The Associated Press told its employees Tuesday that it's adding to its "Beat of the Week" contest with a category specifically for state-level news. National or international stories usually win "Beat of the Week"; the new category, "Best of the States," is designed to recognize state-level stories that don't necessarily dominate the news. Kristin Gazlay, who oversees state news at the AP, tells employees that the weekly contest will reward "great source development, yes, but also great writing, depth of reporting, capturing the defining picture via stills or video, an illuminating interactive, nabbing competitive user-generated content, effective use of FOIA, innovation." The AP also is adding a monthly contest to recognize staffers who stand out in breaking news situations. Gazlay's full memo:

Dear Colleagues:

I’m writing to announce the establishment of two new contests aimed at honoring the fine work produced in the area of State News.

To recognize the depth and breadth of our state-based journalism -- and its core role with our membership -- we are adding a second category to the Beat of the Week contest called Best of the States.

Unlike Beat of The Week, Best of the States will recognize excellence in all its forms — great source development, yes, but also great writing, depth of reporting, capturing the defining picture via stills or video, an illuminating interactive, nabbing competitive user-generated content, effective use of FOIA, innovation, etc. Play is less important here, though detailing how our coverage of a story dominated a state competitively could make for an entry.

Best of the States will be judged by the BOTW panel, and each winner will receive $300.

The second contest is Breaking News Staffer of the Month. As captured in the title, this is a monthly competition aimed at recognizing a Breaking News Staffer who stands out via a variety of means, such as turning in a commanding performance on a major breaking story, solving a newsroom/report issue, innovation in boosting the volume of or finding new ways to produce NewsNows, excellent news judgment that got a good story on the wire or kept a bad story off, etc.

Each monthly winner will receive $500 and be invited to his/her respective regional desk to spend the day and have dinner with the regional editor and deputy. Each full calendar year, a BNS of the Year will be selected from the 12 monthly winners. That winner will get an additional $500 and also be invited to a larger AP event, such as an AP Board dinner.

Nominations can be made by anyone, and the winners will be selected by a panel made up of regional editors and news editors.

We will name the first Best of the States winner the week of Oct. 17, with entries drawn from the previous seven-day period. You will find the entry form on InsideAP under the Working@AP’s Contests & Awards tab.

The first BNS Staff of the Month will be selected for work in October, with entries due Nov. 1. That entry form will be in the same section of InsideAP.

Looking forward to some healthy competition!

Kristin