SmallTownPapers, Inc. Lauches Online BNC Contest Platform

Press associations move to streamline annual contests
SmallTownPapers, Inc. is pleased to announce the release of its new online contest platform which allows press associations to move their Better Newspaper Contest (BNC) online. The integrated contest platform, dubbed the “Better BNC”, streamlines the entire BNC process: newspapers quickly and easily upload entries as PDFs, judges review and evaluate entries online, and the contest administrator manages the entire process from their desktop.

Traditionally BNC contests are run with physical tear sheets submitted as entries which are logged in, sorted and verified by staff. Eventually the entries are shipped to judges who then physically read each entry from the tear sheet. Judges then report their decisions back to the association staff.

“We’ve had a great experience with SmallTownPapers as BetterBNC has developed over the past few years,” said Mae Waldron, member services manager of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA). “We appreciate the ways the site saves us time and money. Our members, instead of scrambling to overnight piles of tearsheets to our office to meet the deadline, enter PDFs and URLs on the site. Being able to print a log of their contest entries is a perk for them. Judges have told us they prefer the online judging process over writing comments on paper forms and want their association to start using the site.”

While the idea of changing to an ‘all-digital’ contest might seem initially daunting, users quickly realize that having their own online account keeps things organized and makes entering, judging and administering their journalism contest easier than ever.

“Sometimes it takes a while for new methods to be adopted, but this product is rapidly revolutionizing a manual process that has been around for decades,” said Paul Jeffko, founder of SmallTownPapers, Inc. “Now contest managers are focused on moving their entire BNC process to the desktop quickly and reliably without having to build their own software. Better BNC fits the bill perfectly.”

“I was trying out the site to see how it would work. It was fun and fast. The forms printed great and look so much better than my terrible handwriting,” explained Mike Schiro with the Port Orchard Independent newspaper.  “If I can use the site…anyone can.”

Nineteen news organizations are currently using the Better BNC online contest platform including Washington Newspaper Publishers Association (WNPA) which first moved its contest online three years ago. Oregon, New York and Arizona are now on their second year of use. Other organizations selecting Better BNC include SPJ and Associated Press.

Other features of SmallTownPaper’s online BNC include customizable web pages reflecting the associations own brand, logo, rules and other materials. Entries can be made in various file formats such as PDF, JPEG, and text, or a URL web address for web entries. The centralized database holds all contest information, all of the entries and data are backed up daily and the contest archive remains available after the contest completion.

Working with press associations who wanted to streamline their antiquated process of running a manual “Better Newspaper Contest,” SmallTownPapers developed the first all-digital online contest application where newspapers enter their articles as document or image files and judges review online from their own desktop. The BNC contest administrator can now deploy and manage the entire process online from the BNC Administrative Console. Visit BetterBNC for more information.

About SmallTownPapers
SmallTownPapers is a leading solution provider for publishers of America”s 5000 small market newspapers. Working with publishers nationwide, the Seattle-based company digitally preserves current and archive editions and provides searchable online access to the newspapers. Additionally, SmallTownPapers provides millions of news consumers across the country with access to real-time news and information from small town America. Today, more than 350 newspapers from 46 states can be accessed and searched through SmallTownPapers. The archive, containing editions dating as far back as the 1800”s, continues to grow as publishers discover SmallTownPapers in their search for comprehensive digital archive solutions.

For more information contact:
Carter Cheston
Call 503-351-5057

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SmallTownPapers articles available from Lexis Nexis

Subscribers to some of the country’s largest information providers such as LexisNexis are now able to access unique content from small town and rural America within the “Discover America’s Story” title.

The content is rich with articles relevant to geographic locations often under-reported or overlooked by mainstream news coverage such as natural resources, agriculture, land use, water rights and farming. Small-town news, op-ed, business, arts and government are covered along with legal notices and obituaries.

Discover America’s Story articles provide insight into what is happening in-town and in-county while providing a local point of view on larger issues such as state, regional and national politics and world affairs.  The collection of articles, which is produced by SmallTownPapers and includes more than 250 titles from across the US, is continuously updated.

The articles are organized within “United States – Regional News Sources” in products where users can select or search for “Discover America’s Story.”

SmallTownPapers is an online gateway to newspapers from small town America – past and present. Working with publishers from across the country, the company digitally scans current and archived newspapers and then provides online access. Contact SmallTownPapers for more information – or call 206-938-9073.

News/By Country & Region/United States – Regional News Sources
News/Individual Publications
Discover America’s Story

  • 250+ Community newspaper titles from nearly every state
  • Continuously updated
  • Covers under-reported & overlooked stories
  • Features rural, local & small-town articles
  • Available on LexisNexis
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is SmallTownPapers?
A: SmallTownPapers, Inc. is a Seattle-based company dedicated to using archive and internet technology to make newspaper archives from small towns available to anyone with a computer. SmallTownPapers works with publishers to create high quality images of newspaper archives that are completely searchable online through the SmallTownPapers website (

Q: How is SmallTownPapers different from other digital newspaper archives?
A: A traditional searchable archive is a text file and provides the reader with the ability to search published articles. SmallTownPapers creates images of superior quality by scanning directly from the printed newspaper pages. Viewers see the newspaper just as it was printed and can search for any term appearing on the page in articles, photographs and advertisements.

Q: Who will be interested in accessing the SmallTownPapers archives?
A: The archives of newspapers from America’s small towns possess inherent value. They hold substantial unique information that does not appear in regional or national newspapers. This information is valuable to numerous segments of society including researchers, genealogists, historians, governments and legal professionals. Until now, accessing these archives meant an individual had to travel to the location where each archive is stored and then sift manually through each page looking for the information desired. SmallTownPapers creates high-quality images of the newspapers and places them in an internet accessible digital archive that is completely searchable. Millions of pages of information can be accessed from a single source using a common internet browser.

Q: Aren’t these newspapers creating their own digital archives?
nA: Many independent publishers who produce these newspapers generally operate with a strict budget and can rarely afford to create digital archives of their papers. Very few were even recorded on microfilm. Creating digital images of an entire newspaper archive is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for newspapers with tight budgets and limited staffs. If some type of archive is not created, these newspapers will eventually deteriorate and then disappear altogether due to the frailty of newsprint paper. SmallTownPapers provides the technology and production services at no cost to the publisher.

Q: How many newspapers have their archives available on the SmallTownPapers website?
A: Currently there are more than 130 newspapers from 27 states represented on the SmallTownPapers website, but this number is expected to soon grow to several hundred publications.

Q: Which newspapers can place their archives on the SmallTownPapers website?
A: The newspapers must be small community-based publications serving a certain geographic area, and the newspaper must produce its own content.

For more information contact SmallTownPapers.

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SmallTownPapers Unveils Archive Management Tool for Newspaper Publishers

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Karen Tarica,
(206) 369-0855              

SEATTLE, WA – August 29, 2005 – SmallTownPapers, Inc. is pleased to introduce ArchiveInABox, turn-key archive management for newspapers. ArchiveInABox is a complete system, created by SmallTownPapers, that publishers can use to move their printed and microfilmed newspaper archives into a high-quality digital format that is made accessible online.

“Newspaper publishers across the country expressed interest in the simple yet powerful SmallTownPapers system created for moving printed archives from small town newspapers to digital format providing access to newspapers that previously had been inaccessible to anyone outside the newspaper office,” said Paul Jeffko, president and founder of SmallTownPapers. “With ArchiveInABox, we are able to offer that system to a new group of customers who are searching for an easy and cost-effective way to digitize, access, search, distribute and market their collection of bound book archives.”

With ArchiveInABox, a newspaper publisher simply places their bound book archives in a provided military grade shipping box. SmallTownPapers handles everything for the publisher including shipping, logistics, scanning, post-processing, distribution and marketing. The archive books are scanned intact and safely returned to the publisher. Once the scanning process has been completed, post-processing software including Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is used to create fully-searchable digital images of the newspaper pages which are uploaded to the appropriate internet servers. The online newspaper pages appear exactly as they were printed and a search will locate and highlight keywords appearing in articles, photograph captions and advertisements.

“This is an absolutely necessary extension of our newspaper,” said Tim Robinson of Robinson Newspapers in Seattle which is in the process of working with SmallTownPapers to digitize a portion of its archives dating back more than 80 years. “We embraced this concept because it serves a wide audience of interest.”

For Robinson Newspapers, the digitizing project means peace of mind knowing the bound archives can remain in storage – safe and intact. The publishers know that now there are few reasons anyone will ever need to thumb through the delicate, aging pages of the bound books. Instead, newspaper reporters, researchers, genealogists and others needing information about their community’s history have immediate access to a high-quality, easy-to-search, online version of the newspaper.

Publishers, including Robinson Newspapers, appreciate the careful handling of their bound volume archives. For the scanning of the delicate books, SmallTownPapers contracts with Maryland-based Crowley Micrographics which is known for its experience, expertise and high quality standards in the “non-destructive” scanning of old and fragile bound books and large format materials such as newspapers. The company uses specialized, high-resolution, overhead scanners created by Zeutschel, a global leader in high performance scan systems.

Currently, SmallTownPapers has produced 300,000 pages of newspaper archives dating back to the 1800s.

About SmallTownPapers SmallTownPapers is an online gateway to newspapers from small town America – past and present. Working with publishers from across the country, the company digitally scans current and archived newspapers and then provides online access. Through the SmallTownPapers website, the newspaper archives can be searched by keyword or phrase and viewed as originally printed. SmallTownPapers, Inc. is based in Seattle, WA.

For more information visit

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