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Saturday, February 4, 2023

The New Yorker Caption Contest: What is it? What are the rules? How to win it?

Along with the era of advanced science and technology, our everyday life has also evolved in ways we could have never imagined. The long essays we used to write in our best handwriting have been transferred to the keyboard and printed paper. The fun drawings we used to make as little kids have emerged as a whole field of graphic design. What is New York caption contest?

Similarly, the books we used to read in hand while sitting in a library have turned into mobile phones. There used to be an era when we used to save up the whole month to buy a book for mental peace, to sit in a corner without straining our eyes at the least. And now, they have turned into Ebooks and mangas instead of novels and comics.

Now to talk about caption contests. While writing mangas and comics, the authors want the public opinion on what a particular image describes, which increases their publicity as well as their fan base. What am I talking about? Read till the end to find out.

The New Yorker

Founded by Harold Ross in 1952, The New Yorker started off as a lighthearted magazine series centering around Manhattan. It was so basic and classy that Harold named it “the fifteen-cent comic paper”. With time, this platform grew and is now considered to be the most influential and resourceful magazine throughout the world.

The contents included in the New Yorker magazine include:

  • Politics
  • In-depth reporting
  • Cultural Commentary
  • Fictional stories
  • Poetry
  • Humor

The New Yorker magazine is said to be accurate and true, while the prose is readable and qualitative which attracts readers and gets them addicted to the magazine.

What is a caption contest?

A caption contest or caption competition is an opportunity for writers to test their skills and get competitive with one another. In this competition, an organizer displays an image and requires multiple writers to write a caption that would best describe what is happening in the image or what the image indicates.

Every caption contest has certain rules that are also provided by the contest organizers. These rules as well as images can be found on the official website of the organizers, and some past images with captions can be used as references.

The New Yorker Caption Contest

The New Yorker Caption contest began in 2005 and since then the platform has been uploading images every week, and millions of writers write captions that seem suitable for that image. This contest has produced hundreds of winners.

There is an edge to these contests that there are no restrictions on the times you may enter the contest. Some people have been writing captions ever since the contest started and have won just recently.

When entering the website’s page and before writing a caption, New Yorker displays the following message under the This Week’s Contest section:

Each week, we provide a cartoon in need of a caption. You, the reader, submit your caption below, we choose three finalists, and you vote for your favorite. Finalists for this week’s cartoon, by Sophie Lucido Johnson and Sammi Skolmoski, will appear online on October 10th and in the October 17, 2022, issue of The New Yorker. Anyone age thirteen or older can enter or vote. To read the complete rules, click here.

All you have to do is write a nice caption and wait for the results.

How to win the New Yorker Caption Contest?

Here, the phrase “quantity not quality” comes in handy. The more you write, the more mistakes you realize and the better your caption skills get. Other than writing captions for every week’s image, try using the following traits as well:

  • Novelty
  • Length
  • Punctuation
  • Abstractness and Imaginability
  • Creativity

This of course does not guarantee winning the contest, but your caption will surely stand out from the others if you apply these rules.

According to a marketing and psychology professor at the University of Colorado named McGraw, there might have been patterns that may have revealed the factors present in the shortlisted captions in the New Yorker’s Caption Contest. His words were,

“I have to admit I was worried we wouldn’t find anything,” he said, “The Cartoon Caption Contest seems to be a mystery in some ways. There was this tension between, ‘Will we find something? Or will we just fall flat and have nothing to report?’ I have to say that I didn’t have strong expectations.”

There is no favoritism while selecting the winner of the caption contest. It is all about quality mixed with humor that stays within the boundaries of a global audience. 

Rules of the New Yorker Caption Contest

Following are a few rules for this contest:

  • Each contest begins 7 days prior to the issue date of the cover and ends on the Sunday before the cover date at 11:59 P.M. E.T.
  • To enter the contest online, fill in the required information in the Enter Contest section and write a caption of 250 characters relating to the featured cartoon. To enter through Instagram, comment on the cartoon posted on @newyorkermag under the hashtag #MyNewYorkerCaption. If the hashtag is not used, your submission will not be considered official.
  • For one contest, one entry per person, through email or Instagram is valid.
  • Anyone above the age of 13 can enter, as long as they are not except employees, agents, or a sponsor representative.
  • Entries must be original, not violating another person’s rights.
  • All entries become the property of the sponsors and will not be returned.
  • Three finalists are selected whose captions along with their names, cities, and states are issued and put up for voting. The caption getting the most vote to valid caption wins the contest.

Conclusion

Holding a caption contest may be the best way to determine a caption for a featured cartoon. Because it is publically voted and provided by the public itself, the organizer gains popularity as well as a fan base. Plus, it is fun. What do we have to lose, right?

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