER
CATEGORY S (staff and individual divisions): STUDENT MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS