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OCW Golden Quill: What it Takes to be a Winner

What does it take to win the Old Cars Weekly Golden Quill Award for your club publication? Follow these helpful tips to improve your chances.

For many years, the annual Golden Quill Award has brought recognition to numerous publications in the old car hobby, and continues to be a source of pride for winners. Clubs are honored by the selection. Members are pleased they belong to a “winning” club.

Of course, publications are not the only gauge that an old car club is successful. But the club’s publication often is a barometer of the club itself.

What does it take to be a Golden Quill Award winner?

Officials with Old Cars Weekly News & Marketplace  need to receive copies from the clubs. It is preferred that the following be added to club mailing lists for each issue, as it is fresh. This allows for inclusion in the Club Clips column any time during the year. Send gratis copies to:

Editor, OCW
700 E. State St.
Iola, WI 54990

Gerald Perschbacher,
Golden Quill Judge
8868 Rock Forest Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63123-1116

The next step is to produce a publication that fulfills the following:

+ Meets the needs of club members
+ Is consistently high quality in design and content
+ Offers a balance in content (news, features, technical, etc.)
+ Presents fresh and creative material that advances the hobby
+ Is a good-will ambassador for the club
+ Is visually attractive and interesting

“It is important that club publications show growth,” adds Angelo Van Bogart, editor, OCW. “The advances in printing have made quality graphics and color renditions very affordable. Story selection and content is another factor that needs attention, since competition between club publications seems to become stiffer each year. Congratulations to the winners—and if it is not in this list, take heart; maybe YOUR club will be honored in the near future.”


Didn’t see the name of your club or its publication on the list of winners of the Golden Quill Award? Take heart with several simple steps that should be avoided, thus enhancing your club’s efforts.

Use good, interesting pictures of cars, events, and people. Quality and clarity are important. Don’t squeeze or distort pictures. Identify the subjects. Offer variety in angles and perspectives. Photos are especially good for the front and back covers.
Polish the text. Fix typos, misspellings, and incomplete thoughts.

Be legal. Do not reprint without permission. Also, do not heavily rely on reprints to form the main corpus of the publication. Use borrowed material sparingly.

Stay fresh and current. News attracts readers. Updates and reports on recent events trace your club’s history and may offer an incentive for future attendance.

Be accurate and as complete as possible with locations, names, officials, cars, year of manufacture, and related items.

Mention names of members. This builds rapport and identity . It also attracts readers who check to see if they are mentioned.

If your club’s publication had been a winner but isn’t on this list, then perhaps it is because competition has become keener while your publication has become too comfortable . Creativity and freshness in content and design are very important factors for winning.

Some “don’ts” that should be avoided:

DON’T place pictures on a page without identification.
DON’T toss pictures helter-skelter; instead, arrange them in a pleasing and logical manner.
DON’T avoid advice from others.
DON’T neglect to ask other club members to provide stories or pictures.
DON’T over-burden your club editor; offer as much help and support as possible.
DON’T miss deadlines. Receive and process submissions on a regular basis instead of letting the material accumulate or grow so old they cannot be identified.
DON’T overdo with type styles, headlines, or graphics.
DON’T forget that the main purpose is to communicate.
DON’T neglect to staple or saddle stitch your newsletter (this makes it much easier to handle and use for reference throughout the month(s).
DON’T  overuse certain types of articles. Balance between technical, historical, member features, events, reports, and ads.
DON’T  forget that your publication serves its club and members!

When your club publication carries its content in an enjoyable, enlightening, positive , and interesting manner, it will truly be a winner for your club—and maybe even an example for others.

The next round of Golden Quill Awards will be announced in the April 24, 2008 issue of Old Cars Weekly.

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